HFO Radius: Issue 8, March 2012: Internationally Educated Health Professionals

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HFO Radius logoBackground

Immigration and internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) have always played an important role in building Canadian society and its health care system. The number of physicians in practice who are international medical graduates (IMGs) has been consistently tracked for a number of years. Using Ontario’s Health Professions Database (HPDB), we are much more capable of providing consistent and comparable evidence for other regulated IEHPs.

HPDB data does not address some of the broader immigration, licensing and regulatory issues, but it does allow for a timely and consistent comparison of the demographic, educational and employment characteristics of over 20 regulated health professions:

Participating Regulated Health Professions

Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

Dental Technologists

Massage Therapists





Medical Laboratory Technologists

Occupational Therapists




Medical Radiation Technologists



Dental Hygienists




Respiratory Therapists

 The Data:

The latest available HPDB data, collected in collaboration with regulatory Colleges, represents a ‘point in time snapshot’as of December 31st, 2010. There were over 230,000 actively registered members (excluding educational members) in the 2010 data submission, which included nurses for the first time. 5.3% of members did not report the location of education in their profession.

 practice status
 full time part time casual

Key Findings:

  • 8.9% of all active members reported receiving their initial education in the profession outside of Canada or the United States.
  • Of these IEHPs, 18.2% are aged 60+, versus 10.5% of Canadian educated health professionals (CEHPs).
  • IEHPs are highly experienced, with 50.1% reporting their first year of practice in the profession as before 1990. 37.8% of CEHPs report initially practicing in the profession prior to 1990.
  • Fewer IEHPs reported working in their profession in some capacity at 86.5% versus 88.7% of CEHPs. However, there was a higher unknown rate for IEHPs at 2.8% vs. 1.0% for CEHPs.
  • 2.5% of IEHPs were actively seeking work in their profession, versus 2.0% of CEHPs.
  • IEHPs reported a higher percentage working in full-time positions at 60.2% (first practice site), versus 55.0% for CEHPs.
  • A higher percentage of CEHPs report their employment as permanent at 70.1%, versus 67.9% for IEHPs.
  • The HPDB includes information regarding the ‘Primary Role’ of each professional (e.g. service provider, manager, educator, administrator, consultant, etc.). Both groups reported ‘Service Provider’ as their primary role most often (76.6% IEHPs vs. 74.8% CEHPs). More CEHPs reported their primary role as owner/operators (2.3% vs. 0.8%), managers (3.1% vs. 1.9%), and instructors (2.3% vs. 1.1%).


The 2010 HPDB Stat Book is currently in development and will be publicly available in spring 2012. The 2009 HPDB Stat Book is available at: http://www.healthforceontario.ca/WhatIsHFO/evidence_hhr/hpdb.aspx

Source: HFO Radius