March 13, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
March 13, 2015

Internationally trained physicians to benefit from new communication and cultural orientation portal

Toronto – The Government of Canada, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), and stakeholders across the medical community announced today that they are launching a new communication and cultural skills orientation portal. This online tool will ensure that physicians receive comprehensive and consistent information about Canadian medical practice, and in particular the communication skills and cultural competencies required for patient-centered care. The Government of Canada announced funding of $150,000 for this initiative.

“Our Government recognizes the importance of having internationally educated health professionals in the health workforce. With thousands of new Canadians arriving to Canada every year, we want to ensure that we effectively integrate doctors and nurses into the Canadian health workforce,” the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, said. “Today’s investment makes better use of the talent that is already in Canada and showcases the steps we’re taking to provide Canadians with increased access to health professionals and quality health care services wherever they live.”

Minister Ambrose applauded the MCC for its continued, significant contribution to strengthening our health system by striving for the very best medical care for Canadians through excellence in evaluation of physicians.

Many internationally trained physicians get into the Canadian medical system through a practice-ready assessment where they are observed by practising physicians for up to three months. Before starting the practice-ready assessment, physicians are provided with an orientation to the Canadian medical system, although the length and content varies across the country.

“This funding is critical to provide equal opportunity to internationally trained physicians coming to Canada,” said Nancy MacBeth, President of the MCC. “This portal will help ensure that all candidates have access to the same information and that candidates going through a practice-ready assessment have the knowledge they require of the communication and cultural aspects of Canadian medical practice.”

The MCC will collaborate with physicians and orientation experts across the country to develop the platform as well as to review and update orientation materials. The majority of the content builds off the successful development work of Drs. Lynn Russell and Leila Lax and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in the International Medical Graduate Communication & Cultural Competence website.

The new bilingual orientation portal will launch in September 2015. Following the launch, the MCC will work with its partners in the National Assessment Collaboration to integrate it with practice-ready assessment programs’ current orientation activities.

The National Assessment Collaboration is an alliance of Canadian organizations streamlining the evaluation process for international medical graduates. The Collaboration has launched a national examination for entry into residency. It is also involved in developing pan-Canadian standards and tools to ensure that practice-ready assessment processes are consistent and comparable across Canadian jurisdictions.

The MCC strives to achieve the highest level of medical care for Canadians through excellence in evaluation of physicians. It assesses over 11,000 medical students and graduates each year through its examinations. Its exams are offered in both official languages in sites across Canada, and in the case of the MCCEE, in over 500 locations in 80 countries.

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For more information:

Jessica Hertzog-Grenier
Director of Communications
Medical Council of Canada
613-521-6012, ext. 2277
jhertzog@mcc.ca