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Poilievre calls for testing that would allow doctors, nurses to work across Canada

Conservative leader says he’d implement a countrywide standardized test
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he’d implement a countrywide standardized test for nurses and doctors, making it easier for them to switch provinces or enter Canada from other countries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling for a countrywide standardized testing process that would speed up licence approvals for doctors and nurses.

Poilievre says his proposed “blue seal” testing standard would allow qualified health-care professionals to work in any province or territory that volunteers to be part of the program.

He described his plan at a press conference today, saying a model that allowed professionals to take a test and get an answer within 60 days would address Canada’s ongoing shortage of health-care professionals, such as family doctors and emergency-room nurses.

Under the existing licensing system, each province and territory has its own processes to be licensed as a doctor or nurse.

Poilievre says that means professionals from one province can’t necessarily work in another region, while new immigrants also struggle to obtain the necessary approvals.

He says the “blue seal” model draws on the “red seal” standard for skilled workers in regulated trades that include carpenters, heavy equipment operators and industrial electricians.

“It’s common sense: if you can do the job, you should get the job,” he added during a press conference at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa on Sunday.

“If we had all the doctors that are here today in Canada, but trained abroad, working in our health-care system, we could reduce our doctor shortage by half.”

Poilievre detailed his proposal ahead of the federal government’s latest fiscal blueprint, which is be presented to Parliament on March 28.

— By David Friend in Toronto

The Canadian Press

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