Manitoba improving credential recognition for internationally-trained applicants

Shelby Thevenot
Published: November 10, 2020

New proposed legislative amendments are a part of the Manitoba government's effort to speed up the foreign credential recognition process.

Manitoba's minister of economic development and training, Ralph Eichler, announced the new process on November 2.

“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 in a media release. “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 changes pertain to the Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Act, which was passed in 2009. It was created to help ensure regulated professions had application and registration processes for people who were educated abroad, and entering the Manitoba labour force. This act was meant to ensure the application and registration processes were 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. They would also fulfil a 2019 election commitment to require regulated professions to have registration practices consistent with domestic trade agreements.

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The proposed amendments would set timeline standards for regulated professions that would shorten registration processes. They would also create a duty for regulators to ensure registration requirements and assessments are necessary to practice the profession.

In addition, professions would have to take reasonable measures to work with post-secondary institutions and employers to ensure internationally-educated applicants have ways to address gaps and meet registration requirements.

The minister would also have the authority to enforce compliance, which would align Manitoba with similar fairness legislation in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.

They would address non-compliance within domestic trade agreements by requiring regulated professions to comply with the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and New West Partnership.

Changes would also simplify the administration of the act. Manitoba would appoint a director responsible for the act to clarify the reporting structure. There would also be additional support staff who would be responsible for administering the act.

Finally, the new amendments would force regulatory bodies to notify the director of fair registration practices of changes to their assessment and registration practices, before they implementation so they can provide feedback on changes that might negatively 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,” Eichler said in the release.

He noted that only 16 per cent of internationally educated applicants in Manitoba were registered between 2015 and 2017, even though they represented 41 per cent of all applicants during that period.

Eichler also said the act aims to improve pathways for newcomers trying to establish their careers in Manitoba. It is intended to help skilled workers coming through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program find jobs in their profession so they can help fill labour market gaps.

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