Concurrent Sessions: October 28, 1:30-2:15 pm 

Vision Towards a Pan-Canadian Harmonization of IEN Education Credentials

October 28, 1:30-2:15 pm

Ballroom A

English, Pillar 2-Assessment

Siu Mee Cheng, National Nursing Assessment Services; Ann Mann, NS; Becky Gosbee, PEI; Lynn Power, NFLD.

Objective:  Harmonization to assess nursing education credentials for internationally educated nurses (IENs) has been achieved within a pan-Canadian context to support the pathway towards nursing licensure.  Partnership:  22 nursing regulatory bodies (RBs) from the three nursing disciplines (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and psychiatric nurses) among nine provinces comprise the membership of the National Nursing Assessment Services (NNAS), whose mandate is to deliver a single point of entry for IENs in order to assess education credentials to support decision-making on licensure amongst the membership.  Design & Methods:  Through a collaborative and participative approach, assessment tools and processes were developed that would enable a consistent evaluation of IEN education credentials.  The assessment tools are based on evidence that assures equity, fairness and consistency in the assessment for IENs.  Results:  A shared and common assessment platform exists for all the 22 RBs to determine the education and evaluate the education credentials of IENs, and to inform RBs on the next appropriate licensure step.  This has created a consistent approach that is based on a rigourous and structured credentialing evaluation approach irrespective of nursing discipline or jurisdiction.  In the past, the pan-Canadian landscape for nursing licensure was described as fragmented.  NNAS offers up an easy access point for IENs who are seeking licensure within Canada.  For RBs in the Atlantic region, NNAS provides an opportunity to increase efficiency, enhance standardization and establish greater comprehensiveness in this stage of their licensure journey. 

To-date, over 6,000 IENs have initiated credentialing assessment with NNAS seeking licensure from amongst the nine provinces, of which over 200 IENs began assessment to practice in eastern Canada.  These IENs come from over 133 countries.  Conclusions / Implications:  NNAS is an innovative expression of collaboration of 22 RBs from three nursing disciplines.  This common and standardized approach and degree of collaboration is unique within Canada and amongst all the health professions.  It further supports the focus towards protecting patient care through trained and qualified nursing practise.

Working with IEHPs: Partnerships & Innovation, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)


English, Pillar 1-Prearrival; Pillar 3-Bridging; Pillar 4-Workplace & Community Integration

Jan Sheppard Kutcher); Mohja Alia; Carol Derby; Beth Vye, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)

For many years, partnerships & innovation have been the drivers of our work with IEHPs. With the complex problem of international qualifications recognition (IQR), collaboration is the only way to work for fairness in the system, as well as to help our clients acquire the skills & knowledge they need to move forward with licensure & employment.  In addition, our smaller numbers in the Atlantic have inspired innovation and the exploration of new approaches to these complex challenges.

Our presentation will begin by introducing the multi-stakeholder work group project.  This collaborative approach to IQR has broken down siloed thinking and is considered a best practice across the country. There are currently six work groups in healthcare fields, each bringing key stakeholders together on a regular basis to identify critical issues & gaps, develop practical solutions & provide ongoing advice.

Part two of the presentation will focus on ISANS bridging programs to support IEHPs in Nova Scotia & beyond, and both pre & post arrival.  Our “menu of options” approach includes ground-breaking exam preparation programs for pharmacists, physicians and dentists; as well as supports such as employment counselling, practice interviews & the Career Pathways Loan Fund.  Emerging results on national exams suggest this approach to bridging is remarkably effective. Third, we will examine the ISANS communication programs which encompass both language training and workplace culture. The Communications Skills for Internationally Educated Healthcare Professions will be highlighted along with a range of other innovative language programs available in classroom, online and workplace-based formats.  Many of these programs are available both pre & post arrival. Our presentation will be as interactive as possible within the given time constraints, and rather than focus on program detail, we will present our IEHP work over the years under the themes of partnerships and innovation.

