|Posted by imdontario on August 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM|
Prospects not entirely rosy for foreign-trained MDs, says fairness commissioner
Ontario Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine says things are anything but rosy for foreign-trained doctors trying to break into Ontario.
By: Richard J. Brennan Provincial Politics, Published on Wed Aug 27 2014
Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine says things are anything but rosy for foreign-trained doctors trying to break into Ontario.
Augustine on Wednesday took particular exceptions to an overly “rosy and glowing portrait” in a report earlier this week by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario bragging that a record number of international medical graduates (IMG) were either being accepted into residency programs or being certified to open up their own practices.
Augustine said a further look at the numbers show that a small percentage of foreign-trained doctors are being accepted into 200 government-funded IMG residency positions. Instead, many are being given to Canadians who have trained offshore and want to return to Ontario, which, she says, belies the original intent of the program.
According to 2011 StatsCan figures, she said there are 6,540 IMGs living in Ontario, many of whom are left without a hope of ever practicing medicine in the province.
“I would make the argument that many of them would like to have continued to work as doctors,” she told the Star, adding that she will be taking up her concerns with the health ministry about access to residency programs.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in its 2013 report stated that more foreign-trained doctors than ever before were certified to practice medicine in the province, eclipsing the Ontario graduates for the 10th year running.
Augustine said the issue now is how the province can make it possible for “qualified applicants” to make their way into the medical system.”
One of those is 45-year-old Syed Jaffery, who trained in India and the United Kingdom and practiced medicine in the Middle East.
Jaffery said, at his age, writing all kinds of exams and four years of residency for family medicine with no guarantee at the end of it is not worth it.
“For me there is a brick wall . . . because they don’t need specialists here,” said Jaffery, who is trained in general surgery.
“They said that homegrown surgeons are waiting to get in and that the infrastructure does not support foreign-trained surgeons to get into the system. And that they won’t be needing my services here,” said Jaffery, who has lived in Canada for more than two years.
A Fairness Commission report from 2013 reported that in recent years a disproportionate number of the residency positions designated for IMGs were granted to Canadians who study medicine abroad (CSAs).
The report stated that in 2012, 59 per cent of all residency positions matched to international medical graduates went to CSAs, and only 34 per cent went to immigrant physicians from countries other than the United States. Of the 1,265 immigrant physicians applying for residency, only 83 were successful.
The CSAs, the report stated, have natural advantages because of language and familiarity with the Canadian health-care system, and noted that “the imbalance between applications and number of positions available results in high exclusion rates.”