The Province is providing $680,000 for a new program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) that provides a pathway for internationally educated midwives to become fully licensed to practise in British Columbia.
“Midwives are an important part of the health-care system and offer families more choices when it comes to having a baby,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson.
“The new program at UBC gives internationally educated midwives a clearly defined pathway to practise in British Columbia.”
The internationally educated midwives program at UBC will accept eight first-year students per year starting in January 2016.
The program will pilot in spring 2015 with four students. Applicants will be individually assessed, and the program will be tailored for each student, recognizing midwifery qualifications and experience gained abroad.
Upon successful completion of the program students will be eligible to take the Canadian Midwifery Registration Examination in order to apply for licensure by the College of Midwives of British Columbia.
“This funding reflects government’s commitment to midwives and the work they do to support families in managing pregnancies, deliveries and postpartum care,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.
“Today’s announcement will also help ensure patients have access to the care they need and choice in accessing the type of care provider that works best for them.”
“This program, combined with the doubling of enrolment in our four-year bachelor’s program, will help UBC fill the province’s growing needs for qualified midwives by providing an additional pathway to licensure,” said Michelle Butler, director of the UBC midwifery program.
“This pathway also will help diversify the profession, bringing in individuals with cultural backgrounds that reflect B.C.’s immigrant and second-generation communities.”
The internationally educated midwives program complements UBC’s four-year midwifery undergraduate degree program. In 2012, the Province provided $2.7 million to double the number of first-year student places in the degree program from 10 to 20.
“Enabling internationally educated midwives to practice in B.C. will help meet the growing demand for midwifery services,” said Ganga Jolicoeur, executive director of the Midwives Association of British Columbia.
“This new program will provide women and families with greater choice and access to quality maternity-care services in urban and rural communities throughout B.C.”
Midwifery services are fully covered under the B.C. Medical Services plan, and are available in every region of the province. In 2013-14, midwives assisted in more than 8,600 or 18% of births in British Columbia.