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To: Registrar & CEO, and Director of Strategic Priorities, College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and Ministry of Health

Allow Internationally Trained Doctors (IMG) to Serve in BC!

As we are going through challenging times in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe now is the time to put the talented and experienced International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who are currently in Canada to work.

The current bylaw amendments proposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC to create a new "Associate Physician" class is a step in the right direction, and we applaud the college and the Ministry of Health for taking action.

However, we believe more needs to be done to strengthen this amendment to help British Columbians and IMGs during this time and for the future:

1. In qualifications, we believe that postgraduate training should be reduced from 2 years to 1 year.
The two-year requirement disqualifies many, if not most General Practitioners who were only required to do 1 or 1.5-year postgraduate training in their country of training. Furthermore, this reduction is in line with the qualifications required for IMGs in other jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan.

2. Remove the requirement for a ‘detailed written request’ from regional health authorities.
Such bureaucracy puts a significant burden on IMGs and Health Authorities at a time of crisis when their focus and resources have to be directed towards dealing with COVID-19.

3. Expand the category beyond ‘acute care setting’ to include a broader range of clinical settings required in the current battle against COVID-19.

4. Make this a path towards ‘Full Registration’ of IMGs.
This change is crucial not only to incentivize IMGs to apply and make this a practical step in addressing the pandemic, but also to ensure that we have proper human resources to address the waitlists resulted from cancelling all elective operations in the system. It is neither fair nor reasonable to expect IMGs to put themselves in harm's way with no prospect of future employment in our healthcare system.

5. Reduce or waive the $340 registration fee, or postpone it until after the end of the pandemic.
Such a high fee is a financial barrier on IMGs, as they already had trouble with employment due to issues regarding foreign credential recognition. Having a burden for what appears to be a very restricted class is excessive.

6. Facilitate life insurance for IMGs admitted as ‘Associate Physicians’.

Why is this important?

Currently the government is calling for retired physicians and nurses to re-register to deal with COVID-19 pandemic, and their services are so appreciated; however, we are neglecting the fact that we also have a sizeable number of Internationally-trained health professionals who have come to Canada from various avenues, from skilled migrants to refugees, who have the skills to help in this crisis, but currently cannot practice because it is exceedingly difficult to have their credentials recognized.

It makes little sense in this time of crisis that there are members of our community who may need medical assistance at the same time as having members of our communities who could help but are currently not allowed to practice.

It is worth mentioning that one of the main reasons for the occurrence of medical errors is a high workload of physicians. Therefore, recruitment of IMGs can improve the quality of care from different aspects, make medical services accessible to all Canadians, and prevent much harm to IMGs and their families.

The current bylaw amendments proposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (read more here: https://globalnews.ca/news/6774818/bc-associate-physician-foreign-trained-doctors-coronavirus/) is a step in the right direction, and we applaud the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and the Ministry of Health for taking action. However, we believe more needs to be done to strengthen this amendment to help British Columbians, and the IMGs during this time and for the future.

Now is the time to let a group of highly skilled New Canadians be part of the solution to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As Dr John Blatherwick, former Medical Health Officer of Vancouver Coastal Health said: “Now is the time for us to consider foreign-trained graduates that we have in our community. We have an army of physicians, who can help bravely… This is a good time to sit down and say, Okay! We haven’t tackled this problem. We wasted all those people’s talents, and now we could use them.”

British Columbia, Canada

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Updates

2022-12-21 17:36:49 -0500

Thanks to our great supporters, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) recently approved two of our requests (items 1 and 3) by creating a pathway for internationally trained physicians (ITPs) with a minimum of one year training as a general practitioner to apply for associate physician positions in community primary care in BC. Here is more information about this class of registration: https://www.cpsbc.ca/files/pdf/2022-11-07-Bylaw-Amendments-Section-2-XX.pdf

On a relevant note, the BC government has recently announced plans to increase the seats of the Practice Ready Assessment – British Columbia (PRA-BC) program to allow more ITPs to practice as physicians in BC. However, this can only be effective if the requirements for the BC-PRA are amended. We would appreciate it if you could support our new petition in this regard at the link below to stop the departure of ITPs from BC to provinces with less restrictive PRA requirements. https://www.change.org/inclusiveprabc

2020-04-14 12:50:39 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2020-04-06 08:37:40 -0400

500 signatures reached

2020-04-04 23:51:33 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-04-04 22:23:01 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-04-04 21:53:56 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-04-04 21:14:27 -0400

10 signatures reached