Migration Of Health Human Resources From Africa To Canada

Canada And The ‘Brain Drain’ Of Health Professionals From Sub-Saharan Africa: A New Program Of Research Activities

Canada’s own need for health professionals must not come at the expense of the health of people in other countries, especially those in greater health need. This program of research seeks to determine legally-sound, empirically-justified and ethically grounded policy options that Canada can pursue to manage the migration of health professionals from SSA (and other developing) countries.

Objectives include:

  1. Determine the recruitment practices for foreign-trained physicians and nurses by regional health authorities and hospitals in the five Canadian provinces most reliant on foreign-trained health professionals.
  2. Determine the full extent of health professional migration flows from SSA countries since the introduction of the Provincial Nominee Program in 2000.
  3. Provide robust estimation of the economic costs and benefits to Canada and source countries of the flow of SSA-trained physicians and nurses to Canada.

Ronald Labonté
Professor and Canada  Research Chair (Globalization and Health Equity)
School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa

Arminée Kazanjian
Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia.

Corinne Packer
Researcher, Globalization and Health Equity Unit, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa.

Nathan Klassan
Research Assistant.

Jonathan Crush
CIGI Chair in Global Migration and Development, Professor Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University; Professor, Basillie School of International Affairs

Justin Adalikwu
University of Saskatchewan.

Lars Apland
Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia.

Tom McIntosh
Professor and Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Regina.

Ted Schrecker
Professor of Global Health Policy in the Centre for Public Policy & Health, Durham University

David Zakus
Professor, School of Occupational and Public Health, Ryerson University.


Packer, C., Runnels, V. and Labonté, R. “Does the migration of health workers bring benefits to the countries they leave behind?” In R. Shah (ed.), The International Migration of Health Workers: Ethics, Rights and Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

Kazanjian, A., Apland, L. and Labonté, R. “Not on the Radar: The Impact of Rural Health Realities on Canadian Public Policy and HHR Migration from Sub-Saharan Africa.” Cahiers de sociologie et de démographie médicales, 47(4): 407-426, 2007.

Labonté, R., Packer, C., Klassen, N. et al The Brain Drain of Health Professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa to Canada: Some Findings and Policy Options, Queens University: South African Migration Project. 2007.

Labonté, R., Packer, C., Klassen, N. et al. The Brain Drain of Health Professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa to Canada. African Migration and Development Series No. 2. Cape Town: Idasa and Kingston: Queen’s University, 2006.

R. Labonte and C. Packer, “The brain drain of physicians from developing countries to Canada: A matter of human rights.” Human Rights Tribune, 12, 2006.

Labonté, R., Packer, C., and Klassen, N. “Managing health professional migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Canada: a stakeholder inquiry into policy options.” Human Resources for Health, 4(22): 1478-1491, 2006.

Labonté, R., Packer, C. and Klassen, N. “The Perverse Subsidy: Canada and the Brain Drain of Health Professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa.” Policy Options, July-August 2006: 74-78.

Schrecker, T. and Labonté, R. “Taming the brain drain: A challenge for health systems in southern Africa”, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 10:409-15. 2004.

Labonté, R. and Schrecker, T. “The brain drain is a global problem”, BMJe January 2004.