It will soon be easier than ever for Ontarians to find a doctor with a charming accent.
What happened: The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is letting US-trained doctors skip exams and get right to work, and it’s dropping supervision and assessment requirements for family doctors from the US, the UK, Ireland, and Australia.
- The CPSO says training in these countries is similar to Canada’s, making them well-suited for Canada’s clinics.
- Alberta made a similar move earlier this year, and last month Nova Scotia dropped the exam requirement for US-trained doctors.
Why it matters: There’s a shortage of doctors. Nationwide, 6.5 million Canadians don’t have access to a family physician—including about 2.2 million Ontarians. And meanwhile, 13,000 foreign-trained physicians in the province can’t practice because of licensing requirements.
- The Ontario government has also promised legislation to let doctors from other provinces get to work as soon as they arrive (which they currently can’t).
Yes, but: Many doctors come from Saudi Arabia, India, and Egypt, and other countries. Advocacy groups question why the CPSO won’t make it easier for them to start practicing.
- Different pay structures might help, too: BC, which has the lowest number of family doctor vacancies, compensates doctors for spending extra time on some patients.
Zoom out: The doctor shortage is a global issue, with Canada competing against countries offering smoother paths to practice, signing bonuses, and housing benefits. Even cruise lines are showing up to global recruitment fares to reel aboard some medical expertise.