© Brian McInnis - The Guardian
Mayor Clifford Lea, left, welcomes Doctor Stuart MacKinnon and his wife Melissa during a reception at City Hall today. Co-hosted by the city and the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada, the event sent invitations to 11 new doctors who have moved to the greater Charlottetown area this year. The hope is they will stay for the duration of their career, said organizers.
A gala reception was held at Charlotteotwn City Hall Tuesday, welcoming 11 new doctors to the province, just the kind of immigration the Island needs, said the Mayor.
They are working physicians, not students, ranging from family physicians, emergency-room doctors, neurologists and psychiatrists who have, since July, all agreed to set up practice here on P.E.I.
In fact, two of the doctors could not attend as they were on call, and one was paged away just prior to the start of the event.
The reception is designed to welcome the doctors and support their stay here on the Island, said co-hosts P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada and the City of Charlottetown.
Prince Edward Island needs to attract new residents from other parts of Canada and from other countries, said Mayor Clifford Lee.
"Twenty years from now, the experts are telling us that this province will not have enough people in the workforce to sustain the province," said Lee.
The birth rate on P.E.I. is not matching the expected retirement of all workers, from labourers to trades, to professionals in 20 years, he said.
Lee relished the opportunity to welcome the 11 new doctors on this occasion.
"These young doctors are looking to go to some place where the equipment and the facilities are top notch and I think the QEH is that," said Lee.
"I think there are looking for a place to go where they can begin to raise a family," he said.
Charlottetown has a low crime rate and lower-end type of crime compared to larger cities in Canada, said Lee.
Professionals choosing to live here need to feel welcome in order to stay, he said.
"They really need to be involved and immersed in the community to want to stay long term," he said.
"We have several of the doctors who are newcomers to Canada," said Craig Mackie Executive Director of the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada.
That makes the doctors clients of the association, said Mackie, so it has hosted similar doctor receptions in Summerside and in Kings county.
"We thought it is a good opportunity to team up with the city and help host a reception for new physicians and not just focus so much on the fact that they are newcomers to Canada, but that they are all newcomers to Prince Edward Island.
"This is a welcoming community for physicians," said Doctor Nichole Murphy in family practice at the Parkdale Medical Centre in Charlottetown.
There is a busy social schedule for the new doctors, with other engagements planned, including a welcome breakfast for new doctors at the QEH.
"I am happy to come here and settle down and place my roots here," she said. "For the most part, the physicians I have talked to have all either relocated their families or came here and bought homes will full intentions to stay.
"It was a smooth transition for me," said Murphy. "Every province has health care politics but I don't think it was any different here than in Nova Scotia, where I came from.
"My transition from training to practice was very smooth."