Filipino Nurses in Canada: In Search of a Better Life

As what one elected Member of Parliament once told Pinay during a dialogue, there is no single capitalist country in the world that crafts and implements immigration laws with humanitarian intentions — they only craft and implement immigration laws with a profit motive. The objective of this bridge program is to maintain the systemic exploitation of foreign-trained nurses as cheap labor, making it a profit-driven scheme. This bridge program is also one effect of the LCP. Foreign-trained nurses come to Canada to work in as live-in caregivers, and they lose their skills as nurses after approximately four to five years. The policy of a province’s professional regulating body requires a nurse to go back to nursing school for retraining after more than three years of being inactive. To encourage them to undergo raining under an LPN program is cheaper for the government to subsidize, and it means a lower salary even for one who has almost the same, if not more, skills than a degree-holding, Canadian-trained nurse. The role of Canadian- or European-trained nurses is to fill up the administrative aspect in the healthcare system. In the near future, Canadian nurses holding degrees in nursing will also be utilized as LPN because the professional regulating body has been planning to abolish this program for years now. Since 2004, there has been a wide gap in salary between a newly-graduated nurse and a diploma holder who has the same job function. And only degree holder nurses can fill up administrative functions even if diploma-holding nurses also take the same licensure exams.

In Quebec, there is a program available to foreign-trained nurses where they undergo a six-month intensive nursing training program. Upon completion, they can take the licensure examination and can work as RNs with temporary license for a period of three years, but they are classified as diploma holders even if they have degrees from the Philippines. Their pay is lower than that of RNs working with permanent licenses. They are given three-year temporary licenses because they need to pass a government French-language examination within that three-year period. One more downside of this training is that they only get hired in geriatric settings and not in general hospitals or specialized institutions. Their reasoning behind this is that the Philippines only has 10 years of basic education. In Canada the number of years from elementary to high school studies is 12-13 years, depending on which province one you take your education.

How do you foresee the future for foreign nurses wanting to work in Canada?

Foreign-trained nurses wanting to work in Canada in the future will have a very limited opportunity to work as nurses unless they go back to university to take nursing degrees. And this opportunity is going to be narrower because there is a plan to increase the tuition in universities, which will “liberate” the government from subsidizing education. This is globalization in action. (

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  1. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every
    day. It will always be useful to read articles
    from other writers and use something from other sites.

  2. gud am sir/madam

    my mother work in quezon institute as a nurse for 30 years. she gave her loyalty to this hospital. the philippine tuberculosis society gave her a service award for working to qi for 30 years. and now she passed away last march 8 and now she was buried in holy cross in novaliches last march 12. i just want to ask if you could help me to contact some of her co-worker to let them know that my mama is already gone. the last time that i went there is that my friend is applying for a nursing position and the head of the said hospital knew my mom. my mother's name was ALICIA A. LUKBAN. she died cause of nosocomial pnuemonia, gi track bleeding and sepsis. kindly help me sir/madam i just want them to come on my mother's 40 days. i will inform you ahead of time to give you the details. kindly email me. thank you very much. MARIA BEATA LUKBAN-PARAS


  3. Hello,

    I try reading your newspaper online as often as possible and I am surprised by the quantity of negatives stories you publish. I am an immigrant to this country married to a Filipina and I do not hear my wife complaining about how she is treated in Canada. Maybe you should try talking to more people and find out why they like living here and how happy they are instead of only publishing stories from the few unhappy ones who write to you.

    Thank you for your attention,


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