[Public Lecture] David Wright, "Medicare and Migration -- The Complicated History of Foreign-Trained Doctors and Nurses in Canada"
Journalists and policy experts have recently asserted that Canadian Medicare is in an “unprecedented” crisis, one that can only be resolved by the licensing of thousands of foreign-trained health care practitioners. Indeed, the Conservative Party of Canada, which polls suggest is increasingly likely to form the next federal government, has recently unveiled a “Blue Seal” proposal to fast-track the licensing of foreign-trained doctors and nurses. The goal is to address, or even to eliminate, the nearly six million Canadians who report not having a primary care practitioner. Although this initiative has been framed as a necessary measure to alleviate a recent phenomenon, this talk will argue exactly the opposite: that Medicare in Canada was conceived and sustained over the last 50 years by the backfilling of underserviced areas and specialties through the licensing of foreign-trained (and largely foreign-born) practitioners. This presentation examines the history of Medicare, demonstrating how the keystone of Canadian welfare state nationalism was built and sustained by health care practitioners who “came from away”.