HealthcarePapers 10(2) May 2010 : 41-45.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2010.21799

Internationally Educated Healthcare Workers: Focus on Physicians in Ontario

Jill Hefley, Jack Mandel and Rocco Gerace


The issue of access to licensure for internationally educated health professionals is a critical one, and the impact of inadequate healthcare resources has a profound impact on patients. As the body that licenses doctors in Ontario, issues related to the provincial doctor shortage and problems with access to licensure for international medical graduates (IMGs) have been significant areas of focus for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). In February 2002, the CPSO Council approved the establishment of the first Physician Resources Task Force. Its mandate was to "find creative ways to meet physician resource needs without compromising registration standards." For the first time, the key stakeholders – regulators, government and educators – were all at the table to try to address the complex issues and processes involved in licensing physicians.

The first task force generated a number of recommendations, and, with the support of the participants, many of the initiatives that are now well established got their start here. Today it would be hard to imagine only 24 training positions for IMGs, few if any assessment opportunities and no agencies to help IMGs navigate the process and succeed at obtaining a medical licence in Ontario. But that was the landscape before the formation of the first task force. Many changes have been made and, even more importantly, record-breaking numbers of IMGs have gained access to licensure in Ontario.



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