Did you know there are 800,000 Quebeckers without a family physician? 800,000!!

And the medical authorities keep telling us every day there’s no quick fix to this situation. Well, there’s a partial fix. It begins with the hundreds of foreign trained doctors reduced to driving cabs because the College of Physicians and Surgeons is still dragging its feet on recognizing foreign medical degrees.

The current situation is that MDs from other countries, who have passed exams, must still do a residency at a Quebec hospital. These residencies are very hard to get. Some 63 were unfilled as of last July.

Couldn’t the College speed up the system whereby foreign MDs are allowed to practise in Quebec and so reduce the critical shortage of family physicians?

Shouldn’t the Charest government press the College so that it becomes more than a trade union for local doctors?



  1. 1
    Chimera Says:

    This isn’t happening just in Quebec, Neil. In Quebec, though, I think they have the added burden of having to satisfy the language police, don’t they?

    Here in BC, I knew a doctor from Pakistan. He and I worked together for a security company. He had fled Pakistan for political reasons, leaving a thriving family practise. Canadian authorities had assured him that there was not only room for him here, but that doctors were much in demand. Then he got here and found out about all the time-wasting and expensive hoops through which he had to jump.

    The College refused to test him for eligibility. They kept saying that his entire education was not up to par, and he had to start over again. It’s not just the residency requirements, although those are stupid enough. And all the while, there was a growing demand for doctors who could communicate fluently with immigrants in their own languages.

    The College is worse than a trade union. They’re a closed shop. A union would actively seek more members. The College wants to keep their supply low and the demand high so they can command higher prices.

    Of course, they keep touting « Canadian standards. » But they won’t say what those « standards » are…

  2. 2

    Thanks for for sharing your experience with the doctor from Pakistan. It’s a shame that while medical bureaurats design more hoops for foreign doctors to jump through, Canadian patients have to suffer.

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    When I presided the board of an hospital north of Montreal we needed a paedosychiatrist. We recruited two FRENCH doctors who had practiced in prestigious Paris hospitals. They got to practice one year as interns. Everybody loved them and they were most appreciated. Would you believe that when time came to give them a licence they were asked to undergo two years of updating? They went straight back to France and we were back to square one.

  4. 4

    What a bloody horror story. Apparently people who are paid to serve us think their role is to torment us. It would seem to be so easy to enrich our stream of doctors.

  5. 5
    Sophia Says:

    My husband, who graduated from France and Belgium, practised with a restrictive permit as a child psychiatrist at Ste Justine Hospital for elevne years. He had a university position at the University of Montreal and he is laso an MD PhD internationally recognised in his field of expertise. In 2002, with the nomination of a new director for clinical services, the hospital did not renew his license unilaterally citing as a pretext the fact that he does not fit the needs of the hospital. This is what a restrictive permit does, putting MDs with a foreign license in a very precarious situation. He has been working in Ontario since and is now suing the director of professional services and the director of clinical services who kisked him out. The hospital who is paying a big law form for these directors, has spent already more than half a million in public money in order to prevent him from regaining his license.
    He will be in court between November 5th and 15th asking for compensation and renewal of license in Quebec.

  6. 6

    Thank your for sharing your thoughts about your husband’s difficult situation. It seems a shame that Quebec loses a needed child psychiatrist because of such nonsense as restrictive permits. We do hope your husband is successful in renewing his license in Quebec. Thanks again for your comment.

  7. 7
    Sophia Says:

    Thanks Neil, and let me apologize for the number of typing errors I left in my previous comment.

  8. 8
    Chimera Says:

    Sophia, good luck to you and your husband in your fight against the stupidity of the bureaucracy of exclusivity.

    Apart from that, does it occur to anyone that our society must be in a pretty sad state of affairs when we need psychiatrists for our children?

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