Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre proposed Sunday a national testing standard to license doctors and nurses trained abroad or in different provinces to aid Canada’s health-care staffing shortages.
Poilievre called the test a “blue seal” during a press conference in Ottawa Sunday, comparing it to the “red seal” standard test already in place for trades.
“(The test) will speed up the licensing of our medical doctors and nurses,” he said. “If you’re a doctor, you shouldn’t be riding a taxi.”
Although health care is within the provinces’ jurisdiction, Poilievre said the federal government would need to show leadership and bring the provinces together to approve the proposed test. The test would be voluntary but the feds could provide an “incentive.” He didn’t specify what that incentive would be.
Poilievre said the current setup that prevents some health-care professionals from working in Canada if trained abroad is due to bureaucracy and “government gatekeepers.”
He said that there are approximately 19,000 Canadian doctors and 34,000 Canadian nurses who can’t work in hospitals in the country because they were trained abroad.
According to Poilievre, doctors and nurses could get a yes or no after taking the proposed standardized test after 60 days.
Canada’s health care across provinces has faced a crisis for months due to staffing shortages that have caused long wait times and some triaging.