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Yukon receives federal funding to streamline hiring foreign-trained health workers

The Whitehorse General Hospital. The Yukon government announced that federal funding for health care will go towards streamlining the employment process for foreign-trained professionals.  (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
The Whitehorse General Hospital. The Yukon government announced that federal funding for health care will go towards streamlining the employment process for foreign-trained professionals. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

The Yukon is receiving federal funding with the objective of streamlining the employment process for foreign-trained health-care workers.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Whitehorse, Ranj Pillai, Yukon premier, said the objective of the $3.65 million from Ottawa is to help cover any of the costs that might prevent foreign-trained health workers from being employed in the territory.

"What we're really talking about is how do we offset costs," he said.

Pillai said this could involve paying for the exams that a health-care worker might need to take, or the travel required to complete the exam.

A news release on Tuesday said the objective of the funding is to create "a Yukon territorial licensure regulatory process" which currently does not exist.

It will also create a Yukon Foreign Credential Recognition Centre to aid employers and "skilled newcomers" navigate career pathways and regulatory processes.

The news release says the funding will support a four-year program and up to 150 people by offering "career navigation supports and will offer a targeted nurse bridging program."

Pillai said he personally knows 30 to 40 people in the territory who are foreign-educated health-care workers who could start working once they're qualified.

He encouraged anyone living in the territory who was educated in health-care abroad to reach out to the Department of Health and Social Services in order to get qualified.

Pillai spoke of the need to attract still more foreign-trained workers to the Yukon and to ensure young people decide to remain in the territory to pursue a career in health care.

Yukon Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said the territory is also working with other jurisdictions in Canada to allow nurses qualified in their respective province or territory to be able work in the Yukon. She said this will be done on a case-by-case basis.