The number of Canadian nurses getting the paperwork required to work in the United States has more than doubled to almost 1,700 in the last five years, contributing to a staffing shortage that is a major factor behind closed emergency rooms and hospital wards, according to numbers obtained by CTV News Investigates.
More nurses, frustrated with a legislated wage cap in Ontario, are being lured to facilities in the U.S. with higher wages, perks and bonuses that some say they can’t get at home, with many getting snapped up in an international competition for health-care workers that are comparatively scarce because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even the full-time permanent roles are paying a good $15-$20 more than what you would make in Canada, and then the sign-on bonuses, $10,000, $20,000, assistance with housing and relocation — all of that is typically part of the package,” said Samantha White with Intellistaff, a Toronto recruitment firm.
White said she has seen a major increase in Ontario nurses looking to move south in the last two years, especially since the passing of Bill 124, a law that limits wage growth in the public sector to one per cent a year for three years.
“It’s a lot more lucrative than it is up here in Canada, specifically Ontario, where you’ve seen the rates not go up because of Bill 124,” White said. “It’s definitely been rising over the last two years for sure.”
NURSES CITE STRESS, PAY AS A REASON FOR LEAVING
A part of this exodus is Emily Pyke, an ER nurse in Toronto, en route to Florida after what she described as a year of stressful shifts and unsafe patient ratios, caring for as many as six patients at one time.
Pyke says she’s emotionally drained and worried about being put in a position where a patient could have a negative outcome.
“As a nurse, you go into the profession, you want to help people. You want to make a difference and sometimes you feel like with such lack of resources and everything, you’re not able to do your job the way you want to even though everyday you’re trying 110 per cent,” she said.
“With cost of living, all of that, it’s impossible to continue to work with such a wage,” Pyke said.
ER Nurse Emily Pyke speaks to CTV News Toronto Investigates about Ontario’s nursing shortage.
Damilola Ola-Adigun, a NICU nurse who previously worked in Toronto, told CTV News she now works in Syracuse, New York.
Ola-Adigun said she didn’t realize how strained Ontario’s health care was until she worked in the U.S.
“Everyday you go to work, you’re working understaffed, your license is on the line,” Ola-Adigun told CTV News in an interview.
“In America, there’s a lot more support and incentive. They understand that you have a life, you have kids, and that’s the biggest benefit,” she said.
“I was mind-blown by the amount these nurses are allotted to come into work when they’re not supposed to. It shows the respect they have for them. I’ve never seen that in Ontario. I’ve never seen that in Toronto. You want me to come back? There’s no way,” she said.
U.S. AGENCY TRACKS CANADIAN FIGURES
CTV News Investigates asked several health-care organizations, regulators and government bodies in Ontario how many nurses had left the province, but none were able to provide detailed figures. The U.S. state department did not provide a breakdown of workers coming in under a free-trade agreement.
But the U.S.-based Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), a not-for-profit organization, does keep track of the number of nurses applying to transfer their credentials as they get visas to work in the U.S.
CTV News requested data from CGFNS, revealing 801 Canadian nurses applied to transfer their credentials to the U.S. in 2018, rising to more than 1,300 in 2019. The numbers dropped in the pandemic, hitting 947, but started rising again to almost 1,700 in 2022 with the year not out.
Frank Mortimer of CGFNS said the number of Canadian nurses approved to work in the U.S. has doubled over the last five years and could be at an all-time high.
“The pattern that we’re seeing is that it’s increasing year-over-year,” Mortimer said. “I think the opportunity and the financial rewards of migrating is probably the driving factor.”
Statistics provided by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) show Canadian nurses are leaving for the U.S. in droves.
6,000 MORE HEALTH-CARE WORKERS
Ontario’s Ministry of Health told CTV News in a statement its retention plan includes 6,000 more health-care workers, $34 million to increase enrolment in nursing programs, and international recruiting.
“Over 1,000 internationally educated nurses have been deployed to hospitals across Ontario to gain the language and practice experience they need to become practising nurses in Ontario,” says the statement.
Paying nurses more to retain them amid the international competition for workers was not mentioned in the statement.
Some recent nursing graduates are already thinking of leaving, said Pyke, meaning that the lure of the U.S. could undermine some of these measures.
“A lot of the new grads who are just starting are leaving right away,” she said.
A registered nurse takes a moment to look outside while attending to a ventilated COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
BILL 124 FACES COURT CHALLENGE
A coalition of some 40 Ontario unions has taken the Ontario government to court over the wage cap, arguing that it infringes on a union’s constitutional right around collective bargaining.
Projections released by the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario estimate that if a court ruled the law unconstitutional, the cost to the province would be $8.4 billion.
Trudeau 'extremely concerned' about report Canadian parts ended up in Iranian drones – National | Globalnews.ca – Global News
Trudeau shared his worries with reporters in Ingersoll, Ont., Monday after the Globe and Mail reported on Sunday the discovery by a non-profit organization, Statewatch. Its “Trap Aggressor” investigation detailed last month that an antenna manufactured by an Ottawa-based Tallysman Wireless was featured in the Iranian Shahed-136 attack drone.
Federal government ‘extremely concerned’ about report Canadian-made parts found in Iranian attack drones used in Russia: Trudeau
The drones have been used recently by Russia in Ukraine as Moscow increases its strikes on the country’s energy and civilian infrastructure.
“We’re obviously extremely concerned about those reports because even as Canada is producing extraordinary, technological innovations … we do not want them to participate in Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, or Iran’s contributions to that,” Trudeau said.
“We have strict export permits in place for sensitive technology that are rigorously enforced, and that’s why we’ve been following up with this company, that’s fully cooperating, to figure out exactly how items that we’re not supposed to get into the hands of anyone like the Iranian government actually ended up there.”
