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Ontario aims at attracting healthcare workers from across Canada

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government is looking to increase the province's complement of healthcare workers through legislation, to be introduced next month.

At a press conference on Thursday, January 19th, Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced their government will introduce legislation in February which "will allow Canadian healthcare workers [who] are already registered or licensed in another Canadian jurisdiction to practice in Ontario immediately, without having to first register with one of Ontario's health regulatory colleges."

Currently, to practice in Ontario, a healthcare worker would have to first register with one of the active health regulatory colleges in the province.

An Ontario government press release added, the legislation will also allow "healthcare 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 judgement to do so."

"To nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers across Canada: if you've been thinking of making Ontario your new home, now's the time to make that happen," Premier Ford stated at the press conference.

The Premier was asked, at the press conference, if these legislative changes will also be met with funding to incentivize the attraction of healthcare workers to the province.

"Not right now. We still want to make sure we fund the nurses and pay for their tuition, if they work in a rural area. [I'd] love to do that with [Doctors] too. But I also want to take a look at the foreign students, who are coming here to study at medical schools and taking spots from our young people here, [who] are going to the Caribbean or over to Ireland to get their medical degree. I have no problem with students coming here and studying and becoming a doctor, as long as they stay here. I don't want them taking a spot from a young Ontario student, learning here, being subsidized to a certain degree, and then flying back to their country," Premier Ford responded.

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