Countless internationally-trained professionals immigrate to Canada hoping to pursue careers in their chosen field. Those who require licensing – like medical professionals – face significant hurdles.
Dr. Paola Nasute Fauerbach was certified as a specialist in diagnostic breast imaging after receiving her medical degree in Buenos Aires. The University of Madrid in Spain recognized these credentials, and allowed her to practise radiology in the European Union.
In Canada, these same credentials required evaluation before Paola would be allowed to practice. She applied for a fellowship to allow her to maintain her skills during this evaluation process, but did not qualify since fellowships are earmarked for Canadian-trained people or international graduates intending to return home.
Paola asked the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons for either a temporary licence or educational licence. She was denied both. Initially, the College all but dismissed her Argentinean medical training, then said she does not qualify for any kind of licensing in B.C. The College also denied her application for a clinical fellowship in breast imaging that would have allowed her to be supervised by breast-imaging specialists.
Paola filed a discrimination complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In March of 2008, the Tribunal rejected the College’s application to dismiss the complaint because documents were not filed on time. In ruling, the Tribunal stated that it was in the public interest to hear the issues of the case. The outcome is pending.
Dr. Fauerbach’s story is a poignant example of how a flailing health care system claiming to need an influx of medical talent is, in fact, standing in the way of foreign-trained professionals willing to step in and serve.