Medical laboratory Technologists are one of 12 professions covered by this government program
Foreign medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory scientists (MTs) who are new emigrants to British Columbia and other Canadian provinces will be one of a select group of professions to have their credentials recognized within one year under a new “fast-track” arrangement developed by the Canadian and provincial governments.
By recognizing the need to fast track medical laboratory scientists, Canada is acknowledging that pathology laboratories and clinical laboratories face a tight labor market. It is welcome recognition of the need for clinical laboratories to operate with a full staff of qualified pathologists, clinical chemists, medical technologists, and other laboratory medicine specialists.
A total of 15 professions will be included in this fast-track program. For 2010, the program will include medical laboratory technologists plus seven other professions: nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, accountants and financial auditors, architects, and engineers. In 2012, another six professions will become part of the fast-track credentialing program: doctors, dentists, licensed practical nurses, medical radiation technologists, engineering technicians, and teachers for grades K-through-12.
The program is called the “Pan-Canadian Framework for Recognition of Foreign Credentials.” Government officials announced details of the program last month. The goal is to allow foreign professionals to avoid having to work for years in jobs outside their expertise while awaiting recognition of their education and credentials.
When interviewed by the Vancouver Sun, Malcom Ashford, who is Executive Director of the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS), welcomed the new program and noted one concern. “This new Pan-Canadian framework has the potential to be a good news/bad news story,” stated Ashford. “If it really does speed up prior learning assessments, then that is great. Foreign-trained professionals can be an answer to pending labour shortages. However, if this potential solution becomes a serious problem by lowering standards of practice here in British Columbia, that should be a major concern.” MLTs are not regulated in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon Territory, Nunavut or The Northwest Territories.
The significant contribution of foreign-born professionals to British Columbia’s healthcare system is illustrated by the nursing profession. Cynthia Johanson who works with the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) reports that 5,866 foreign-educated nurses currently work in British Columbia hospitals, a number that increased from 5,569 in 2008. She also noted that CRNBC received 1,170 applications for licensing submitted by registered nurses (RNs) currently working outside of Canada.
Dark Daily observes that this is one additional step on the path to the globalization of healthcare. Like Canada, other developed nations are taking steps to make it easier for foreign-trained health professionals to have their education and credentials recognized. For clinical laboratory and pathology testing, this is an inevitable development, since most medical laboratories around the work offer a similar menu of diagnostic tests and use analyzers and testing systems sold by the major in vitro diagnostics manufacturers.