Internationally educated health care professionals (IEHPs) are immigrants who have received their health care education outside of Canada. They play a vital role in the Canadian healthcare system, helping to fill gaps in the workforce and provide high-quality care to patients.
This article provides an overview of the characteristics and labour market outcomes of IEHPs in Canada. It is based on the findings of a recent study by Statistics Canada, which used data from the 2021 Census of Population.
Characteristics of IEHPs
IEHPs are a diverse group of individuals, representing a wide range of countries of origin, educational qualifications, and professional experience.
The majority of IEHPs in Canada are women (69%) and are under the age of 50 (72%). Nearly one-third of IEHPs (31%) had recently arrived in Canada (between 2016 and 2021).
The most common fields of study among IEHPs are nursing (40%), medicine (17%), pharmacy (10%), and dentistry (8%).
Over half of IEHPs (53%) had at least 10 years of work experience in their field before arriving in Canada.
Labour market outcomes of IEHPs
The overall employment rate of IEHPs in Canada in 2021 was 76%, compared to 80% for Canadian-educated health care professionals.
About 58% of employed IEHPs worked in health occupations in 2021. The proportion of IEHPs working in health occupations varied by field of study, with the highest proportion among nurses (69%) and the lowest proportion among dentists (60%).
The median earnings of employed IEHPs in 2021 were $56,500, compared to $61,500 for Canadian-educated health care professionals.
Challenges faced by IEHPs
IEHPs often face a number of challenges in finding and maintaining employment in their field in Canada. These challenges include:
- Credential recognition: IEHPs may need to have their foreign credentials assessed or recognized before they can work in their profession in Canada.
- Language proficiency: IEHPs need to have a strong command of English or French in order to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.
- Cultural differences: IEHPs may need to adjust to different cultural norms and practices in the Canadian healthcare system.
IEHPs play a vital role in the Canadian healthcare system. They are a diverse and experienced group of professionals who make significant contributions to patient care. However, IEHPs also face a number of challenges in finding and maintaining employment in their field in Canada.
Governments and other stakeholders can play a role in supporting IEHPs by:
- Streamlining the credential recognition process
- Providing language training and other support services to IEHPs
- Promoting cultural awareness and understanding in the Canadian healthcare system
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