2.12.12 - “We […] will hire more doctors”
Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care was released in February 2023, with a key pillar being the hiring of more healthcare workers. The Ford government points to the steps already taken, such as expediting the registration of international nurses, and doctors from other provinces and territories, and is creating more student spots at medical schools. The “As of Right” rule came into effect in July 2023, meaning that physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals licensed in other Canadian provinces can start work immediately. These are steps forward; however the government has been criticized for failing to remove Bill 124, which limits pay increases for public sector workers. This promise is in progress as it is contingent on the number of doctors at the end of the government’s second term being net positive compared to the start of the term.
“Starting today, new “As of Right” rules come into effect, making Ontario the first province to allow highly-trained physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and medical laboratory technologists already registered or licensed in another Canadian jurisdiction to start work immediately when they arrive without having to first register with one of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges. These changes will help health care workers overcome bureaucratic delays that have made it difficult to practice in Ontario.”
“[…] “Hiring More Health Care Workers,” will work to expand the province’s workforce through hiring, training and education initiatives. Over the next five years, the province said it will expand its education program by adding 10 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions at medical schools. At the moment, nearly 1.8 million Ontarians don’t have a regular family physician, according to a recent research study. In just the first six months of the pandemic, more than 170,000 patients in Ontario lost their family doctors. […] The government reiterated their new “As of Right” rules, which eliminated the registration requirement for out-of-province health-care workers in an effort to lower the barrier of entry for practicing in Ontario.”
“[C]hanges proposed by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the College of Nurses of Ontario and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, will support recruitment efforts and make it faster and easier for health care professionals trained in Ontario, other provinces and internationally to register and practice in Ontario. Changes that will come into effect immediately, include: Allowing internationally educated nurses to register in a temporary class and begin working sooner while they work towards full registration; Making it easier for non-practicing or retired nurses to return to the field by introducing flexibility to the requirement that they need to have practiced nursing within a certain period of time before applying for reinstatement; and Creating a new temporary independent practice registration class for physicians from other provinces and territories, making it easier for them to work for up to 90 days in Ontario.”
[Ed. Note: See total number of doctors registered in Ontario. As of January 2019, there were 30,492 doctors registered in Ontario.]