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Educating Health Workers: A Statistical Portrait

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Mary K. Allen, Rita Ceolin, Sylvie Ouellette, Johanne Plante and Chantal Vaillancourt

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There has been much talk recently about looming shortages in Canada's supply of individuals working in health occupations. To understand the degree to which the supply of workers in health occupations is meeting (and will meet) the health needs of Canadians, Health Canada—through the Advisory Committee on Health Delivery and Human Resources (ACHDHR)—contracted the Centre for Education Statistics at Statistics Canada to study the relationship between education and training and the supply of entrants into health occupations.

Using major Statistics Canada data sources related to the education and training of Canadians, the intent of this report is to present available information that can address some of the questions identified during the Health Human Resources and Education (HHRE) nation-wide consultation held in 2005 (see Allen et. al. 2006). As such, this report reveals some important information about what happens before, during and after health education. It focuses on interest in health occupations, the characteristics of students and faculty in postsecondary health programs, the labour market experiences of recent graduates from these programs, as well as the ongoing participation of health workers in formal and informal training.

As a starting point in understanding the flow of individuals into and through health education programs, it is important to learn more about the size and nature of the population of individuals who are interested in health occupations.

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