Against discriminatory return of service imposed on IMGs sign now

To Leaders of Major Canadian Political Parties:

I am writing to ask your party to clarify her position on the discriminatory return of service (ROS) imposed on Canadian citizens and landed immigrants with an undergraduate medical degree obtained outside Canada (known as International Medical Graduates, IMGs). I am asking you to announce your plan for elimination of this discriminatory practice. I would like you to know that your response will affect my vote in the upcoming election.

Many provincial ministries of health across Canada force IMGs to enter a ROS contract in return for an opportunity for post-graduate medical training (residency). This contract is discriminatory because medical graduates of Canadian universities (CMGs) enjoy an opportunity for the same training without being obliged to enter a ROS contract. Discouraged by this discrimination, a large number of IMG physicians leave Canada for the United States each year where they are provided with equal access to post-graduate medical training and assimilated into the medical system.

We, Canadians are proud of our charter of rights and freedoms that guarantees equal benefit of the law without discrimination. We are appalled by this discriminatory practice. Moreover, at a time when Canadians need more physicians, discouraging IMGs and forcing them to emigrate to the United States is at best incompetence.

Sincerly,

NOTE: To explain the issue more clearly, IMGs are Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have completed their undergraduate medical education outside Canada. Provincial ministries of health across Canada force IMGs to enter a ROS contract in return for an opportunity for post-graduate medical training (residency). They claim the ROS is in return for the extra costs ministries of health incur for providing IMGs with this training opportunity. This is completely dishonest.

Provincial ministries of health do not incur extra expenses for post-graduate medical training of IMGs. The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and research (FAIMER, www.faimer.org) assessed international medical schools. This non-profit organization established by the United States educational commission for foreign medical graduates (ECFMG, http://www.ecfmg.org/) makes the data on international medical schools freely available. Hence, the ministry of health does not need to, and does not incur any expenses on assessing an international medical school. Canadian citizens and landed immigrants with an undergraduate medical degree obtained outside Canada from a medical school on the FAIMER list are allowed writing Canadian Medical Council examinations. Verification of the degree with the medical school is done at the applicantвs expenses. IMGs pass an evaluation examination as well as the same national examinations that CMGs pass. They pay for their evaluation examination and also pay the same examination fees that CMGs pay for the national examinations. Upon applying for a post-graduate medical training, they pay the same application fees as CMGs. They complete the same post-graduate training that CMGs do, and receive the same evaluations that CMGs do during this training. They pay the same tuition fees and receive the same salaries during their post-graduate training. A short period of assessment at the beginning of the training program (~12 weeks) is merely an option for the programs to cancel a contract with an IMG. Hence, post-graduate medical training of IMGs bears negligible extra costs for the provincial ministries of health.

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Earlene VillaBy:
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Leaders of Major Canadian Political Parties

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