Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chapter 12: Union Station

In case you are wonderin' what is going on with this here.

Chapter 12 of Joe Fiorito's book takes a look at the life of an immigrant to Canada. Perhaps the most disturbing sentence in this chapter, and possibly the entire book, is this one:

"The city cliche: The cabbies in this town are engineers, doctors, physicists." - Page 173.

Why are people who could be engineers, doctors, physicists and others driving taxis in this fair city? Sure driving a cab is a noble job and necessary for tourists and others to get around town. But the people who could be doctors are needed to ease the waiting times in the health care system.

During the previous federal election the Conservatives came to power on promises on five priorities. One of those priorities, the only one left to be accomplished by the Conservative government, is the guarenteed wait times for health care patients. Currently, talks are ongoing between the federal health care minister and his provincial counterparts. But that is what has been happening for years! More money has been gobbled up year after year as the federal government has been continously giving the provinces money designated for health care. Yet, times seem to be getting longer. Also, doctor and nursing shortages are either being felt now or on the horizon accross the country.

Is there a way to help solve the problem of wait times? Sure, there needs to be adequate number of health professionals and equipment. Governments have suggested in the past opening up a larger number of places in medical school to help solve the problem. Well, according to Joe Fiorito's book and other media reports, there are plenty of doctors driving cabs. One would think this would be a good area to find medical doctors to a least stem the loss of medical professionals in Canada due to retirement and other factors.

Now the question is why are these doctors driving cabs? Most of these doctors are foreign trained and, once they arrived in Canada, found their medical degrees are not recognized in Canada. This is a major problem in many fields of study in Canada as Joe Fiorito notes above in terms of physcists, doctors and others driving cabs or just facing a tough time. So perhaps the federal and provincial governments might want to make it easier for these foreign trained professionals to have their credentials tested and brought up to Canadian standards. This would probably be a lot cheaper than providing more spaces in medical schools for new doctors as these foreign trained doctors might only need six months to a year to be educated and properly tested before being deployed to a Canadian hospital or medical clinic.

This idea would also cost the federal and provincial governments less in the long run instead of opening up more spaces in medical school. Medical school students would be required to do at least four years of school and many of these students are starting with very little experience in the field of medicine. Contrast this to the cab driver who may have had a practice overseas and has full medical training in another country. These individuals would only require a quick probing to see what they know and what they still need to learn. These individuals could then be slotted into medical school classes that fit their needs and put into the workforce in a much shorter time period due to their previous training and experience. Even better these doctors come with some previous medical experience that would be needed in the Canadian medical field as the older experienced Canadian doctors begin to retire.

This is just one way to solve a Canadian problem by placing Canadian taxpayers money smartly and helping out those who want to work hard in Canada in their chosen field. Many, like the doctors and physcists driving a taxi, just need a chance to clear away the red tape holding them back and get into their fields.

We know they believe in Canada and are 'sold' on living in Canada, we just need to show them that 'Canada is sold on them.'

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