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Poilievre calls for testing that would allow doctors, nurses to work across Canada


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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre wing of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, on Sunday, March 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling for a countrywide standardized testing process that would speed up licence approvals for doctors and nurses.

Poilievre says his proposed “blue seal” testing standard would allow qualified health-care professionals to work in any province or territory that volunteers to be part of the program.

He described his plan at a press conference today, saying a model that allowed professionals to take a test and get an answer within 60 days would address Canada’s ongoing shortage of health-care professionals, such as family doctors and emergency-room nurses.

Under the existing licensing system, each province and territory has its own processes to be licensed as a doctor or nurse.

Poilievre says that means professionals from one province can’t necessarily work in another region, while new immigrants also struggle to obtain the necessary approvals.

He says the “blue seal” model draws on the “red seal” standard for skilled workers in regulated trades that include carpenters, heavy equipment operators and industrial electricians.

“It’s common sense: if you can do the job, you should get the job,” he added during a press conference at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa on Sunday.

“If we had all the doctors that are here today in Canada, but trained abroad, working in our health-care system, we could reduce our doctor shortage by half.”

Poilievre detailed his proposal ahead of the federal government’s latest fiscal blueprint, which is be presented to Parliament on March 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2023.

— By David Friend in Toronto

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Health Foundation commits $325,000 to support child, adolescent mental health

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Foundation donors provide furnishings, supplies for program for ages 13 to 17

Thanks to Central Alberta donors, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation is supporting Step Up Step Down, a program helping youth aged 13 to 17 who have complex mental health challenges.

Step-Up Step-Down will find a new home in the Centre of Excellence, described as a centre for “healing, recovery, and prevention” being built at Red Deer Polytechnic.

“We thank our generous donors for supporting the Foundation’s greatest needs, which allows us to dedicate funds to help young people and families in our community,” says Manon Therriault, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

Funds raised by the Foundation will provide a fully furnished, equipped and supplied environment to allow staff to provide timely recreational, therapeutic, and extracurricular activities to the youth in care. Funded items include furnishings, equipment, and supplies for the kitchen, bedrooms, sensory and therapy rooms, classroom, living room, gym, outdoor spaces, and indoor activity spaces.

The move into the Centre of Excellence will allow expansion of the Step Up Step Down program up to 16 beds from the current 5 beds and allow the program to provide intensive, comprehensive, individualized clinical services to youth in a live-in and community setting.

Step Up Step Down will support approximately 50-75 live-in treatment families, along with 100 intensive outpatient families per year, reducing stress on the Emergency Department and Pediatric Psychiatric units at the Red Deer Hospital. The facility will serve youth and families from all areas of the Central Zone.

About Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation is a fundraising organization for Alberta Health Services Central Zone, with a mandate to raise and disburse funds for programs, services, and the purchase of medical equipment.

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Ruling clears way for Purdue Pharma to settle opioid claims, protect Sacklers from lawsuits

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