Canadian newspapers, such as the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, carry ample job listings for nurses and other health care specialists. Nonetheless, many Canadian nurses are heading to the US, where taxes are lower, the pay is higher, and shortages of nurses are common.
``At the last nurses job fair in January there were 71 American hospitals and nursing agencies represented,'' said Diane Hardy. ``One of my nurses went to Connecticut for $52,000 a year.''
That's $52,000 American dollars, while a top salary for a Registered Nurse in Ontario is US$31,831. That salary doesn't go far in a city such as Toronto, where the average cost of a house is C$280,000 (US$234,000).
Dissatisfaction with Canadian conditions was reflected by strikes of nurses in three Canadian provinces last year.
``Nurses are underpaid, overworked and under-appreciated,'' says Diane Hardy, a registered nurse and director of nursing at SRT Med-Staff, an agency which provides nurses to hospitals.
Ontario's Medical Reform Group says there should be more democracy in health care. That means a system not totally run as an autocracy by administrators and doctors. It says, for instance, that nurses are not used effectively and they could provide more basic treatment now given by doctors.