Ontario will begin recognizing the health-care credentials of professionals from other Canadian jurisdictions and eliminate the need for recertification before they can begin working in the province, Premier Doug Ford announced in Windsor Thursday.
Legislation to make the certification changes will be introduced in February.
“As we connect people to more convenient care, we need to be bold, innovative and creative,” said Ford.
“With our new as-of-right rules, Ontario is the first province in Canada to allow health-care workers from across the country to immediately start providing care.
“That’s the kind of innovative solutions that will cut down unnecessary bureaucratic delays and help bring reinforcements to the front lines of our health-care system.”
The current process of provincial certification can take months. Jones said the program could be expanded in the future.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said the current system discourages health-care professionals looking to make career changes from doing so. He said they’re more likely to choose to go to the U.S. than another province.
“This will have a massive impact for both nurses and physicians,” Musyj said.
“This is exactly what we’ve been looking for. The ability to automatically recognize someone else’s licence from another province is going to make recruitment that much easier.”
Musyj added the hospital will expand its program of offering $25,000 signing bonuses to Canadian nurses working in the U.S. to include health-care workers moving within the country.
“What this says is Ontario health care is open for business,” Musyj said.
Ford also announced the government plans to make it easier for health organizations to respond to surges and high-volume situations by giving them more flexibility to increase staff temporarily.
Legislation will be introduced next month to create the ability to increase short-term staffing when needed and to allow health-care workers, such as paramedics, nurses, respiratory therapists and others, to work outside of their regular responsibilities and settings if they possess the necessary skills.
The latest announcements are part of a week of changes the government has unveiled for Ontario’s health-care system. Earlier this week, the government announced it will allow more surgeries and treatments to be done in private and non-profit clinics.
The expansion of use of private clinics has drawn much outside criticism.
“Ontarians can clearly see that the Ford government has created a crisis to pursue their agenda of privatization,” said Ontario Federation of Labour president Patty Coates in a statement.
“Diverting funds from our public health-care system to private, for-profit surgical clinics will not solve the staffing crisis and years of underfunding that have fuelled the current crisis.
“Ontarians understand that the priorities of for-profit providers are simply not the same as publicly delivered health care.”
Ford slapped down the criticism of the changes, particularly around private clinics, noting cataract surgeries in Windsor have been done in private-clinic settings for the past three years under an agreement Windsor Regional Hospital has with local physicians.
The government also confirmed Friday it would continue to use the payment formula for private clinics it currently has for such procedures being performed.
“We’ll never replace your OHIP card with a credit card for payment,” Ford said.
“The detractors, for the most part, are the same people who created hallway health care in the first place.”
For Windsor area residents, the addition of a second table in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the Ouellette campus and a fourth radiation bunker in the WRH Cancer Centre will lessen the need to seek treatment outside the city.
“This means patients in the area will no longer have to travel far distances to receive treatment, leading to faster care and improved quality of life,” Jones said.
The equipment required for the expansion of services will be transferred to the new hospital when it opens in 2030.
Source : O Canada