Coming to Canada
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Canadians have access to publicly funded comprehensive health care services via ten provincial and three territorial insurance plans that are collectively referred to as
"Medicare." In addition, Health Canada provides services directly to specific groups (e.g. First Nations, Inuit).
The Canada Health Act provides a framework for healthcare delivery. Its main goal is to "to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers."
Health professions, including midwifery, are regulated by authorities in each province and territory, and health professionals are registered in the province or territory in which they work. Inter-provincial mobility agreements help to ensure that health professionals can move to another Canadian province or territory and continue to work in their profession. Registered midwives moving from one province to another apply under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
Under provincial and territorial law, most health professions in Canada are "self-regulating". Self-regulatory authorities called "Colleges" or "Orders" are governed by members of the profession and appointed public members. In some cases, usually when there are small numbers of professionals, professions are regulated by a branch of government. The mandate of all regulatory authorities is to protect the public through setting minimum education and competency requirements, assessing applicants for registration, monitoring and enforcing standards of practice and safe care, and setting guidelines and requirements for continuing competency.
Each member of the Canadian Midwifery Regulators Council is the regulatory authority for midwifery for their province or territory.
Associations of health professionals exist to represent and serve the interests of professional members. These are not-for-profit organizations usually funded through member fees. They often negotiate with governments for funding agreements, offer professional liability insurance, and provide continuing education opportunities and up-to-date professional information. In Canada, professional midwifery associations exist in provinces and territories, and the Canadian Association of Midwives is the national organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery.
Canadian Model of Midwifery
There are some key differences in the way that midwifery is practised in Canada versus the way it is practised in many other parts of the world. All registered midwives in Canada provide continuity of care so that clients and their families have the opportunity to get to know their midwife or midwives well before the baby is born and have a familiar caregiver with them during labour and birth. Midwives in Canada also offer personalized care until at least 6-weeks postpartum. Registered midwives in Canada are autonomous health professionals offering high quality maternity care to clients and their families.
Assessment and Bridging Programs
A number of Canadian provinces offer assessment and bridging programs or prior learning and experience assessment (PLEA) programs. For specific information, internationally educated midwives should contact the regulatory authority in the jurisdiction where they want to work.