Get Our Canada Immigration Newsletter

immigration matters

Canada recognizes immigrant women’s COVID-19 efforts on International Women’s Day

Immigration Canada recognizes International Women’s Day (March 8) by calling out the efforts of women who are demonstrating why Immigration Matters to Canada’s COVID-19 response.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) immigration matters to Canada because more than 1.6 million people work in Canada’s health-care sector and many more will be needed in the coming years to ensure continued access to high quality care.

Almost 500,000 workers in the health-care sector are over the age of 55, and most of these will be retiring in the next decade or so. In addition, there are existing recruitment challenges from everywhere in Canada for nurses, residential care staff and home health-care staff.

See also Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) can qualify to work in Canada – Guidelines

There’s a clear opportunity for immigrants to play an important role in ensuring there are enough people working in the health-care sector.


The sustainability and effectiveness of the Canadian health care system depend on an integrated and diverse workforce. We value the important contribution of immigrants to our health care system and welcome them to Canada!

Claire Betker, RN, MN, PhD, CCHN(C), President of the Canadian Nurses Association

Immigration Matters – Impact of immigration in Canada

  • Immigrants account for 1 out of every 4 health-care sector workers.
  • In Canada, immigrants make up 37% of pharmacists, 36% of physicians, 39% of dentists, 23% of registered nurses, and 35% of nurse aides and related occupations.
  • More than 40% of newcomers to Canada between 2011 and 2016 who were working in the health-care sector were employed in the important areas of nursing and residential care facilities, as well as home health-care services.

Percentage of immigrants in health-care occupations

Percentage of immigrants in selected health-care occupations - text version below
  • Registered nurses: 23%
  • Nurse aides, orderlies, and related: 35%
  • Pharmacists: 37%
  • Physicians: 36%
  • Dentists: 39%
  • Dental technologists and related: 54%

See IRCC: Immigration Matters: Growing Canada’s future.

Here are some of the immigrant women making a difference in these hard pandemic times and demonstrating why immigration matters to Canada.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and a leader during the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS, H1N1, and Ebola outbreaks, was born in Hong Kong.

What still worries Dr. Theresa Tam one year into the COVID-19 pandemic

Khadija Cajee co-founded Conquer COVID-19, a volunteer organization that has delivered 3 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, homeless shelters and community organizations across Canada.

Getting personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health-care workers and vulnerable communities

Kavita Dau has been teaching kids for free online during the pandemic when COVID-19 shut down schools across the country and moved classrooms to the web.

Teaching children for free during a pandemic