OTTAWA, June 6, 2022 – Canadians will benefit from having access to care from more internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) when and where they need them, thanks to additional federal support for the National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4).
An announcement at CHEO today confirmed an additional $1.5 million in funding from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and underscored that newcomers are critical to Canada’s labour force. Many are highly skilled and educated in health care, but face barriers to contributing fully to Canada’s health systems. At the same time, existing labour shortages in health care have been made worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Newcomers are an integral part of our communities. Their full inclusion in our health-care workforce will help us address staffing shortages, while also incorporating richly diverse voices of lived experience and better supporting other newcomers,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO at CHEO, where N4 is hosted and was created.
“CHEO welcomes N4’s new initiative to integrate trained health professionals into the Canadian workforce more quickly. We thank the Government of Canada for supporting this effort. This is an important step toward better health equity,” added Munter.
With the new funding from IRCC, N4 can assist skilled IEHPs in gaining full employment in the Canadian health-care sector by addressing the many barriers they face.
“Canada is an international leader when it comes to settlement and integration – we know that it’s not enough just to get people here, but we also have to make sure that they’re set up for success once they arrive,” said the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “When newcomers succeed, our community succeeds. Newcomers working in our hospitals, long-term care homes, and other health settings are actively contributing to our COVID-19 recovery.”
The IEHP program builds on IRCC’s initial investment that enabled the development of N4.
Why N4 was created
The National Newcomer Navigation Network brings together professionals and organizations who work with and serve newcomers, with a goal of helping them navigate Canada’s systems of health care and social services. N4 was established to create opportunities for collaboration among newcomer-serving professionals from across the health care and social service sectors, so they can become fully equipped to support newcomer patients and clients.
The IEHP program extends N4’s original mandate of improved access to services, to the goal of access to gainful employment for newcomer health-care professionals – something that recognizes the wealth of education and experience that can enrich our ability to deliver culturally safe health care in this country. N4 is bringing together diverse stakeholders to establish a mutual understanding about the experiences of IEHPs and work done to date, and advance concrete solutions to the employment barriers too many face.
“I am tremendously proud of the intersectoral connections, learnings and collaborations that our network has built since 2019, and of how our online platform has evolved to meet the needs of its members,” said Christine Kouri, CHEO’s Manager of Health Equity and Diversity. “We look forward to working with our current and new network members to continue to support health care and social service professionals as they respond to the evolving challenges of Canadian newcomers.”
In 2022, CMA, CNA and College of Family Physicians of Canada stated collectively to parliament that hiring IEHPs is one of six pillars needed to overcome the country’s health-care staffing shortages.
At the end of 2019, more than 40,000 health-care jobs couldn’t be filled. The pandemic has made this much worse.
In 2022, 66% of IEHPs seeking a medical residency failed to find a match, compared to 4% of Canadian-trained medical graduates.
About the National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4)
Funded by IRCC and hosted at CHEO, N4 was established in 2019 through an IRCC Service Delivery Improvements (SDI) grant to address barriers for newcomers in accessing and experiencing healthcare and social services. N4’s pan-Canadian intersectoral network brings together professionals from the healthcare sector, social service sector, settlement sector, academia and other sectors to connect, learn, and collaborate. N4 provides opportunities for professional development, continuing education, networking, and the sharing of data and resources, with the aim to promote best practices in the field of newcomer navigation.
To date, N4 celebrates:
Engagement with 214 organizations and 726 professionals from the health, settlement, social service and academic sectors across Canada to ensure that N4 programming meets the needs of newcomer-serving professionals
More than 940 N4 members, including underemployed IEHPs who work in the settlement sector in various roles
40 webinars attended by more than 2,400 N4 members and non-members
More than 1,200 registrants for the inaugural N4 conference, which featured 75 cross-sectoral speakers, networking sessions, and a focus on the voice of lived experience
Over 1,550 professional development resources and online trainings in both official languages
More than 75 professionals successfully completed the N4-Saint Paul University Online Program
123 subject matter experts from the health, settlement, social service, academic and other sectors across Canada
Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated approach to pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.