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Ottawa to give foreign-trained nurses help getting credentials recognized

Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney answers questions from the media following a speech he made at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Oct. 8, 2013.

DEBORAH BAIC/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The federal government is trying to make it easier for foreign-trained nurses to have their credentials recognized by governing bodies.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced Thursday the government is giving $4-million to projects to speed up credential recognition in Canada.

"We have too many foreign-trained nurses coming to Canada who end up working as hotel maids and too many foreign-trained physicians who end up driving cabs," Kenney said Thursday at a training facility at Edmonton's NorQuest College.

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In some instances, the project will allow foreign-trained nurses to start their assessment process before they even get to Canada, he said.

However everyone won't get a free pass, but if they qualify they'll be in, and if they don't make the cut, they'll be told so they can either upgrade, or move on to something else, Kenney said.

"If they run into a wall, guess what – they go and start a small business and a lot of those small businesses become big businesses."

Kenney sees this expanding. There are 45 accrediting bodies for nurses, doctors, dentists, vets, lawyers, engineers and others in the 10 provinces, but until now they haven't agreed on credentials.

"The New West Partnership in the three westernmost provinces is a good example of provinces working together," Kenney said.

"The four Atlantic provinces are doing the same thing. The biggest problem we have are the two big central Canadian provinces. They tend to have policies that the least friendly to labour mobility and harmonization."

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