In Canada, as in other Western countries, the issue of immigration, and especially the place of recent immigrants in society, is attracting ever more attention. Governments bank on immigration to alleviate the problem of the labor gap, but the integration of non-Quebec graduates into the workforce, as well as their acceptance by the various stakeholders, including professional organizations, needs improvement.
According to the Quebec Interprofessional Council (QIC), every year, regulatory bodies receive 4,500 new credential equivalency applications from non-Quebec graduates, 500% more than in 2000. And since all signs point to sustained demand over the next few years, it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to facilitate the recognition of non-Quebec credentials.
A growing concern
A recent article in Le Soleil addressed the difficulty for regulatory bodies to integrate graduates into their respective professions. Ghislaine Desrosiers, President of the QIC, explained that “necessary adjustments must be made by the relevant government departments, in cooperation with Immigration Canada, and not regulatory bodies”. The QIC states that the rate of recognition of non-Quebec credentials by regulatory bodies stands at 95%, compared to 70% in 1997.
While most credential equivalency applications are eventually granted (95%), nearly half of them involve internship requirements that fall outside the purview of regulatory bodies. This article explains how Quebec’s Bill 98 seeks to create the position of Admissions Commissioner to address the coordination problem.
The current Complaints Commissioner, André Gariépy, stated here that “the problems with credentials recognition often relate to delays between steps. The system must provide information on required complementary training and internships within reasonable timeframes. The entire accreditation process must be completed within three to five years, otherwise the applicant’s previous experience becomes obsolete. However, delays between steps tend to draw out the process”.
Adequate technological support can streamline the process
While the problem definitely has a structural component to it, regulatory bodies can and should do their part to improve follow-up on equivalency applications in order to minimize delays.
To achieve this, regulatory bodies can standardize processes, and ensure that all relevant information is included in the application: country of training, work experience, documents to be submitted, admission conditions, etc.
For example, when a candidate applies on-line, they should be able to include a digital copy of any relevant documentation and track the progress of their application in real-time. regulatory bodies, for their part, should be able to validate documents, submit the application to the admissions committee and create an internship file on-line. Alerts could be triggered when follow-up is required. This way, the right actions are taken at the right time, optimizing candidates’ chances of success. As a bonus, data on application processing would allow regulatory bodies to make evidence-based recommendations to solve problems.