Moving to Canada from USA

  1. Hi to all Canadian Nurses! I have been a RN in the states for 26 years and am presently a traveler....now in Texas and will be in Bellinham, WA starting Febuary.

    For personal political reasons, my husband and I are seriously considering moving to BC...eventually to become Canadian citizens.

    Are there any travel nursing companies I can contact for work in Victoria or that area? All of my Canadian nurse friends tell me Canada is much more liberal and liveable....how is the nursing situation there?

    Any information will be appreciated!

    Peace and Love, Gypsy
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   vashka25
    The nursing situation in Canada is quite similar to that of the States in that we are suffering a serious nursing shortage.
    Victoria is a wonderful city (China town is phenomenal), and I have heard nothing but rave reviews of Vic. General. The cost of living in Victoria is quite high (the province initials B.C. often referred to as "Bring Cash")...but nothing can beat living in an area where you can go downhill skiing, walk through a rainforest, soak in hotsprings, and whale-watch all in the same day.!

    you can try contacting the following person about any questions you may have..... she has helped me considerably in the past.

    Arlene Galloway Ford
    Practice Consultant - Professional Development
    Professional Practice Office
    Vancouver Island Health Authority
    2nd fl. 2170 Mount Newton Cross Road
    Saanichton, BC Canada V8M 2B2
    Phone (250)544-2555
    Fax (250)544-2506
    Arlene.Galloway@caphealth.org


    Good luck and best wishes!
  4. by   fergus51
    We don't have travelling positions exactly like you do in the States. I would suggest you go to www.hospitalsoup.com click on Canadian hospitals and then type in the cities you are interested in. There you can browse jobs and get links to recruiter information.

    It's odd to see an American coming here. Most of us are going the other way Victoria is a beautiful city.
  5. by   JMP
    You will find Canada a wonderful place to practice and live. Good Luck.

    I am in Ontario, but have been to BC and can only rave about it. We do not have travellers in Ontario, all ( well, almost all) hospital nurses are unionized and I think you will find the wages very good.

    We have no manditory overtime, good benefits and the top RN in Ontario makes about 32 dollars an hour.
  6. by   adrienurse
    BC is beautiful, you'll love it! It makes me healthy just breathing in the sea and mountain air, whenever I visit.
  7. by   portland_guy
    Hi Gypsy and All,

    I am in the same boat. My partner and I were seriously discussing our options in finding a new home out of the US. Canada (particularly BC) came out ahead (other options, New Zealand, Germany). Though I don't have my RN license yet, I think that eventually we will end up up north some day.

    Good luck!
  8. by   fergus51
    you're not going the find the wages are that good compared to travbel nursing though! Top of the pay scale is about 22$American
  9. by   RNonsense
    Washington State will pay much higher than BC wages I'm afraid! Our top here is 32.42 CDN. ( about 5 bucks US!! ) Washington State Is 40 something US. Bellingham is a beautiful city!
  10. by   RNonsense
    oops...ok Bellingham top wage appears to be 34.39 USD. Check out www.peacehealth.org

    ummm thats like 1.3 billion Canadian
  11. by   jurbyjunk
    If you're looking for a provincial government which has any respect for nurses, don't look at BC.

    Their answer to the over 1000 position nursing shortage? Close hospitals (yes, hospitals - according to the health minister, as long as a hospital is within a 1 hour ambulance drive away, a community does not need a hospital - they got this advice from some US "advisors", sound familiar?), thereby reducing the number of vacancies.

    They've managed to "reduce the vacancies" by 700 displacements. The one that I personally love is to have some ERs open only 8/24 or staff the evening/night shift ER with 1 RN, with a doc on-call. Hospitals in the Interior have had their ORs, palliative care, etc permanently closed as well.

    WE HAVE MANDITORY OVERTIME.

    WE CAN BE SENT TO WORK, THREE TIMES A YEAR, FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO 30 DAYS, ANYWHERE IN THE PROVINCE. The nurse must pay all expenses, and then can fill a "reimbursement" form when he/she returns home.

    WE CAN BE SENT TO WORK, FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO 7 DAYS, ANYWHERE WITHIN A 50 KM RANGE OF OUR 'HOME' HOSPITAL.

    Suggest that you check out www.bcnu.org, look at their displacements listing, etc.

    If you type in www.bcnu.org on a search engine, you'll find 2 listings, 1 for the site itself, the other for "job vacancies". Click on to "health match BC" for a listing of vacancies. If you're thinking of working in Vancouver, check out the website for "Vancouver General Hospital". St Paul's is another large hospital in the city. UBC hospital (affiliated with the University of British Columbia) is being downsized from acute care (they've had their ORs closed), so don't bother with that.

    I also am a U.S. citizen, have lived and worked here since 1978. Although I came up when my (ex) husband was transferred here, I always said that I would never go back until the Equal Rights Amendment was passed. You're probably not old enough to remember the ERA, it was defeated because "men and women would have to share toilets" (Phyllis Schafley, REAL WOMEN)

    Politically, this provincial government is comparable to the Bush administration, big business interests run this province. Think Scrooge.

