U.S. Attracting Thousands of Canadian Health Workers

  • States along the Canada/U.S. border have issued nursing and doctors licenses to nearly 10,000 staff with Canadian addresses
  • 2,550 Canadian nurses had their credentials confirmed in U.S. in 2022 alone

REGINA, SK: SecondStreet.org released new research today that shows states along the Canada/U.S. border have issued nearly 10,000 licenses to nurses and doctors with Canadian mailing addresses. Data suggests many of these workers are commuting regularly to work in nearby states, while some are likely moving to, or considering a move to the U.S.

SecondStreet.org obtained the data from state licensing bodies along the border. Data was also obtained from a national body that confirms credentials for foreign nurses who want to work in the U.S. 

“There’s a big opportunity for government-run hospitals to improve and convince some of these health care staff to work in Canada instead of commuting to the U.S. or moving there altogether,” said SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. “However, there’s also a big opportunity for new private clinics in Canada to recruit some of these workers and provide the compensation and working arrangements that government-run hospitals in Canada don’t offer.” 

Highlights from the research paper include:

  • States along the Canada/U.S. border have issued licenses to 8,909 nurses and 879 doctors (who have Canadian mailing addresses) for a total of 9,788 workers. It is unclear how many actually commute to the U.S. for work, but prior research into Canadian nurses working in Michigan found 63% of licensees commute for work. 
  • The totals above are underreported, as data was unavailable for North Dakota, Minnesota and New Hampshire, while Washington State only had data for nurses. 
  • Border states had issued the most licenses to doctors and nurses with mailing addresses in Ontario (6,655), British Columbia (901), Alberta (851) and Quebec (510). Even if these workers do not work in the U.S., it’s clear they’ve shown a strong interest in leaving Canada’s health care system.   
  • Strictly looking at nurses, SecondStreet.org obtained data that showed in 2022 alone, 2,550 Canadian nurses applied to have their credentials approved to work in the U.S. (any state).

“Canada’s health care system is failing for many reasons and a staff shortage is one of them. It’s clear that we need to find ways to keep more doctors and nurses within our borders,” added co-author Dom Lucyk. “Some staff are leaving for money, but many others are leaving because of poor working conditions in Canada and the availability of full-time jobs with stable schedules in the United States.”

To view Policy Brief: Thousands of Health Care Workers Leaving Canadian Systemclick here.

Data responses (organized by state):

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