BC Boosts Funds for Nurse Training: Now Make Them Pay if They Don’t Stay!

It was a good news day: Health Minister Adrian Dix this week announced funding to almost DOUBLE the nurse-training spots at BCIT.

Well done!

During my stay at St. Paul’s Hospital cardiac ward in 2018, I saw first-hand what terrific work the nursing staff does: patients understandably get more day-to-day(and overnight too!) supportive care from nurses than they do from doctors.

MUCH appreciated! 🙂

Now, the BC government will increase BCIT’s funding to add another 611 specialty nurse training seats … bringing the total enrolled, at that institution alone, to 1,000 new nurses.

Very Good.

But there is a problem governments (provincial and federal) need to address.

Each Spring, across Canada, as new classes of nurses (and doctors and other health professionals) graduate … recruiters, mostly from the United States, move in … sometimes right on campus … to hire them away.

The American recruiters … many representing profit-driven hospitals, clinics and other private health facilities … often offer higher salaries and even signing bonuses to lure away nurses, doctors etc. WE paid to educate.

When BILLIONS of dollars (US dollars!) from a much larger and profit-driven health care system are involved, it’s very hard for our smaller, publicly-funded health care authorities to compete.

Of course, many Canadians would argue WE do, however, offer a safer, saner, even more civil and civilized society in which to live, thrive and also raise a family.

But the lure of BIG BUCKS, when facing high student debt and higher living costs … higher taxes too … leads many BC and Canadian-trained nurses and other health care workers to succumb to American recruitment.

I don’t believe we can … or should … prevent them from going. That would violate their civil rights.

However, surely it’s not too much to ask … or legislate … that professionals educated, trained and graduated in our highly publicly-subsidized Colleges and Universities be expected to REPAY their full debt to our society if they leave.

And that goes well beyond just their student debt … which, although sizable, still accounts for only a small portion of the actual cost borne by the taxpayers to support/educate highly skilled professionals through the post-secondary level … and well beyond.

College and University level aspiring professionals should have to sign Contracts with institution-funding governments when they enrol: if they stay and practice their skills for, say, five or 10 years, in Canada, their SOCIAL DEBT to society is retired.

However, if they immediately leave to practice/work elsewhere, then they must REPAY their SOCIAL DEBT over the same period, five or 10 years, to help FUND other students here to replace them.

Taking advantage of BC or Canada’s subsidized institutions of higher learning … and then immediately heading south to cash in … is a ripoff of Canada and all our taxpayers.

Time for provincial and federal authorities to face up to that challenge … and protect our advanced education investments from being ripped off by US recruiters.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Get First Alerts to all postings on this BC-based Blog by following me, @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.)

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24 Responses to BC Boosts Funds for Nurse Training: Now Make Them Pay if They Don’t Stay!

  1. 13 says:

    I agree that any tax payer costs should be recovered. Im not sure about “social” costs. I suppose if the student that was going to go South took up a space of another that was going to stay in Canada you could argue your point.
    So a simple remedy without to much government intervention would be for the schools to ask the student to sign an agreement to stay. If the enrollment had room for students that want to go South then allow them to study and go. No harm no foul. As long as the enrollment allows them a space. Those that choose to stay get first crack at enrollment.
    Harvey Ive had some health problems of my own and I can honestly say Ive had first class care from Chwk, Abby, and VGH hospitals and all Drs and Nurses involved.
    A bigger issue than nurses or Doctors going South in my mind is allowing foreigners to take up space in our hospital systems that have not paid into the Canadian Medical plan for decades as people yours and my age have. Especially people that choose to have babies in Canada to take full advantage of Canadian citizenship.

