COU Statement: Expanding Medical School and Residency Positions

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COU Statement: Expanding Medical School and Residency Positions

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TORONTO, March 15, 2022 – “Ontario’s universities applaud the Ontario government’s critical investment in medical school and residency positions over the next five years.

The increase in new positions will help ensure Ontario’s health-care system has the highly skilled health-care workforce it needs to rebuild, address backlogs and deliver high-quality care to all Ontarians.

We thank the government for taking this step towards building on the province’s high-quality talent. It is now vital that we – postsecondary institutions, health-care stakeholders and government – continue to work together for the health care of all Ontarians.

In addition to the urgent call for more doctors in hospitals, long-term care homes, clinics and health organizations across Ontario, our province needs a strong health human resources pipeline that covers the broad spectrum of health and health-care delivery, including doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and more.

It is a need that has been echoed across sectors within the health-care system – from patients, employers and businesses to regulatory bodies, municipalities, communities and postsecondary institutions.

Ontario’s universities have a vital role to play in helping ensure Ontario has high-quality health-care talent. A recent report, Ontario Future Labour Force Needs, conducted by Stokes Economics found that, between now and 2030, Ontario will see nearly 148,000 job openings in health care that require a university degree.

A growing number of future health-care workers have been moved by the experiences of the pandemic and stand ready to help fill these gaps. Applications data for Ontario universities indicates that Ontario secondary school applications have increased by more than 33 per cent in health professions and related programs over the last two years.

Government investment in medical schools and residency positions will ensure students have the opportunities to study and work within Ontario’s health-care system, delivering high-quality, patient-centred care to Ontarians.

Projected labour market shortages and increases in student enrolment extend beyond health-care. Stokes Economics is projecting a total of 928,700 job openings that require a university degree over the next 10 years, while universities continue to see rising enrolment in high-demand programs, such as a 52-per-cent increase in STEM programs over the last decade.

In order to meet this growing demand and ensure Ontario has the highly skilled workforce it needs to help rebuild Ontario, universities have the capacity to add more than 53,500 new funded spaces in high-demand programs over the next five years, beginning this fall. This includes more than 18,000 new funded spaces in health care and nearly 25,000 in STEM programs.

By building on the province’s high-quality talent, Ontario will be better positioned to respond to the changing needs of the job market with the adaptable and resilient workforce it needs.”

– Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities