Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Doctors And Paralegals

Ontario is set to change laws regarding the medical and paralegal positions, and I support both those changes.

In the first instance, in an attempt to make it easier for 'foreign' doctors to practice in Canada, Ontario is allowing 'foreign' doctors to apply for residency or on-the-job training spots previously reserved for Canadian graduates.

Note my quotes around the word 'foreign' in the paragraph above. The Star's article [link] has the words foreign. A deeper reading would tell you these are immigrants to Canada, who are not foreign but our own - only they have been trained abroad. They have been allowed to immigrate to Canada because they were doctors - educated and will presumably not be a drain on our welfare. They why do we not allow them to practice? Is it not better for us to have doctors practicing medicine (particularly when there is a shortage in rural areas) rather than drive taxis or deliver pizzas? If we bring them here and then forbid them from working, we are lying when we bring them here.

Why should Canadian educated medical grads object? They have no valid reason to do so. The first round of applications is still reserved for them. No, they object because in my opinion doctors here are an elite bunch and they want to keep it that way.

The next group is paralegals. Across Canada, paralegals provide a variety of services for a fraction of the price lawyers charge, but they do it with no training standards, no regulations and no professional body to license or discipline them. Again, Ontario is set to pass Bill 14 that would regulate paralegals for the first time in Canada [Star link].

According to the article, most paralegals are not opposed to the idea of regulation. However, some think the bill is flawed. I just hope they are not given the power to regulate themselves. That will just make them exactly like the doctors. I want the government to regulate all these professions - doctors, lawyers, paralegals. Then the government can impose penalties, sets of standards and permit others to join the profession if they are capable.

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3 comments:

Adam said...

What is your opinion on the ethics of Canada poaching doctors from poor countries. Are we not a wealthy nation? Why can't we train our own doctors?

There are a number of problems with opening the doors to foreign doctors, mainly in monitoring them after they have arrived. In foreign trained doctors we are unsure of the education that they received because we didn't provide it. There need to be safeguards to ensure that the public is not put at risk. All medical educations are not created equal!

mezba said...

Hi Adam

I look at them as two separate issues. I think first, if we are bringing doctors here, they should be

i) verified at the country they applied for immigration in. For examplem if I apply to be a doctor from Bulgaria (exampel), the Canadian embassy IN BULGARIA should evaluate my education according to Canadian standards, and give me the points for being a doctor ONLY if I match the requirements. If it means I have to sit for an exam, and pay additional fees to cover costs, thats OK. Biometric information and other secure documents should be given so when I land in Canada, I am who I am.

2) As for training enough doctors here, thats up to provinces and colleges to allocate money and spaces for that based on needs.

Anonymous said...

"What is your opinion on the ethics of Canada poaching doctors from poor countries. Are we not a wealthy nation? Why can't we train our own doctors?"

Wll, they could go back to their country of origin with a different background and skills. They'll be able to network more with western health faculties (being in the system and all) that would inevitably aid in refurbishing the health faculities in their countries. This is indeed of a great value.

Whether or not they choose to take this to their countries' advantages, that's a whole other ball game.

"For examplem if I apply to be a doctor from Bulgaria (exampel), the Canadian embassy IN BULGARIA should evaluate my education according to Canadian standards, and give me the points for being a doctor ONLY if I match the requirements."

Canadian standards, eh? What would that entail? I do remember being told that foreign doctors secifically need to sit for three exams. The first two are the same as the Canadian grads, while the third is specifically for foreign grads. You would only write this once you pass the first two. I was also told that the third test was the one that usually disqualified an individual because apparently, that's the hardest. Obviously, you can tell that there's already an underlying stratification in the Canadian health care system.