An international workforce, Nurses bring new cultures to the prairies

Canada and the prairie provinces have experienced regular shortages of Registered Nurses and have often recruited internationally for nurses.  These recruitment efforts have contributed quite considerably to the multicultural nature of our country and of the health work force.

During the 1950s and 1960s a large number of nurses came to Canada from the Caribbean, from Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada and other countries. The nurses found a welcoming environment in the Canadian health system.

Many Caribbean nurses also went to the United Kingdom, which actually sent a good number of nurses to Canada as well.  After the war Canada recruited many British nurses. The international nature of the nursing workforce means that nurses from the British Isles still move here to this day to pursue their careers.

In the 1960s and the 1970s – and up until the present – Canada has welcomed a large number of nurses from the Philippines. Prior to the 1960s, there were fewer than 200 Filipino immigrants living in Canada. By 1973, the Philippines had become the seventh largest source country of immigration overall. Many of the Filipinos who immigrated to Canada during this period came as doctors and nurses. Filipino nurses also migrated in large numbers to the United States, so much so that there have been complaints about the exodus within the Philippines’ health system.

The influx of nurses from other countries has contributed greatly to a multiethnic workforce in the Canadian health care system.