The Shahed-136 is manufactured by Shahed Aviation Industries, one of two Iranian drone makers Ottawa sanctioned last month for reportedly supplying Russia with its lethal drones. After denying reports it was supplying Moscow, Iran acknowledged for the first time on Nov. 5 it had sent Moscow drones before the Feb. 24 war began.
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It denied continuing to supply drones to Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Iran of lying, previously saying Kyiv’s forces were destroying at least 10 of its drones every day.
Aside from its Iranian-made engine, the Shahed-136 consists entirely of foreign components, Statewatch said in its report. It cited Ukrainian intelligence managing to identify more than 30 European and American companies’ components, with most parts coming from the United States.
Drones like the Shahed are packed with explosives and can be preprogrammed with a target’s GPS coordinates. They can nosedive into targets and explode on impact like a missile, hence why they have become known as suicide drones or kamikaze drones.
Shaheds are relatively cheap, costing roughly US$20,000 each — a small fraction of the cost of a full-size missile.
Drones “provide a critical capability” to exploit vulnerabilities in defences, and their use may be a prelude to a new phase in the conflict, U.S. Army Lt.-Col. Paul Lushenko previously told Global News.
Gyles Panther, president at Tallysman, told the Globe the company is not “complicit in this usage” and “is 100-per cent committed” to supporting Ukraine.
Ottawa is working to understand how the parts ended up in the drones, and wants to “ensure” incidents like this don’t “happen again in the future,” Trudeau said.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Available Nexus appointments Canada
There’s good news for those looking to expedite their border crossing experience.
To mitigate the ongoing backlog issues at Canadian border crossings, border officials have reopened two Nexus and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrolment centres in Canada.
It’s the first time any Nexus and FAST offices have been open in Canada since the pandemic began, and federal officials say more offices will be opening in the future.
The Nexus program, which has over 1.7 million members, is designed to speed up the border clearance process for its members, while also freeing up more time for Canadian and U.S. border security agents to tend to unknown or potentially higher-risk travellers and goods.
The benefit of Nexus is that it allows for those travelling between the two countries to save time, skipping long lineups and using the shorter, dedicated Nexus lanes when crossing the border, as well as designated kiosks and eGates at major airports, and quicker processing at marine crossings.
Reopening these two Canadian centres is the first phase of a larger plan to address the lengthy Nexus and FAST backlog, and will increase availability for applicants to book appointments to interview for Nexus pre-approval, the Canada Border Service Agency said in a statement Monday.
Those looking to get Nexus approval can now schedule interviews, by appointment only, at the Lansdowne, Ont. (Thousand Islands Bridge) and Fort Erie, Ont. (Peace Bridge) enrolment centres, through the trusted traveller programs portal.
Travellers looking to apply will still need to complete a new two-step process, and the Canadian offices don’t mean applicants won’t have to cross the border to finalize the process.
If conditionally approved for Nexus status, travellers can complete the first part of the interview at one of the two reopened Canadian enrolment centres, then complete the second interview portion just across the border at the corresponding U.S. enrolment centres on the other side. For Lansdowne, that’s Alexandria Bay, N.Y., and for Fort Erie, it’s Buffalo, N.Y.
To become conditionally approved, both the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have to grant approval prior to scheduling the interview portion, and interviews need to be conducted on both sides of the border.
“Nexus and FAST are a win-win for Canada and the United States – and we’re working hard to find creative solutions to reduce wait times, address the backlog and help more travellers get Nexus cards,” said Marco Mendicino, minister of public safety, in a press release. “This new, two-step process is further proof of our commitment to it. We’ll keep finding solutions that leverage technology and streamline renewals.”
Applicants also have the option to complete a one-step process and schedule complete interviews at enrolment centres in the U.S., which may be a preferred option for those who don’t live near the two centres currently open in Canada.
And those who are already members of the Nexus program and are awaiting an interview can renew their membership ahead of its expiry date in order to retain their travel benefits for up to five years.
More centres are expected to open at select land border crossings in the future, as this initial phase carries on, CBSA says.
China slams U.S. Inflation Reduction Act for ‘disrupting international trade, investment’
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Thursday criticized the U.S. for disrupting international trade and investment by adopting the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), urging the U.S. to fulfill its obligations under WTO rules.
The criticism came after the Chinese delegation attending a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods expressed serious concern over the ‘discriminatory and distorted subsidy provisions’ of the U.S. IRA, as well as its series of policies that disrupt the global semiconductor industry chain and supply chain.
The meeting of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods was held in Geneva between November 24 and 25.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Ministry of Commerce Spokeswoman Shu Jueting said that China’s response is an exercise of its rights as a WTO member to challenge the trade measures of another member and their impact on such an occasion.
“In its speech, the Chinese side expounded on the suspected violations of WTO rules by the relevant provisions of the U.S. law from a professional perspective, noted that the U.S. approach has seriously disrupted international trade and investment while undermining the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, and expressed grave concern over the U.S. application of double standards and acts of bullying regarding international trade rules,” Shu said.
“China urges the U.S. to strictly fulfill its obligations under WTO rules and earnestly safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the multilateral trading system,” she said.
Stressing that the world today is facing multiple challenges including setbacks in economic globalization and a sluggish economic recovery, Shu reiterated China’s commitment to opposing unilateralism and stabilizing global industrial and supply chains.
“China is ready to work with other members to follow through on the outcomes of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), engage fully and deeply in the reform of the WTO, stand against unilateralism and protectionism, and support the WTO in better playing its role, so as to contribute to stability of the global industrial and supply chains and recovery of the global economy at an early date,” said the spokeswoman.
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