MISC Brown Bag series: Medicare and Migration

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 12:00to13:00
Arts Building Arts 160, 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 0G5, CA

The MISC Brown Bag series is back! Bring your lunch and join us for a relaxed talk given by Professor David Wright on Medicare and Migration: The complicated history of foreign-trained doctors and nurses in Canada.

Hot drinks and snacks will be served. No registration necessary.

Abstract: 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”.

David Wright is Professor of History and Canada Research Chair in the History of Health Policy at McGill University. A specialist in the social history of modern health and medicine, he has published several books on the history of psychiatry, children’s health and disability, the development of hospitals, and, more recently, the history of Canadian Medicare. His most recent book (with Sasha Mullally), Foreign Practices: Immigrant Doctors and the History of Canadian Medicare, was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, in 2020.

Back to top