International qualifications recognition (IQR) is complex: to tackle IQR challenges effectively, all key stakeholders in a profession need to be at the table. Significant differences across occupations require that multi-stakeholder tables be profession-specific. Collaborating to make systemic change takes time, but once mutual trust and respect is established, a collective vision develops and synergy is created, leading to critical thinking & innovation.
The Multi-stakeholder Work Groups project is a collaborative approach to developing practical and sustainable solutions. The project was initiated by a member of ISANS staff because they recognized that providing employment services is not enough to ensure workforce integration for clients in regulated occupations. Fair and transparent pathways to licensure, and new pathways and competency assessment methods were needed. Unnecessary barriers had to be removed, and programs and supports were needed to provide orientation, address skill or knowledge gaps, and promote effective workforce integration.
Work groups were established in Engineering and Pharmacy in 2005, Medicine in 2006, and Law in 2009, but momentum increased substantially in 2011. At this time, a special project was initiated to support a member of ISANS staff to work within the Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Advanced Education as Consultant, International Labour Mobility. This special project provided dedicated leadership for the work group project.
There are currently thirteen Multi-stakeholder Work Groups that cover the following regulated occupations:
Each work group meets quarterly or as needed and is co-chaired by a high-profile member of the profession, together with the Consultant, International Labour Mobility. While the primary focus is provincial, the groups may include Pan-Canadian representatives and/or representatives from other provinces in the Atlantic region.
Key stakeholders vary amongst professions but generally include:
Members report back to their organizations, and every member is there because they share some responsibility for addressing IQR and experience benefit from membership. The functions of each work group are to: