International News Desk – At Home: Foreign-trained doctors not finding work in doctor-starved Canada – In Foreign News: Cuba jails fewer political dissidents and signs onto UN covenant

International News Desk – At Home: Foreign-trained doctors not finding work in doctor-starved Canada – In Foreign News: Cuba jails fewer political dissidents and signs onto UN covenant

At Home: Foreign-trained doctors not finding work in doctor-starved Canada

While Canadians suffer from a severe shortage of medical doctors across the country, many immigrant doctors are finding it difficult to find work in the medical field here.

The issue is that Canadian medical licensing bodies have not yet determined what kinds of training and degrees are acceptable in place of a Canadian medical degree. Other problems have also come into view as some municipalities take on doctor recruitment for themselves only to lose out in the end.

In Georgetown, PEI, the mayor recruited Dr. Soha Rizk, an immigrant from Egypt. There are as many as 700 people in the Georgetown community who have no family doctor and while both the town and their new doctor were happy about the arrangement, the Department of Health was not in agreement.

While Dr. Rizk completed her Canadian medical credentials in preparation for her new position, Georgetown was told that the neighbouring town of Montague needed the doctor more than they did, despite the fact that this was a private recruitment.

On the other side of our country, the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons has not allowed naturalized Canadian Paola Fauerbach to work as a radiologist because they have not accepted her professional qualifications. Ms. Fauerbach’s qualifications are recognized in Argentina (where she was trained), as well as in the European Union, but so far not here in Canada. This issue is now being addressed by the BC Human Rights Tribunal as a discrimination complaint.

Ms. Fauerbach had been refused entry to a fellowship at the University of British Columbia because the program was only open to Canadian-trained doctors or foreign doctors who would not be practising in Canada. In this case, this foreign doctor has not even been allowed to pursue Canadian training that could allow her to provide medical care to Canadians.

As Canadians deal with long hospital wait times and a shortage of all types of doctors, many capable and willing doctors are not within reach due to this lack of up-to-date regulatory standards to deal with immigrant doctors.

In Foreign News: Cuba jails fewer political dissidents and signs onto UN covenant

While Cuban officials continue to deny the existence of political prisoners in that country, outside human rights watchers are reporting that there are fewer such detainees in the last year than in previous years.

Cuba has at long last agreed to enter into the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As well, the country’s repressive government allows the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCHRNR) to remain in operation, despite the fact that it is illegal under current laws there. This organization tracks imprisonment of dissidents in Cuba.

The Cuban government refers to detainees as mercenaries and insists they are backed by the United States, whose goal is to maintain political unrest inside Cuba.

The CCHRNR has stated that the reduction in the number of political prisoners in Cuba may be due to the switch in the government’s approach. Cubans who are planning on demonstrating or taking part in illegal meetings are more likely to be detained prior to the event, then released within a few hours without being charged with a crime. Previously, such people faced indefinite imprisonment for such activities.

Cuba’s decision to sign the UN’s covenant on civil rights came after Fidel Castro’s brother Raul took the country’s political reigns. The move means Cuba has agreed to regular monitoring by the UN Human Rights Council.

Many Cuba watchers throughout the world are applauding these recent changes, and others that now allow Cuban citizens to use cellular phones and personal computers. Yet while many hope to see more freedoms for Cubans under Raul Castro, no major political changes are expected in the near future.

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