Mutual Recognition Agreements for Foreign-Trained Professionals. Lessons and Challenges for Regulation from the France-Quebec Experience.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Jean-Luc BEDARD, TÉLUQ - Université du Québec, Canada
Differences between regulatory professional systems are increasingly examined, notably through implementation of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs). MRAs between France and Quebec illustrate many challenges facing global professional mobility. The differences between professional practice contexts need to be carefully described and understood not only by regulatory bodies, but other actors intervening in the professional systems. Quebec’s professional system as a whole has evolved a lot since its elaboration in the 1970s. There is a trend, attested elsewhere (Freidson, 2005; Champy, 2012; Evetts, 2011) towards more control of professional regulating bodies. This movement can be described as a shift from autonomy to hybrid regulation (Noordegraaf, 2007), presenting opportunities and challenges for professionalism (Evetts, 2011), resulting from external and internal pressures. In the case of MRAs designed to facilitate professional mobility between France and Quebec, analysis of their evolution shows the importance of political actors’ (governments) input on conception, implementation and adjustments following the first cohorts. Furthermore, institutional actors (regulating bodies, professional associations, etc.) came to play a progressively important role, only after the conception phase. This presentation will focus on 3 contrasted examples: lawyers, nurses and pharmacists. Analysis covers an evolution occurring between 2008 and 2015, from conception and negotiation to actual agreement between governments and regulating bodies, implementation and adjustments following empirical experiences of entry into professional practice in Quebec. Analysis also includes comparison of economic climate and job markets between France and Quebec during this period, and characteristics of niches invested by French professionals in their new country’s job market. An overview of perception by actors of the professional system complements the analysis and allows for a comprehensive overview of main issues and lessons that can be drawn from this ongoing experiment.