Filipino Nurses in Canada Vulnerable to Exploitation, Misleading and Abusive Policies

By Jhong de la Cruz –
When the United States shut its door to foreign nurses in 2008, many turned to Canada. Also a First World country with a large number of nurses due to retire soon, Canada is now fast becoming a leading destination for foreign nurses, particularly Filipino nurses.

The Philippines is known as the world’s leading exporter of nurses. The trend began in 1960s when its government minted a labor-export policy to help keep its economy afloat. It resulted in its own healthcare system suffering a “national haemorrhage” as more health professionals leave in droves for “greener pastures.”

But the Filipino nurses who migrated to countries with a shortage of nurse, such as Canada, are also being exposed to exploitation, misleading integration programs and policy changes.

Some 240,000 immigrants are entering Canada every year since 1992, said a study on internationally educated nurse published by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) in 2005. It cited the Philippines as one of Canada’s top five sources of immigrants.

Another study on global migration in 2003 reported that Philippine-trained nurses comprised the largest group of internationally educated nurses in primary “receiving” countries such as Canada. Mostly women, they have been entering Canada through its Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Regulators suggested that many of the LCP applicants were educated as nurses but came to Canada hoping to be licensed as nurses when they complete their LCP obligations, the report said.


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