    "Are there no prisons". Weak, poor, downtrodden? "Better to die and decrease the surplus population".

    Although nurses in this province are members of the BCNU, and although we turned down the employers contract offer by 97%, the provincial government legislated it in in August 2001, and then in January 2002, it passed Bill 28, in secret, in the wee small hours of the morning, stating that the contract was "too inflexible". As premier Gordon Campbell stated on the news "it's about time nurses found out who was the employer and who was the employee". Respect, I think not.

    The highest pay level is for 9 years experience. I'm at that level and I get paid $C32.42/hour. At a currency value of the Canadian $ at $.65, this works out to just a little over $US21/hour. This does not include my exciting "bonus" for my masters. If you're thinking "specialty differential", don't. Evening shift (which I work)differential is $.70 or, in US$, $0.48.

    We are supposed to get a $C.41/hour raise April 1st but Colin Hansen, health minister, has already said that we will only get our raise "if the economy improves".

    This provincial government is also a strong proponent of "privatization". Any nursing unit which does not deal strictly with "in-house" patients (renal unit, operating room, ambulatory day care, surgical day care, "holding units" in the emergency room, home care, oncology/diabetic/eating disorders, etc, clinics) can be privatized. If you think that it's not being done, you're wrong.

    My neighbor works in the renal dialysis unit at the Royal Columbian Hospital (New Westminster). She was telling me that the unit is being privatized. By next spring, all the renal techs will be working for a private company, with a pay drop to $C10/hour. By next fall, the RNs will be privatized. All membership in the union will cease (part of bill 28, no "secession rights"), so pensions, benefits, etc, will be gone. RCH was, apparently, expecting the RNs to roll over, play dead, and be grateful to have a job. Nola reports that, of the 36 "lines", 18 RNs have now left for the States, another 6 are going in the spring, and the rest are applying for other positions in the hospital.

    Private companies do not provide 'specialty" nurses. By privatizing these units, hospitals figure that the nurses will stay in their jobs but will work for these companies. Since the biggest cost of an RN (or any hospital worker) is not their salary but their benefits, the hospital gets out of paying both. And private nursing companies don't pay union wages or benefits.

    The provincial government has also inked a deal to have all hospital laundry trucked daily to Calgary, Alberta, and hospital food is now (starting NYD) being sent from Toronto. Thus, hospital laundry and dietary workers have been pink-slipped.

    Now some provincial government idiot has declared that all nurses must work a 7.2 hour shift, rather than any 'extended hours" shifts. First they screw around with their imposed contract, then they go for our rotations.

    My best advice, live here and work "casual" at a BC hospital, but work "across the line" in Bellingham.

    "Casual" is how you'll get hired anyway. You have to be "on permanent staff" to apply for a non-casual position. With some exceptions, new graduates can't get anything other than casual.

    I'm retiring in 3 years, 8 months, and as of today, 27 days. Even then, I will probably need to get another job. The provincial govenment has slashed our retirement benefits ("we're not in the business of paying government employee retirees' benefits" - Gary Collins, finance minister).

    Sorry that this is so long, but boy did I ever get a lot off my chest. LOL
    Last edit by jurbyjunk on Jan 5, '03
  12. by   fergus51
    Jurby, I know the bill says they can move us, but have you seen that happen? It could be because I am in a largish hospital, but I haven't heard of one nurse being forced to move for 30 days anywhere.

    Also, what do you mean there is mandatory OT? As far as I new I didn't have to pick up shifts I didn't want.
  13. by   jurbyjunk
    Actually Fergus, if you've listened to Sindi Simpkins's (sorry, not sure if I've got her name spelled correctly) comments in re bed/hospital closures = displaced nurses, she has stated quite clearly that, since nurses can be moved around the province "as per Bill 28", to "fill vacant positions", she does not consider them as having been displaced. And whether this has in fact happened or not, BY LAW, this is what can be done.

    And yes, there was an ICU/CCU nurse from a lower mainland hospital, who arrived at work one morning and was informed that she would be working at another hospital in the lower mainland for the 7 day period. Since she takes public transit, she had no way to get to her "new" worksite, which was not on the bus route. She was told that, if she refused to go there, she would be fired ieffective immediately. I gather that she wound up having to take cabs both to and from. Can't give you any more information on this incident as it was related to us by a student nurse rotating through our unit.

    I also work in a fairly large hospital and am not aware of this happening there. I thought that you were going to the States, have you changed your mind?

    Am usually keyboarding with a helpful (not) cat on my lap. This morning am diong it sans chat, sans reading glasses. LOL
    Last edit by jurbyjunk on Jan 5, '03
  14. by   RNonsense
    so again...I'd choose Bellingham! What they did to us here was a joke...

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