Mayor Patrick Brown called on Health Minister Christine Elliot to help alleviate Ontario’s burdened healthcare system by tapping into the skills of foreign trained medical professionals who are not currently practicing.
In a media conference today, the Mayor followed up on an effort initiated by City Councillor Williams to engage with the province’s untapped healthcare professionals who have been unable to practice in Ontario. Two foreign trained doctors with Canadian equivalent credentials were on hand to explain that they are eager to help on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. A third doctor was unable to attend as he was working at his day job at a Brampton packaging plant.
The Mayor said that “we are so grateful for the work that the physicians and nurses are doing throughout Peel Region, but there is a huge weight on them.” He added that “right now in Canada per 1000 people, Canada has 2.7 practicing physicians, if you look at Norway they have 4.8 and Germany 4.1 and so we are already understaffed.”
The Mayor also mentioned that Ontario currently has 14,000 foreign educated doctors and that New York and New Jersey have already allowed their foreign trained doctors to help on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
In mid-March, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) expedited short-term supervised licences to practice medicine in Ontario to any International medical graduates who passed their exams to practice in Canada or graduated from school in the past two years. These short-term licenses called Supervised Short Duration Certificates are to help fight COVID-19.
The licence allows foreign-trained physicians and domestic medical school graduates to practice under supervision at hospitals as long as they can find a hospital and supervising physician to take them on and a physician that can supervisor.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the province has created an online tool to help match skilled front line workers with employers. The Health Workforce Matching Portal enables health care providers to join the province’s response to COVID-19. Those providers include retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students, and volunteers with health care experience. The portal will match the availability and skill sets of front line health care workers to the employers in need of assistance to perform a variety of public health functions, such as case and contact management.
“Our health care heroes on the front lines of this battle are doing extraordinary work, but they need reinforcements to step up and lend a hand to help defeat this virus,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Whether you’re retired or in training, we can’t afford to have people with professional health care skills who want to help sitting on the sidelines during this crisis. This is a call to action and I encourage every available person with health care experience to get involved.”
Employers and interested health care professionals can visit the portal and create a profile.
“Since the beginning of this outbreak, we have heard from thousands of volunteers who want to help in any way they can,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are very grateful for those stepping up during these unprecedented times. That’s why we are using everything possible to support these front line healthcare workers as they fight the spread of this virus.”