On March 30, 2010, the Commissioner made 17 recommendations to improve registration and licensing in Ontario's regulated professions.
The recommendations appear in Clearing the Path: Recommendations for Action in Ontario's Professional Licensing System ( PDF 96 KB).
Recommendations and actions taken to date appear below:
Regulatory bodies have direct responsibility for licensing professionals in Ontario.
Of all the licensing systems used by regulated professions in Ontario, the system to license doctors is the most complicated. Following are recommendations related specifically to the physician licensing system.
The Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) monitors each regulatory body to track the implementation of these recommendations. As of June 30, 2012, most regulators are making changes and improvements. For details, check summaries of assessments for the professions that interest you.
Third-party qualifications assessment agencies often have significant impact on decisions about granting licences. These agencies decide whether academic credentials are equivalent, determine whether occupation-specific credentials are acceptable, judge competency, assess skills and knowledge, and run exams. More than three-quarters of Ontario regulators have outsourced assessments.
The OFC monitors qualifications assessment agencies, but does not oversee them directly. It is the regulatory bodies’ responsibility to make sure their agencies do their work in a transparent, objective, impartial and fair way.
As of June 30, 2012, this is gradually happening.
Read about assessment of academic credentials elsewhere on this site.
As the overseer of all regulatory practices, the Government of Ontario has a key role to play in improving the licensing system.
The Government of Ontario funds several bridge training programs that help skilled newcomers get licences or certificates in their professions. It does not provide financial aid to individuals who are internationally trained.
The OFC is actively involved in registration regulations. The office examines proposals for changes to regulations, sometimes at the request of a regulator or the government, to ensure that they maintain fairness. As of June 30, 2012, the government has not been able to commit to short timelines for approving regulation changes. The commissioner raises this issue in her meetings with ministers responsible for the regulated professions.
The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care convened a meeting with the seven organizations on June 28, 2010. These organizations, known as the Physician Resources Task Force, state that they "recognize there is opportunity to make additional progress."
Interviews with international medical graduates (IMGs) for residency positions are the most subjective part of the selection process. The OFC would welcome a structured-interview approach based on objective criteria, and believes that unsuccessful candidates should get feedback. The OFC will continue to monitor IMGs’ access to the profession.
Although professional licensing is within provincial jurisdiction, the federal government is responsible for admitting skilled immigrants and therefore has an important role to play.
Since July 2011, the Government of Canada includes a clear statement on its immigration application form, and prospective immigrants must sign it: "I understand that if I wish to work in a regulated occupation, it is my responsibility to obtain information on the licensing requirements from the appropriate regulatory body in Canada…."
Ultimately, individual applicants must take responsibility for their own futures.
The Commissioner speaks to many immigrant serving organizations about these issues. She is not in a position to follow up with individual applicants.