    (Response: We can’t guarantee students will stay ..even if they say they will when they enter university etc. However, that’s where a Contract would help: it would still give them the chance/choice to go elsewhere if lured to do so …while protecting the public investment to educate and train them so they graduate/qualify for recruitment. As for foreigners in Canadian hospitals, it is my understanding that the vast majority DO pay … either through insurance or cash when treated here, except in urgent emergency cases, just as Canadians do when treated in other countries. h.o)

  2. e.a.f. says:

    One of my late friends was educated in the then Czechoslovakia. she then took a hike when the Russians rolled in. years later, wanting a visa to return to see family, the government of Czechoslovakia said, fine but first you pay us for your education. In the 1980s they set that at $2k.

    I don’t know how we would “collect” the money, which will be the biggest problem, but we can give it a try. given these Recuiters are coming into Canada, we could at least bar them from operating on provincially funded campuses. I’m sure it would cause a Constitutional challenge, but it would also send a message.

    A five year commitment to our country is not too much to ask, in my opinion.

    (Response: Once any student of age signs a contract, I believe most …like most taxpayers owing any credt bill, would pay up ..esp if they’re earning big bucks in the US, and collecting any unpaid debt would be fairly easy over time, with interest: through billing/statements … just like student loans; credit agencies; work deductions or garnished wages; tax returns or passport refusals/cancellations for the worst scofflaws. It just takes backbone to introduce the change …and go after those who rip ff the system and our taxpayers. h.o)

  3. BMCQ says:

    In principle I agree with you 100% .

    Something should be done along the lines you suggest but IMHO I do not think there are Politicians of any Brand at any Level that have the courage or character to take this on . honestly I do not even see a hard nose Conservative trying to push similar Legislation through Federal Parliament or the B.C. Legislature .

    On top of that I am quite sure that if Politicians were to pass Legislation similar to what you suggest an Activist Group and in turn an Activist Judge would jump at the chance to throw any Legislation suggested out on Constitutional Grounds .

    Right across this Country and in each and every Province we have now found our selves in the position of not being able to pass any real meaningful Legislation especially with the virtual VETO Power given First Nations special Interests by B.C. and the Federal Government and we cannot seem to convict any Despicable Repeat Criminals for far too many serious offences and we cannot build anything, especially Pipe Lines regardless of what is Legal even in the Courts . Even if Legislation is passed and Pipelines go ahead the cost to the Tax Payer is far more than what we can afford or withstand . In the meantime Leftist Activist politicians continue to “Fiddle while uh Rome uh Burns” .

    Therefore even though it makes perfect sense I do not see Legislation similar to what you suggest getting anywhere . It is disappointing because what you suggest makes so much common sense, but then over the past five years or so we have not really been able to accuse a Canadian Politician of good clean common sense .

    I have never been an optimist or a pessimist, I describe myself as a realist and I must admit that over the past five years or so my confidence in Canadian Politicians at all Levels now leaves me cold and I am not hopeful for the future of our uh Country .
    Somehow I see a visit from the IMF in the very near future .

    Someone once said to me, “If a Politician ever approaches you reaches out their hand and states Hello, I am from Government and I am here to help, please turn your back and run the other way as fast as you can” .

    Of course we are not really “Ripped Off” by U.S. Recruiters, we cannot blame them, after all we Canadians do exactly the same thing, I have seen it with my own eyes .

    Personally I would like to see MORE qualified Medical People from the Philippines, South Africa, and other Nations given the chance to pass Board Exams here and begin to practice their Specialties .

    Then of course that has Canada doing exactly the same thing U.S. Recruiters are doing.

    (Response: Current law provides for free public education through secondary level: there is no guarantee of FREE or SUBSIDIZED education beyond that …at college or university level. I do not think there would be any legal obstacles in letting students CHOOSE: either pay for the full cost of their higher level education (as foreign students do); or apply for subsidized public rates, by signing an agreement to practice inside the province or country footing the subsidized cost for an agreed upon period … or have any remaining balance convert to a loan …which would be subject to normal repayment or collection processes. Yes…politicians may be reluctant to be so forthright to propose/adopt such politicians …but if they think about it, they would realize most taxpayers …especially once the problem is explained to them …would support the idea …especially since it would result in more money going to students who will actually stay/contribute here when they graduate or have those who leave pay back the taxpayers their debt. With so many strains on public funding ..and growing …it really should be looked at and see what the pubic says. h.o)

  4. BMCQ says:

    Harvey – response to 13, eaf, BMCQ

    After thinking about your first 3 responses so far and the content of the other two posts I believe Politicians would be remiss if they did not at least attempt to enact similar Legislation to what you propose . Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained .


