Global certification of pros

In times where countries move away from fully independent nations to a global integrated world, we are still hampered by a weird phenomenon: ‘The lack of recognition of foreign degrees’. This shortage decelerates the development of our society, the fight against global poverty, the improvement of our health care and education systems and I can go on for quite a while.

Take the nurse, trained and certified in Canada, who wants to emigrate to Europe. Is he/she allowed to work there as a nurse? The answer is: not right away. That nurse has to go through a rigorous re-education program, go through a number of exams and be re-certified before he/she can get to work. Is the human body in Europe different from the Canadian human body? There will be a smartnose pointing out it all has to do with insurances.

Take the seasoned Canadian commercial pilot, trained and certified in Canada who wants to take up a new flying job within the European Union. Can he do so? Well, he is allowed to fly his Canadian registered Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Vancouver to Amsterdam with 250 Canadian and European passengers on board. He is allowed to land in Amsterdam, take fresh passengers on board and fly back from Amsterdam to Vancouver, all without any problems or restrictions. That same Canadian pilot is not allowed to join Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) just like that and start flying the same type of aircraft but registered in The Netherlands. First he has to pass 14 theory exams and fly in simulators to prove he is a pilot. Is the Dutch registered B787 suddenly a different airplane than the Canadian B787? Is an ILS landing in Amsterdam or Rome different from an ILS landing in Calgary or Toronto?

This non-recognition of foreign degrees and certificates is old fashioned, outdated, does not fit is a global world and leads to unnecessary waste of time, budget and opportunities. I do understand that the qualities of education in the more than 200 countries around the world is not on one and the same level everywhere. But it is time that the world, starting with the G7, puts in place a uniform system that degrees and certifications are interchangeable between member states.

Canada has in this context an immense opportunity, which we can only pursue if we want to. The answer is CANZUK. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK are very similar countries, we speak the same language, we have very similar history, our justice systems are very comparable and our education and health systems are of equal quality. Putting CANZUK in place, would open unlimited opportunities for the exchange of knowledge, people, goods and jobs, all four members would benefit and the world would see a new pact to help with balancing global stability between the USA, Russia, China, the Middle East and the Far East. The opportunity is there for our PM Justin Trudeau to grab and pursue.

And to close my today’s plea for international standardization on degrees and certifications I would like to respond to a letter by Mr. J. late June 2021. He is concerned about me not being registered in BC as an engineer. Well I can reassure him that I am one of the fortunate Canadians who was privileged to study aerospace/mechanical engineering in the Netherlands and that I have worked as an engineer in the Netherlands, in Germany, in Italy, in the UK, in Nigeria and in the Kingdoms of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. My degree is recognized in these countries and this can be checked at the Ministries of Labor in those countries, however not in the registers of BC. With this I am back to the beginning of my today’s letter: “Standardization is Communication”.

Ronald Ratgers, Kelowna, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineer (retired)

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