 The Nova Scotia Sector Council Model - Connection, Collaboration, Creativity!


English, Pillars 4 & 5, Workplace & Community Integration

Janet Everest, Executive Director Health Care Human Resource Sector Council; Kelsey MacLeod, Industry Sector Coordinator, Workplace Initiatives Division - Employer supports for Skills, Training and HR Solutions,  Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education

Sector councils are industry organizations that address human resource and skills development issues within their respective industry sectors. There are a number of regional and national sector councils, each as unique as the industry sector they serve.

The Nova Scotia Health Care Human Resource Sector Council maintains close ties with health sector stakeholders such as employers, employees, industry organizations, regulatory bodies, educational institutions and government departments and related agencies. These relationships with such a wide base of stakeholders allows the Council on-going access to the expertise, ingenuity and guidance that helps address the human resource issues of the sector. By providing objective focus in occupational and labour market analyses, sustaining collaborative linkages and consulting with employers to understand health human resource challenges, the Council contributes to a viable, well trained health sector workforce through information sharing, training and providing a forum for open discussion between stakeholders.

The Council is a member of the Association of Industry Sector Councils (AISC) which receives funding through the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education (DLAE) Workplace Initiatives Division.

Recognizing the value of the Sector Councils, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, in consultation with the Atlantic Industry Sector Councils, funded the Three Year Sector Council Pilot Project which provided outcome based funding to sector councils and sector council like organizations over the three year period 2012-2015. Upon completion of the project, the Department of Labour and Advanced Education undertook a review of the program.

This presentation will:

  1. Provide an overview of the sector council model in Nova Scotia
  2. Discuss the Three Year Sector Council Pilot Review findings and next steps for the program
  3. Provide examples of the activities of the Health Care Human Resource Sector Council in Nova Scotia and how the Council contributes to a viable, competent workforce within the Nova Scotia Health sector.

Solutions and Strategies:  Integrating and Retaining IEHPs in Communities and Workplaces


English, Pillars 4 & 5, Workplace & Community Integration

Melanie Bailey, Carrie MacLean, PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEI ANC)

The PEI ANC, Internationally Educated Health Professional (IEHP) Project was designed to help integrate and retain IEHP’s.  A successful pilot, funded by the Atlantic Population Table in 2010 led to the continuation of this work from 2011-2016, it is funded by Health Canada and overseen by the Atlantic Connection Steering Committee.

While many move to Atlantic Canada for attributes a larger city can’t offer, the process of integration and a true sense of belonging elude many for years. This has contributed to the loss of many good IEHPs and newcomers. Statistics will tell you that communities and workplaces across the Atlantic rely on immigration for population and economic growth.  Employers will tell you that IEHPs are needed to fill shortages in our health system. IEHPs do come and they do enrich workplaces with their ideas and talent, but many do not stay.

Retention challenges have plagued PEI. The loss of just one or two Physicians has brought rural communities and specialty services to a standstill, these communities and affected service providers will tell you that they absolutely need to retain IEHPs and they will absolutely do whatever is needed for improved attraction and retention. This is the backdrop under which a movement for increased IEHP attraction, integration and retention was possible. Six years later, this movement has spread across PEI. We will share solutions and strategies with you today, in the work of better settling, integrating and retaining your IEHPs.

A shared desire to see IEHPs and newcomers established in PEI communities has helped the PEI ANC, communities, and workplaces work in partnership on new initiatives (Retention Committees, Municipally-based Services, Navigators, Community Events, Welcome Receptions, Welcome Packages, and Orientations). We have seen first-hand the power of working together to create communities and workplaces that are more welcoming, inclusive, and supportive.

A focus on IEHP retention can reverse trends, improve retention rates, and create wide-spread collaboration and commitment. In doing this, the PEI ANC works with hundreds of people and organizations across PEI.  Together we have begun to take ownership over our immigration story and impact the lives of IEHPs across PEI.  Join us to find out how you can see improved integration and retention of IEHPs in your community and workplace as well.