Why Healthcare Workers Are Moving to Canada

February 12, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

In Canada, immigrant healthcare workers play a pivotal role in sustaining the country's healthcare system, constituting a significant portion of the workforce. Surprisingly, nearly one in four healthcare professionals in Canada is an immigrant, showcasing the nation's reliance on foreign-trained talent.

These immigrants bring diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives to healthcare, enriching patient care and contributing to medical innovation. With the increased influx of healthcare workers in Canada, the reasons why become squarely placed at the forefront of many prospective immigrants’ minds.

Gain a firm understanding of why healthcare workers are increasingly opting to relocate to Canada, enticed by its inclusive society, flourishing healthcare sector, and promising prospects for career advancement!

Top Reasons Why Healthcare Workers Are Moving to Canada

Below are among the prominent reasons why healthcare workers choose to move to Canada.

Healthcare Workers In-Demand In Canada

One of the primary reasons healthcare workers are flocking to Canada is the high demand for their skills and expertise. With an aging population and increasing healthcare needs, Canada faces a shortage of healthcare professionals in various specialties.

According to the Canadian government, Canada annually experiences high job vacancies within the healthcare sector, with 96,200 unfilled positions in health occupations.

Canada’s Accommodating Immigration Policies for Healthcare Workers

Canada's accommodating immigration pathways for healthcare workers make it easier for professionals worldwide to move to the country and contribute to its healthcare system.

Recently, the Canadian government has instituted various immigration policies aimed at attracting more healthcare workers to Canada. This includes Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) commitment of 105,735,967.50 CAD to institute three projects that will help attract, train, and retain more healthcare workers in Canada. This includes programs such as the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program and Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians Plan.

Competitive Compensation For Healthcare Workers in Canada

Besides abundant job opportunities, healthcare workers in Canada typically enjoy competitive compensation packages, including salaries, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. The country's healthcare system values and rewards the contributions of healthcare professionals, ensuring that they are fairly compensated for their skills and expertise.

This competitive compensation further enhances Canada's appeal as a destination for healthcare workers, especially those from developing nations. This is reflected below with annual average salary figures from

Countries Net Annual Average Salary After Tax (CAD)
Canada 47,025.24
Pakistan 9,714.24
Ghana 2,949.12
Nigerian 1,087.8

Social Services and Safety Nets For Healthcare Workers in Canada

Canada's robust social services and safety nets support healthcare workers and their families. From healthcare benefits to unemployment insurance and pension plans, Canada offers a comprehensive social welfare system that ensures its residents' well-being and security.

If you’re employed as a nurse for the Canadian government-isolated First Nations and remote communities, you will also be entitled to the following social benefits provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) such as:

Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Workers in Canada

Canada values work-life balance, allowing healthcare professionals to pursue fulfilling careers while still having time for personal interests and family. Canada has various leave benefits for healthcare workers that ease the demands of juggling work and home life.

With generous vacation time, flexible work arrangements, and recreational activities, Canada's healthcare workers can enjoy a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives. For example, as a healthcare worker in Canada, you’ll be entitled to:

  • Maternity or parental leave,
  • Sick leave (maximum 15 days per annum),
  • Bereavement leave: 10 calendar days,
  • Family-related responsibilities leave (up to 5 days), and
  • Personal leave.

This emphasis on work-life balance contributes to overall job satisfaction and well-being among healthcare professionals.

Innovative Healthcare Practices in Canada

Canada is known for its innovative healthcare practices and commitment to medical research and development. From cutting-edge treatments to groundbreaking medical technologies, Canada's healthcare system is at the forefront of innovation, allowing healthcare workers to be part of groundbreaking advancements in their field.

The leading healthcare accelerators in Canada driving innovation in the healthcare sector include:

This culture of innovation and excellence attracts healthcare professionals passionate about pushing the boundaries of medical science and improving patient care.

Canada’s Excellent Healthcare Education System

Finally, Canada's excellent healthcare education system provides a solid foundation for healthcare workers to pursue their careers. With top-notch medical schools, nursing programs, and allied health training institutions, Canada offers comprehensive education and training opportunities for healthcare professionals at all levels.

This emphasis on education and professional development ensures that healthcare workers in Canada are well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare system and provide high-quality care to patients. Prominent Canadian medical schools ranked in the top 50 of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings include the:

Find out more about Canada’s healthcare system.

Top In-Demand Healthcare Occupations in Canada

Here are Canada's top 10 in-demand healthcare worker occupations, with 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, most in-demand provinces information, and annual average salaries and most in-demand provinces information from Canada's job bank.

In-demand Healthcare Occupations in Canada Annual Average Salary (CAD) Most In-demand Canadian Provinces/Territories 2021 NOC code
Surgeons 379,319 Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan 31101
Medical Doctors 233,726 Every Province (except Nunavut and Northwest Territories) 31102
Nurse Practitioners 141,765.92 Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta 31302
Pharmacists 138,804.96 Manitoba 31120
Physiotherapists 109,291.02 Alberta 31202
Registered Nurses (RNs) 106,036.05 Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory 31301
Dental Hygienists 105,023.10 Alberta, British Columbia, PEI, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan 32111
Nutritionists 105,015.30 New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan 31121
Medical Laboratory Technologists 95,158.00 Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewam 33101
Opticians 69,421.30 Manitoba 32100

How Can I Move to Canada as a Healthcare Worker?

To move to Canada as a healthcare worker, individuals can explore various immigration pathways tailored to their profession, such as the:

Prospective healthcare workers to Canada also benefit from the newly instituted Express Entry category-based selection program for healthcare workers. This program expedites healthcare worker immigration to Canada by expressly inviting top-ranking candidates who meet Canada’s economic and labor goals.

Learn more about how to immigrate to Canada as a healthcare worker.


What is The Process For Obtaining Licensure or Certification to Practice Healthcare in Canada?

The process for obtaining licensure or certification to practice healthcare in Canada typically involves assessment of credentials, completion of additional training if necessary, and passing relevant examinations specific to each profession, such as the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination for Physicians or the National Dental Examining Board of Canada for dentists.

How Does Canada Support Integrating Healthcare Workers From Diverse Backgrounds?

Canada supports integrating healthcare workers from diverse backgrounds through initiatives such as cultural competency training, language proficiency programs, and support services. Settlement services that cater to integrating professionals include: