Accreditation: due diligence or straitjacket?

On a regular basis, various magazines, newspapers and online media report on the challenges that New Canadians face upon arrival. An example was ‘Immigration: The New Normal’ in HR Professional Magazine of October 2011, advocating the need for Canadian credentialing of foreign workers as baby-boomers retire (assuming they do), taking their skills and experience with them into retirement.

Having immigrated to Canada in 1999, I have first- and second-hand experience with the difficulties that immigrants run into once they have landed. I came here with a Dutch law degree and never practiced law in Holland, plus Holland has the Napoleonic system rather than Common Law, so I was fully prepared for the fact that my degree would not be of much help in Ontario. Yes, it showed a certain capacity for learning, but the practical use was limited. I had a number of temp jobs, drove a forklift for six months, worked for a publisher for a year and then spent ten years in banking and HR. I never regretted moving to Canada, although it took me five years to reach the income level I had enjoyed in Holland. I’m not complaining – I loved the adventure. Actually, I was once refused entry to a job fair in Mississauga, because ‘it was only for people with English as a second language’. I guess I didn’t sound the part.

In 2012, I was a speaker at the Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) Conference in Toronto and quoted from a newspaper clipping from the Toronto Star of October 27, 2011. It featured Balvinder Singh Ahuja, who delivered a baby on an Air India flight to Toronto. From the article: “For 25 years in his native India, Balvinder Singh Ahuja worked as a pediatrician, treating thousands of children, saving many lives. For the past six months in Toronto, Ahuja has been learning to drive a truck, convinced it was too difficult a process to practice as a foreign-trained doctor in Canada. Like most foreign-trained doctors, Ahuja must be recertified before he can practice. But with thousands of foreign-trained doctors in the country and few opportunities for residency, Ahuja says he knows it will be almost impossible. Ahuja said he immigrated to give his three children a better future. “I don’t want to get frustrated,” he said. “I’m not closing that door completely but as of now I’m focusing on trucking because I have a family and I need money.” There are at least 7,500 internationally trained doctors in Ontario but fewer than 200 can get residency spots”. Meanwhile, millions of Ontarians don’t have a family doctor and rely on walk-in clinics or emergency rooms of hospitals, where line-ups are legendary.

continue reading… LinkedIn Pulse

by Evert Akkerman CHRL, LL.M.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
Share This Post On
468 ad