Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending an International Credential Recognition town hall meeting, hosted by BC Premier David Eby and Minister of State for Workforce Development, Honourable Andrew Mercier. This was the event I had previously mentioned in last week's Aspectives newsletter. It was heartening to see a significant turnout of ASPECT members and association colleagues at the event.
Amidst a wealth of valuable information, thought-provoking questions, and compelling testimonials from internationally credentialed speakers, I'd like to share three noteworthy highlights:
- In the coming month, we can expect new legislation aimed at dismantling unnecessary obstacles that hinder newcomers from pursuing their chosen professions. The government has recognized this as a matter of social justice and is working diligently to address these issues. They have initiated collaboration with both provincial and national credentialing bodies to expedite this effort, focusing on filling high-demand job positions.
- A new Secretariat role is in the works to oversee the credentialing process, ensuring that internationally trained individuals have a say in the process by contributing to certification boards. Although I'm hazy on all the finer details, it appears to be a promising development.
- Minister Mercier reiterated the importance of the ASPECT International Credential Recognition Fund no less than five times during the town hall meeting (yes, I counted). He championed community-based service providers as ideal for this critical work.
The meeting featured poignant stories from attendees, shedding light on the challenges they face. For instance, a dentist from her home country, now employed as a dental assistant, humorously remarked that once her credentials are recognized, she'll be paying dentist provincial taxes instead of dental assistant provincial taxes.
The meeting also delved into issues of access, racism, re-credentialing costs, and the prolonged wait experienced by newcomers and their families for their BC credentials. These concerns are evidently on the government's agenda.
In case you missed its release over the summer, here is a link to the government report that has informed the coming legislation: Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills What We Heard: Public Engagement on International Credential Recognition.
Finally, I had a chance to chat with Premier Eby and told him about ASPECT’s invitation to him to speak at the ASPECT conference. His response that it is “doable” is all I remember from that part of the conversation. I really would like him to meet you and see first-hand the passion and expertise of the people in the room and the sector. Fingers crossed!