More than 300 internationally educated health-care professionals have accepted job offers to work in Manitoba.

Our provincial Health Minister provided an update Tuesday afternoon on the results from a recent recruitment mission to the Philippines. Audrey Gordon says last November, her government implemented the Health Human Resource Action Plan to retain, train and recruit 2,000 health-care staff across our province.

As part of the recruitment plan, our provincial government and Shared Health sent a delegation to the Philippines earlier this year. The goal of this delegation was to attract registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and health-care aides.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," says Gordon.

She notes our regional health authorities provided 348 letters of intent to prospective individuals including more than 150 registered nurses, 77 licensed practical nurse equivalents and more than 110 health-care aides. 

"As of today, more than 300 acceptance letters have been received," notes Gordon. "This significantly exceeded our goals and expectations and I look forward to welcoming those health-care professionals into our health system."

Gordon says all health regions in the province will benefit. A breakdown of which communities will be getting these health-care aides has not yet been provided, but according to Labour and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes, these professionals have accepted positions in 31 communities across our province. 

"It is so gratifying to see such a high acceptance rate but it's also humbling to know these health professionals will be making incredible contributions to our health system and to Manitobans for years to come," says Gordon.

According to Reyes, through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, his department is offering a pathway to permanent residency for candidates and their families who receive and accept offers of employment through this initiative. 

Ken Borce is Chief of Clinical Operations with CancerCare Manitoba. He says the requirements necessary for roles within Manitoba's health-care system included the fact these candidates needed to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, a minimum of two years of experience in acute care or care of the elderly and a preference for candidates who already had fulfilled their necessary English language proficiency requirements. 

"Our government is committed to healing our health-care system and building our health human resource capacity so that more patients have access to the care they need," says Gordon.

She notes candidates who have accepted an offer have begun immigration and licensing processes and are expected to complete specific requirements in the coming months to allow for employment in Manitoba's health-care system. Individuals are expected to begin arriving in Manitoba as early as late this summer, with arrivals increasing in fall.

"The connections between Manitoba's local Filipino community and those who remain in the Philippines cannot be overstated," adds Reyes. "Manitoba is known as an extremely welcoming and friendly province, a place where dreams and success can be achieved through determination and hard work, and a community where the contributions of health-care workers are valued. We look forward to giving them a warm welcome when they arrive in our province."

Gordon says the Manitoba government has provided $100,000 in funding for a group of University of Manitoba nursing faculty assessors to travel to Manila to complete in-person clinical competency assessments in early July. More than 20 internationally educated nurses have confirmed participation and will be assessed for nursing knowledge and practice during this session.