Canada looking to attract dental professionals from overseas

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Dental assistants and lab workers added to Canada’s skilled worker immigration programme

Dental assistants are in hot demand in Canada and the country is hoping that the addition of the occupation to its Federal Skilled Worker programme will help to attract applicants from overseas. (Image: iVazoUSky/Shutterstock)

OTTAWA, Canada: The occupations dental assistant and dental laboratory assistant have been added to Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) programme, making it easier for qualified dental professionals to move to the country and for dentists in Canada to recruit staff members internationally.

Immigration Canada announced the change in a press release, stating that it had been necessary in order to address a shortage of dental hygienists and dental assistants, two professions that were in “hot demand” in the country.

According to Dr Brian Barrett, executive director of the Dental Association of Prince Edward Island, the shortage of dental assistants is acute and growing. He commented in the press release: “The only way is to train a great many more [dental hygienists and assistants] and, as it can’t be done very quickly, the problem will be here for several years. The average age is also increasing, so more are also retiring, so no fast fix is going to occur.”

The press release said that, in mid-January, there were 1,491 vacancies listed in Canada for dental assistants and that the median salary for dental assistants in the country is currently C$48,223 (€33,236).

A total of 16 new jobs were added to the FSW list in November last year. The FSW programme offers applicants access to Canada’s Express Entry immigration system, and it includes 370 eligible occupations. The occupation of dentist was already on the list, as were the occupations of denturist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, dental technologist and dental technician.

Other healthcare jobs that were added to the list of eligible occupations included nurse aide, pharmacy technical assistant, orderly and aesthetician. More information about the FSW programme can be found on the Canadian government’s website.

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