Why is it that 2 million Quebecers lack access to a family doctor when there are hundreds of qualified foreign trained doctors in Quebec who are unable to practice? The Quebec Human Rights Commission just completed a three-year investigation of this apparent mismatch and recently made its findings known.
According to the report, the culprits for this sad state of affairs are the four professional faculties of medicine, which are responsible for handing out residency positions… the final step in becoming licensed to practice. They have systematically refused to allocate vacant residency positions to foreign-trained doctors even after these doctors had passed an equivalency exam given by the Quebec College of Physicians. In 2007, the year the Commission examined, every single graduate from Quebec’s medical schools was offered a residency. However, only one third of foreign-trained certified doctors were accepted. This means 85 residency positions went vacant while 174 foreign-trained Quebec-certified doctors were left to wonder why they had bothered to immigrate.
The Commission found that prejudice and subjectivity played a part in the decision of the medical faculties and has ordered the Quebec Health Department to ensure that medical faculties fill residency positions with foreign-trained doctors, whose qualifications have been approved by the Quebec College of Physicians.
For the good of all Quebecers, it’s about time.