The Manitoba government has introduced legislative amendments that would help professionals trained abroad find work by speeding up the process to recognize foreign credentials and ensuring a fair assessment of their qualifications, training, and skills as they enter Manitoba’s workforce, Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.
“Our goal is to remove barriers so qualified, internationally educated applicants can practice their profession in Manitoba sooner and are treated fairly when they apply for a license to practice,” said Eichler. “Many newcomers to Manitoba are highly educated and possess in-demand skills and experience, and we want to help them keep their skills up to date so they can rejoin their professions more quickly after arriving in Manitoba and help grow our economy.”
The Fair Registration Practices in the Regulated Professions Act passed in 2009 to help ensure regulated professions establish application and registration processes for internationally educated individuals that are transparent, objective, impartial, and fair. Some of the 30 self-regulated professions in Manitoba include the colleges of Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Physicians and Surgeons, the Manitoba Dental Association, Chartered Professional Accountants Manitoba, Manitoba College of Social Workers and Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association.
The proposed amendments are intended to reduce barriers to the successful and timely registration of internationally trained applicants to regulated professions noted Eichler, and would fulfill a 2019 election commitment to require regulated professions to have registration practices consistent with domestic trade agreements.
The proposed amendments would:
• provide authority to make regulations to set timeliness standards for regulated professions that would shorten registration processes;
• create a duty for regulators to ensure registration requirements and assessments are necessary to practice the profession;
• require professions to take reasonable measures to work with post-secondary institutions and employers to ensure that internationally educated applicants have ways to address gaps and meet registration requirements;
• give authority to the minister to issue compliance orders for serious issues of non-compliance and contravention of the fairness legislation, which would align Manitoba with similar fairness legislation in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec;
• address a lack of compliance with domestic trade agreements by adding a requirement for regulated professions to comply with agreements such as the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and New West Partnership;
• simplify the administration of the act and clarify the reporting structure by appointing a director responsible for the act, while providing additional support to staff responsible for administering the act; and
• obligate regulatory bodies to notify the director of fair registration practices of changes to their assessment and registration practices prior to implementation so they can provide feedback on changes that might detrimentally affect applicants.
“Regulated professions are responsible for protecting the public interest by ensuring a high standard of professional practice, and our government is working with Manitoba’s 30 regulated professions as the updated act would require them to take steps to improve their assessment and registration process” said Eichler.
He noted data from 2015-17 indicates only 16 percent of internationally educated applicants in Manitoba were registered, even though they represented 41 percent of all applicants during that period.
Eichler noted the act aims to improve pathways for newcomers trying to establish their careers in Manitoba and help skilled workers coming through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program find jobs in their profession so they can help fill labour market gaps.