Last Updated on September 1, 2010 by Steven Meurrens

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released Operational Bulletin 230, which notifies officers of the decision to waive the requirement for a Labour Market Opinion for foreign medical residents and medical research fellows completing their training or research in Canada. The decision is effective September 1, 2010.

Generally, a positive or neutral Labour Market Opinion is required before a temporary foreign worker can begin working in Canada. The test is whether or not the hiring of a foreign worker would have a positive or neutral effect on Canada’s labour market. These can be somewhat burdensome to employers.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which provides the Labour Market Opinion to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has informed CIC that foreign medical residents and medical research fellows will always be issued a positive Labour Market Opinion.

Medical residents are holders of a medical degree equivalent to that of a Canadian Medical Doctorate who are coming to Canada to complete a residency at a Canadian hospital or in a clinical setting as part of their medical training. The positions have a duration of approximately 2-7 years. Positions occupied by these foreign nationals have been created by Canadian medical faculties with financial support from the country sponsoring the training of the foreign resident. HRSDC has determined that foreign medical residents and fellows do not take away from employment or training opportunities from Canadians as these positions are specifically created for and funded entirely by foreign governments.

Foreign medical fellows are holders of a medical degree equivalent to that of a Canadian Medical Doctorate (MD), and recognized medical specialists who have completed residency training and accept to continue specializing in a highly specific field of study to advance clinical or medical research. They typically work from 1-2 years in a hospital. HRSDC has determined that these workers support medical faculties with advanced clinical and research training due to ongoing shortages of Canadians interested in occupying such clinical or research positions. As well, they pass on skills to workers.

This Operational Bulletin coincides with an announcement that the Canadian government will be funding a project that will make the process of obtaining a medical license faster for internationally trained physicians.  The Medical Council of Canada will receive over $2.8-million in Foreign Credential Recognition Program funding for its project entitled National Registration Process for Internationally Educated Physicians.

According to Jason Kenney:

Canadians with loved ones who are sick or injured want foreign-trained medical doctors in the emergency room or the doctor’s office doing what they do best. This investment is part of the federal government’s overall action plan to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that licensing bodies put in place better programs to recognize foreign credentials.

The announcement is the latest in a series of funding announcements regarding foreign credentials.

Clearly a good day for foreign medical students and practitioners looking to practice their skills in Canada, and for Canadians concerned about medical practitioner shortages in Canada.