A Canadian Province Is Turning to Filipinos to Fill a Healthcare Labor Shortage


The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is planning to hire full-time nursing and laboratory staff from the Philippines in 2022, a report from a Canadian news service said Thursday. 

According to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will hire up to 150 of the health care professionals from the Philippines to fill a huge gap in the sector’s labor force battered by the ongoing pandemic. 

But officials expressed surprised that only 150 were needed to fill the positions considering that there were more than 1,000 vacancies in the SHA.

The report cited data from Statistics Canada that showed that, as of 2016, nearly a quarter of nurse aides, orderlies and similar professionals in the province were immigrants. This was more than twice the share of newcomers working in all other jobs. The same study found that nearly 30 percent of such professionals across Canada were Filipino, and that the vast majority were women.

“We could not be without our Filipino nurses,” Saskatchewan Union of Nurses President Tracy Zambory said. “They are a gigantic asset, and we could not run without them. We just have to make sure that we are taking lessons from the past.”

As of 2016, which is the latest available data from a census, there were about 837,130 people in Canada with Filipino ethnic origin. The Philippines is also the the top source of immigrants to the country, bringing 188,805 (or 15.58 percent of the total) new immigrants to the country, followed by India (147,190), China (129,020), and Iran (42,070).

Most of the Filipino and Filipino-Canadian population in the country are concentrated in four Canadian provinces: Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba, where more than 90 percent of them reside and work. 


As many as 800 new nurses were hired by Saskatchewan officials when they flew to the Philippines for a hiring blitz in 2008. However, the report said that many of the nurses did not end up staying in the country as they were “not used working in a radically different country and environment.”


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