    I like the idea of the Five Year Commitment, You are correct, it is not too much to ask .

    (Response: What we need are politicians brave and competent enough to think out of the box …and not just keep raising taxes or cutting accessibility to services because self-indulgent graduates immediately opt for more lucrative jobs south of the border. h.o)

  5. Harry Lawson says:


    last couple of post have been great, if you changed your diet please share i want some too lol.

    on principle i agree yet we poach how hypocritical

    Simple solution no subsidies during the education . the subsidie comes each month you stay in BC if another jurisdictions wants you great you go they can subsidize you on a monthly bases.

    since Jne my wife has spent over 5 months in hospital , she is coming home on saturday with supports. our health care people work within a system that is truly dysfunctional . we also need to address the broken system as part of the retention discussion. economic enslavement is not a solution.

    (Response: Nice to hear the good news! 🙂 The way government bureaucracies work, regulating. calculating and implementing subsidies on a monthly basis for thousands of students would probably cost millions more than would ever be saved. I think it could/should be administered perhaps on a semester basis …or even an annual one: the important thing would be the contract, committing students who take advantage of and sign up for educational subsidies to repay their “debt” after they leave school … just like student loans and any other contracts involving borrowing. Then, if they stay and work in BC, they could get tax credits relieving/eliminating part of their debt each year until it is gone … without actually costing them a cent! But those who leave …would end up paying back their educational “loans”, just like any other debt. h.o)

  6. 13 says:

    Agreed Harvey but Im sure Ive heard stories of local families not being able to have a baby at Richmond hospital because it is so popular for birth tourism. Sure the foreigners pay for the treatment . Its not a free ride. But is it fair that a family living in Richmond ends up traveling to find a hospital to have a baby. Then there is the bigger question. The mom that is paying has no intention of raising her child in Canada. She is buying her child a Canadian passport. Im not sure how Canadians fell about this practice, I have a few concerns but would be willing to listen to anyone that supports this behavior.

    (Response; Yes, that is a problem, but the blame doesn’t lie with the nurses or doctors; the issue is funding …hospitals profit from birth tourism (just as our universities profit from foreign students who pay much more than locals) … and the rationale is the extra income allows them to do more for locals. I’m no expert in whether that is true or not ..but I do know when we spend thousands in educating/training professionals in our universities and they skip the province or country as soon as they graduate, then we are being ripped off …and the politicians should have the backbones to at least get taxpayers reimbursed. h.o)

  7. Harry Lawson says:


    we need to speak about the true issue , that is retention and affordability . until we address those issues the rest is a moot point in many ways this ties back to the previous point in your last post

    once again i have to mention unintended consequences

  8. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, in your response to me, I’m not so sure the former students would be willing to pay, especially if they leave the country. You can bill them all you want, but collecting from some one in another country is very difficult. Even getting people to pay up on regular student loans for those who remain in Canada at one time I knew was difficult. I recall a CBC documentary prior to 2000 which investigated people who weren’t paying their student loans. One I’ve remembered very clearly. it was a doctor, who was driving at the time the most lovely of Mustangs, all bells and whistles and he flatly was refusing to pay his student loans.

    it would probably be easier, if we waited for them to return and get the money then or if they ever filed for pensions, just send them a nice letter advising, you owe the country money and we’re withholding your pension until its paid in full.

