Ontario Doing Even More to Grow its Health Care Workforce
Province breaking down barriers to hire more doctors and nurses to connect people to care close to home
July 24, 2023
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KITCHENER — The Ontario government is continuing to create new pathways to connect more people to care across the province, both for now and for future generations. As part of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government is launching three new programs that will break down barriers for internationally educated physicians to work in Ontario, retain more health care workers with mentorship opportunities and explore innovative ways that health care workers can deliver convenient care to people in their own communities.
“Our government is growing our health care workforce to make it easier for people to connect to the care they need for years to come,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These new initiatives will allow international physicians to work sooner, support experienced nurses to share their skills and knowledge, and explore innovative ways to grow our workforce for future generations.”
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.
The Ontario government is also launching:
- The Practice Ready Ontario program for doctors that will break down barriers for internationally educated physicians by removing the requirement to complete lengthy re-education programs allowing them to practice in Ontario immediately. This program will add more than 50 new physicians to the province’s workforce by 2024.
- The Clinical Scholar Program which pairs an experienced front line nurse as a dedicated mentor with newly graduated nurses, internationally educated nurses and nurses wanting to upskill to ensure they have the support they need to confidently transition into the nursing profession.
- The Models of Care Innovation Fund, a new $40 million fund to encourage health care partners to bring forward innovative ideas to connect Ontarians to better services and care. Applications from eligible organizations – including hospitals, health care facilities, long-term care homes, home care providers, family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics and Ontario Health Teams and others, including mental health service providers – can be submitted via Ontario Health starting July 24.
These new, innovative initiatives join a number of existing successful programs the government has introduced to grow Ontario’s health care workforce, including:
Since 2018, 63,000 new nurses and nearly 8,000 new doctors have registered to work in Ontario. Last year, over 15,000 new nurses registered to work and care for people in Ontario – a new record in the province – and another 27,000 nurses are studying at a college or university, ensuring there is a pipeline of talent for the future.
- The Supervised Practice Experience Partnership provides internationally educated nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their current nursing knowledge, skill and language proficiency while working to meet the requirements to enter practice as a nurse. This program has funded more than 2,800 internationally educated nurses since it launched in January 2022.
- The Enhanced Extern Program offers employment opportunities for clinical learners like nursing and medical students to work as Externs in hospitals. This program has funded over 6,800 externs since the government launched this program province wide launched in January 2021.
- The Nursing Graduate Guarantee provides new graduate nurses in Ontario, including those who studied out-of-province and abroad, with temporary full-time employment to support their successful transition into full-time employment. This program has hired more than 3,300 nurses since 2020.
- The Community Commitment Program for Nurses offers a $25,000 incentive for nurses who commit to work in an underserviced area for two years. This program has hired more than 2,600 nurses since 2020.
“The Ontario Medical Association welcomes this program, which will give thousands of patients access to much needed doctors and timely health care by next year. We look forward to working with and supporting these new colleagues.”
– Dr. Andrew Park
“We are pleased to see the launch of the Practice Ready Ontario program, which will contribute to credentialing more family physicians in our province. This initiative will expedite the integration of internationally trained physicians into Ontario’s health care system, allowing them to provide much-needed care to Ontarians faster. This is one of several important steps included in our Plan of Action to ensure that every Ontarian has access to a family physician.”
– Kimberly Moran
CEO, Ontario College of Family Physicians
“Home Care Ontario applauds the government for continuing to invest in strengthening home care’s workforce. This new innovation fund is another important step in that direction, and will allow home care providers to bring forward new ways of delivering care that will both bolster our front-line home care workforce and provide more care when and where people want it – in their own home.”
– Sue VanderBent
CEO, Home Care Ontario
“Ontario’s hospitals appreciate the programs introduced today to reduce barriers for internationally educated physicians, provide additional support to new, early career and internationally trained nurses, and allow hospitals and other system providers to develop innovative models of care to maximize capacity and strengthen access to care. Ontario’s hospitals are grateful for the ongoing investments made by the Government of Ontario that have had a meaningful impact on strengthening the province’s health care workforce. Hospitals will continue to work with the Ministry of Health, Ontario Health, and other partners to identify and implement new ideas and solutions in the time ahead.”
– Anthony Dale
President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
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