The Manitoba government has contracted with a recruitment firm to recruit 150 physicians to work in the province and has approved regulatory changes that will allow internationally educated doctors to start working sooner.
“Our government is committed to expanding the health-care workforce to provide Manitobans with the care they need, when and where they need it,” said Health Minister Audrey Gordon. “We are making the necessary moves to recruit 150 family physicians to work in our province, which will support better patient outcomes and bring care and services closer to home for Manitobans.”
The Manitoba government has set a recruitment target of 150 family physicians to provide services in all areas of the province with initial goals of 50 physicians each for Winnipeg, northern Manitoba, and rural communities. Canadian Health Labs has been retained to assist with this focused recruitment drive.
Family physicians play an integral role in the health-care system, the minister noted, providing ongoing longitudinal care for patients across the continuum of community, hospital and long-term care, with a focus on preventative care, including the detection of early warning signs of medical concerns.
“We are happy to see changes that will make it easier for internationally trained physicians to practise here in Manitoba,” said Dr. Michael Boroditsky, president, Doctors Manitoba. “The changes announced today will remove burdensome and unnecessary steps to obtaining a licence in Manitoba. This will mean well-qualified international medical graduates will be able to practise sooner, which will help to address Manitoba’s physician shortage.”
The Manitoba government has approved amendments to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) General Regulation to streamline registration requirements and expedite the registration process for internationally educated physicians. These changes will come into effect on Sept. 1, the minister added.
Internationally educated physicians who meet all other registration requirements will no longer be required to also hold a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada to practise in Manitoba. The minister noted this requirement can be safely removed because specialists and family physicians must continue to demonstrate competency by either completing post-graduate medical education and obtaining certification from either the College of Family Physicians of Canada or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or by completing the Manitoba Practice Assessment Program. Additionally, applicants who have already completed the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Subspecialist Examination Affiliate Program will be eligible for a new fast-track registration process that is more appropriate for their qualifications.
The amendments also give CPSM the flexibility to establish streamlined assessment requirements for fully licensed internationally educated physicians, including reduced provisional registration requirements for applicants from jurisdictions with similar health-care, education and training systems. This change will align Manitoba’s requirements with other regulatory bodies in Canada, added Gordon.
“We are pleased to eliminate barriers to assessment, without compromising quality and patient safety,” said Dr. Anna Ziomek, registrar, CPSM. “The current regulations for evaluating provisional registrants delay and discourage qualified international medical graduates from practising in Manitoba. With these amendments, regulation will be more adaptable to current workforce challenges and CPSM can better streamline assessment processes and establish requirements for supervision and monitoring.
The minister noted these amendments build on other recent initiatives to reduce unnecessary barriers for internationally educated physicians seeking to practise in Manitoba. In March 2023, the Manitoba government approved amendments that removed the requirement for internationally educated physicians to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam Part 1.
“These amendments reduce unnecessary barriers for internationally educated physicians seeking to practise in Manitoba without compromising patient safety and care,” said Gordon. “Manitoba’s health-care system looks forward to welcoming new physicians into roles across the province.”
Today’s announcement follows a tentative agreement reached last week between the Manitoba government and Doctors Manitoba on a new Physician Services Agreement that features overall funding increases of $268 million over four years. The agreement features a number of incentives and initiatives that support family physicians, including a new funding model for longitudinal family medicine, a new visit classification for patients with more than one medical concern and a permanent funding model for virtual visits.