Ontario looking to poach health-care workers from other provinces to fill shortages
Premier Doug Ford is set to introduce changes that would let Canadian health-care workers registered or licensed in other provinces start immediately practicing in Ontario.
Currently, health-care professionals must be registered with one of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges before working in the province. However, in an effort to “overcome bureaucratic delays,” Ontario is prepared to loosen those rules.
The Ford government said it will introduce these legislative changes in February.
"To nurses, doctors, and health-care workers across Canada: if you've been thinking of making Ontario your new home, now's the time to make that happen," Ford said at an announcement in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday.
This announcement comes just days after Ford announced the province’s plan to invest in private clinics to perform more procedures. Critics have raised concerns about how health-care staff could be inclined to leave the public sector for better pay and hours, resulting in more severe staffing shortages.
“With our new “As of Right” rules, Ontario is the first province in Canada to allow health-care workers from across the country to immediately start providing care,” Ford said.
The premier said the province is not offering financial incentives for health-care staff considering coming to Ontario.
Building on their effort to increase staffing levels, the government said it is also prepared to allow health-care professionals, including nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and others, to work outside of their regular responsibilities or settings. “As long as they have the knowledge skill, and judgment to do so,” the release reads.
There were no details provided on how health-care workers’ “judgment” and “knowledge” would be evaluated.
“This will provide hospitals and other settings with more flexibility to ensure health-care professionals are filling the most in-demand roles at the right time.”
In a news release issued Thursday evening, the Canadian Medical Association welcomed Ford’s approach and called it a “promising step to improve access to care.”
“We urge other provincial and territorial governments to adopt similar strategies, supported by the federal government, recognizing that mobility of the health workforce amongst all provinces/territories is key to addressing the contemporary health care needs of Canadians,” the group said in a statement.