Call to Action: Help Ukrainian Health Professionals
March 3, 2022
The world promised, “never again.” But it is happening again. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unjustified and abhorrent terror on Ukraine is an attempt to wipe out the history of Ukraine.
Erasing history is how history will be permitted to repeat itself.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s unparalleled heroism has set the tone for this war. He is fighting for history, for democracy and for freedom for all of us. The least we can do is follow his lead.
So, what are we doing? The Government of Canada has announced that it is providing an expedited immigration stream to allow Ukrainian refugees to come to Canada and to be able to work for any Canadian employer or enroll in an education program. This will undoubtedly include regulated health professionals such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, midwives, dentists, physiotherapists, dietitians, etc., or those who aspire to become a regulated health professional.
The regulated health colleges ought to be providing an expedited process, now, to integrate qualified Ukrainian refugees into our health-care system. Aside from it being the right thing to do, which is the only reason necessary, it is also something that our exhausted health-care system needs.
One of the most obvious issues will be the language barrier. Colleges should provide free English proficiency courses to allow qualified Ukrainians to practise their profession here. Such a program should also be offered to prospective students of the regulated professions, who wish to enroll in higher education.
As part of the integration plan, and to bridge the gap, employers should receive financial support from the Ontario government to hire qualified Ukrainian refugees as regulated professionals. That would be similar to the way the province financially supports the Physician Assistant Career Start Program.
What the process is, what it looks like, and how to do it, are all questions that need to be determined. But we need to figure it out now.