On January 19, 2023, Premier Doug Ford announced that the government will introduce legislative changes that, if passed, will permit health care professionals already registered in another Canadian province or territory to begin practicing in Ontario immediately.
Premier Ford stated that these legislative changes will “cut down unnecessary bureaucratic delays and help bring reinforcements to the frontlines of our health care system.”
While it varies by profession, the current process requires healthcare professionals already registered in another Canadian jurisdiction to be registered with the applicable Ontario College (e.g., CNO, CPSO, RCDSO) before practicing in Ontario. For health care professionals registered and in good standing with a regulatory body in another Canadian jurisdiction, the registration process in Ontario will typically consist of payment of a registration fee, and submission of various supporting documentation.
Chapter 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (“CFTA”) provides labour mobility rights for certified workers. Article 705 states that any worker certified for an occupation by a regulatory authority in a Canadian jurisdiction “shall, upon application, be certified for that occupation by each other [Canadian jurisdiction] that regulates that occupation without any requirement for any material additional training, experience, examinations, or assessments as part of that certification procedure.” This means that while there may be a jurisprudence course/test, required readings or online modules, formost health care professionals there is no requirement to complete significant additional training, work experience, examination or assessment.
Emphasis is placed on “most” health care providers, as there are approved exceptions to the labour mobility under the CFTA. Exceptions are by both profession and occupation, and an explanation is provided supporting the exception of a profession by a province. In most cases, the exception is based on differing scope of practice between jurisdictions. For example, Ontario has an exception for LPNs/RPNs previously registered in Quebec. Therationale for the exception is a difference in education and training, specifically with respect to pediatrics and obstetrics.
Other examples of approved exceptions in Ontario include dental hygienists previously registered in the Yukon and Nunavut, and Social Workers previously registered in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
However, it is important to note that while it may sound like a relatively quick and easy process for professionals registered in another Canadian jurisdiction to obtain registration in Ontario, the process can take several weeks, if not longer, due to administrative processes and delays. The result is that healthcare professionals who move or accept a new job in Ontario on short notice, may not be able to commence working immediately.
The proposed legislative changes are expected to be introduced in February 2023. Therefore, it is not known at this time how the legislative changes will address (and dispense with) the requirement for health care professionals to be registered with the applicable College before they begin practicing in Ontario. Similarly, it is unclear whether the proposed changes will apply to professions with an approved exception to labour mobility under the CFTA such as RPNs, dental hygienists, and social workers from the above noted jurisdictions.
Removing the delay and guaranteeing health care professionals the ability to begin practicing in Ontario immediately upon arrival will likely be a welcomed change for healthcare professionals registered in other provinces seeking to move to Ontario, as well as employers in the health care system.Note: Our blog posts are not a substitute for legal advice. The Team at Wise Health Law has extensive experience assisting health professionals, including with matters relating to Registration. Please contact us if you have questions specific to your situation, as we may be able to assist.
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