January 19, 2024

How Alberta’s Healthcare Reform Impacts Newcomers

As you begin your exciting new life in Alberta, the last thing you should worry about is your healthcare.  Alberta's healthcare system, known as Alberta Health Services (AHS), is a publicly funded system that provides a wide range of medical services to all Albertans, including newcomers. With recent changes aimed at improving access to care, reducing wait times, and enhancing patient outcomes, the healthcare landscape is evolving to better serve newcomers like you. With this guide, we'll examine Alberta's recent changes to its healthcare delivery system and how they affect newcomers.

Understanding the Changes

The existing Alberta Health Services (AHS) system will be divided into four distinct entities, each focusing on a specific area of healthcare:

  1. Primary Care: Encompassing family physicians, nurse practitioners, and community health centers, this entity will be responsible for providing routine and preventive care.
  2. Acute Care: This entity will manage hospitals and emergency services, ensuring timely access to critical care.
  3. Continuing Care: This entity will oversee long-term care facilities and rehabilitation services, catering to individuals with ongoing healthcare needs.
  4. Mental Health/Addiction Care: Dedicated to providing specialized support for individuals struggling with mental health challenges and substance use disorders.

Impact on Newcomers

As a major destination for newcomers to Canada, Alberta welcomes thousands of immigrants each year. The anticipated changes to healthcare delivery are expected to impact newcomers in a variety of ways, both direct and indirect.

Direct Impact: Smoother Access to Healthcare

One of the primary goals of the healthcare reform is to improve access to care for all Albertans, including newcomers. The decentralized model is expected to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and streamline the process of accessing healthcare services, making it easier for newcomers to navigate the system.

With a more decentralized approach, newcomers can expect to:

  1. Experience shorter wait times for appointments and procedures
  2. Enjoy easier access to specialized care and treatment options
  3. Benefit from improved communication and coordination between healthcare providers

Indirect Impact: Expanding Employment Prospects in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is a major employer in Alberta, and the ongoing expansion of healthcare services is expected to create numerous job opportunities. This presents a promising prospect for newcomers with healthcare-related skills and experience, who may find it easier to secure employment in the province.

According to the Alberta government's Healthcare Action Plan, the province aims to:

  1. Increase the number of healthcare professionals by 20% by 2027
  2. Attract and retain more healthcare workers through improved compensation and benefits packages
  3. Invest in training and development programs for healthcare professionals

Healthcare Expertise in Category-Based Express Entry Draws

Canada's immigration department has implemented category-based Express Entry draws, which prioritize the selection of immigration candidates based on specific proficiencies and past work experience. The inclusion of healthcare occupations in the 2023 list of designated categories indicates a growing demand for skilled healthcare workers in Canada.

Newcomers with healthcare qualifications and experience can benefit from the category-based Express Entry system by:

  1. Receiving higher CRS scores under the Express Entry system
  2. Securing faster processing times for their immigration applications
  3. Enjoying increased opportunities to find employment in their field of expertise

Alberta's Population Growth: A Driving Force for Healthcare Reform

Alberta has experienced significant population growth in recent years, with much of this growth attributable to international migration. In 2022, Alberta welcomed nearly 50,000 new permanent residents (PRs), making it the fourth-largest immigrant destination in Canada.

This influx of new residents has contributed to the province's economic development and has created a more diverse and vibrant society. However, it has also placed additional strain on the healthcare system, necessitating the need for reform and modernization.

Pathways to Immigrating to Alberta: A Welcoming Province

Alberta offers a variety of immigration pathways for foreign nationals, including temporary foreign workers, international students, and entrepreneurs. The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) is the province's Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), providing a range of streams for workers and entrepreneurs.

  1. Alberta Opportunity Stream: This stream is designed for skilled workers who are already working in an eligible occupation in Alberta and who have a job offer from an Alberta employer.
  2. Rural Renewal Stream: This stream targets individuals with an existing Alberta-based job offer for work in a rural Alberta community.
  3. Graduate Entrepreneur Stream: This stream is intended for international graduates of a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta who wish to start a business in the province.
  4. Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream: This stream is designed for foreign nationals who graduated from an institution outside Canada and want to start a business in Alberta.

Your Gateway to Alberta's Healthcare: Pelican Migration Consultants

As you begin your journey to migrate to Canada and establish a new life in Alberta, understanding the evolving healthcare landscape is crucial. Pelican Migration Consultants is your trusted partner, providing comprehensive guidance and support to ensure you have access to the information and resources you need to navigate the healthcare system effectively.

Our team of experienced immigration consultants in Dubai possesses in-depth knowledge of Alberta's healthcare system and the recent changes. We are committed to empowering newcomers to make informed decisions about their healthcare and ensuring they receive the care they deserve.

At Pelican Migration Consultants, we recognize that migrating to Canada and navigating a new healthcare system can be overwhelming. We are here to alleviate your concerns and provide personalized support throughout your journey. Whether you have questions about the changes, need assistance accessing services, or are seeking employment opportunities in the healthcare industry, our team is here to guide you every step of the way.