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Ontario Attracting The Best And Brightest In Medicine

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Ontario Attracting The Best And Brightest In Medicine

International Medical Graduates Improving Access To Health Care For Families

Office of the Premier

The Ontario government is improving access to health care for families by helping more qualified international medical graduates (IMGs) train and practise medicine in the province, said Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"Helping more foreign-trained physicians pursue their careers means shorter wait times, better service and improved access to health care for Ontario families," said Premier McGuinty. "We're proud that so many international medical graduates are choosing to work in Ontario."

The Premier made his comments at a ceremony today recognizing the contributions foreign-trained physicians make to Ontario's health care system. Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman, and more than 100 IMGs, joined Premier McGuinty.

Ontario is a leader in Canada in supporting foreign-trained physicians. In 2005-06, the government invested nearly $40 million in training and support for graduates. It has also developed a $45-million HealthForceOntario strategy to help attract and recruit health care professionals to Ontario.

Since coming to office, the government has more than doubled the number of international medical graduate training positions from 90 to 200. As a result of the government's IMG programs, 86 foreign-trained physicians are practising in under-serviced communities in Ontario. Another 287 are currently in training.

"We are proud that we are able to meet our annual goal of 200 new IMGs in assessment and training programs," said Smitherman. "These professionals make an important contribution to the Ontario health system and help ensure that when people need access to timely medical care, there is a doctor there to assist them."

Helping more IMGs and new Canadians train and practise in Ontario is the latest example of how the McGuinty government is working on the side of families who want the best health care and the opportunity to succeed.

Other initiatives include:

  • Expanding access to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, including funding 3,062 new nursing positions, creating 150 Family Health Teams and expanding medical school spaces by 23 per cent
  • Committing $20 million, since 2003, in 35 bridge-training programs to help internationally trained professionals work in their field sooner
  • Reducing wait times by funding 31,000 additional surgical procedures, including more MRI exams, cancer and cataract surgeries, hip and knee replacements and cardiac procedures.

"By making the most of the skills, talents and education of internationally trained physicians, we're making progress on our goal of a healthier Ontario," said Premier McGuinty. "Working together, we'll continue to provide Ontario families with better access to high-quality health care and a quality of life that is truly second to none."

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