Immigration Rule changes related to International Medical Doctors working in Canada.

So, what are we to think of the new immigration rules instituted by the Canadian government. Well, if you are not a Canadian citizen or Permanent resident, getting a license has become very problematic. What that means for International Medical Graduates ( IMG’s) is its nearly impossible if they are attempting to access the Canadian medical system and be lucky enough to capture a locum or full time job here.

Basically, in a nut shell, here’s what’s going on. The word on the street is that workers flooded the system in Canada and were able to get jobs at Fast food restaurants, gas bars, and corner stores. Go anywhere in Canada today, small town or big and you’ll find a diverse culture of people serving you. Is this a bad thing? No, of course not. That is what Canada is all about – and should always be about. Unfortunately, someone at the Government level didn’t think so.

Medical doctors who are International Medical Graduates ( IMG’s) are feeling the full brunt of this legislation change. Not only have costs increased for health authorities and private medical institutions to hire this physician group but the time delay has greatly increased and nearly impossible to get a valid work permit. Prior to last year’s ruling change, an Labour Market Opinion (LMO) was initiated by a medical institution and after evaluation by the said institution, it would generate wheels to initiate a work permit. So the power and authority for determining needs was with the institution. Now what’s required by Immigration Canada is a Labour Market Impact Assessment application (LMIA). In order to activate a work permit it must be proven that the following criteria are met: 1. There is no Canadian physician available to do the job. 2. There is a need for the IMG to fill the need. 3. Hiring this physician will not negatively affect the supply of Canadian medical doctors in Labour market. If the criteria is not in the affirmative an LMIA is denied and the institution is unable to hire an international physician. The problem with this is the power is taken away from the medical institution and given solely to the Government of Canada. Unfortunately the government are NOT the ones on the front lines and do NOT clearly see the big picture. And if it wasn’t bad enough the cost for an LMIA is $1000 and can be a needless waste of tax payer dollars if application is denied. This problem has caused a complete breakdown in many ways to the medical system, especially in rural parts of Canada.


Legislation and lobbying needs to happen such that the government is made aware of the difficulties the health care system in Canada will experience if something is not addressed. As a recruiter, I see the problems daily, especially given I work with a vast and diverse population of international medical doctors. Let’s hope the government are soon made aware of this significant obstacle they’ve set in place for new physicians to come to Canada on work permits.