    (Response: You will never get 100% compliance …but that’s no reason to just give up. I believe MOST people do pay their debts, and these days I’d bet there are very few who would want to finance a car or a house have an unpaid credit/debt action hanging over their heads …or worse, a court order allowing the seizure of assets or income or drivers licence and/or passport renewal. h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    Harry Lawson, Happy to hear your wife is coming home from hospital.

    A word of advise, don’t try to do too much yourself. You will burn out. The health authority on Vancouver Island will send a care giver up to 4 times a day to assist with care. I don’t know what is available in your area but be careful with yourself.

  10. max avelli says:

    Hello Harvey,

    While I completely agree with the spirit of your post, I fear it confronts several practical and legal issues.

    1) Why should would-be doctors and nurses going to school in BC be treated any differently than people studying for any other degree??

    Should we have Art History and Philosophy majors also sign such a contract? MBA’s. Accountants?

    I think to be onside the Charter, all students would need to sign such an agreement.

    And even then…

    2) How on earth do you collect?

    We cannot even collect on people who are delinquent on their Medicare payments.

    I am guessing we have no power to collect on parking tickets issued to people outside of the province.

    So how will we collect on $100,000-plus to educate a doctor or nurse?

    Good luck.

    3) And so on. I do not want to drone on, like some of your posters.

    (Response: Collecting a debt is not that difficult in MOST cases. It’s the whole basis of our credit system …people DO pay back debt … and in the minority of cases who don’t, there are legal remedies …from collection agencies, garnishment of wages, liens on property etc. but in the vast majority of cases involving educated professionals, I don’t think that would be necessary very often. As for who it should apply to, there could and would be discussion about that. Personally, I’d make it a basic condition of attending publicly financed university level institutions: if/when you graduate, you are expected to repay your debt to society …by working in the jurisdiction of the institution(s) that educated you … commensurate with the degree to which your education was publicly funded … and if you leave immediately, the debt repayment of your Contract would then kick in. Stay or pay: it’s not nearly as radical or difficult a principle as you may believe. It just takes politicians with the backbones to implement the idea. ..and with rising costs and dwindling resources, that should not seem so radical an idea. h.o)

  11. max avelli says:

    At Harvey’s response to me above.

    In the first place, how do you launch collection action against a person in the United States? No jurisdiction. No ability to garnish wages outside your jurisdiction. Nothing to lien if they do not have property in your jurisdiction. Etc…

    Second, according to your logic, preventing persons university educated in BC from working outside of BC would apply not only to moving to the USA for work, but moving to Alberta or any other province for work. What court in this country do you think would allow such legislation to stand? And what if all other provinces did the same? Surely you are smarter than that.

    (Response: You’re simply wrong. Ask any Canadian who fell sick in the US and came home with a huge hospital bill … cross border bill collections DO work. Or even anyone who leaves an unpaid hotel bill behind. Where there is a will, there is way …better than just taking a defeatist attitude of just let thousands keep going …and don’t do anything about it h.o)

  12. Leila Paul says:

    Harv, what about all the foreign doctors McGill’s med school has trained for decades! Remember how McGill was world renowned before the Francophone Quebec governemnt cut funding to the Anglophone hospitals and universities?

    Before I worked in advertising and TV news, I worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) and the Montreal General (MGH) as well as the Allan Memorial Institute (AMI).
    I clearly recall a vast number were foreign residents or med students at McGill.

    Very few stayed for Canadians to rightfully enjoy the benefits of their education and residency. So all that do-gooder training was taken at Canadian public expense and carried home by them with their luggage.

    Even now I have friends with dual citizenship in foreign countries who criticize the quality and hygiene of our Canadian hospitals today and say they go home to get better quality care in small private hospitals where they get more personalized and quick health care.

    Universities and community colleges have now picked up on the refrain they need foreign revenue as fewer Canadians now go beyond high school. Today, some of those foreign students might stay. But those who do not go home to set up shop and compete with us since our public educational institutions have taught them how to outperform and outbid us for the services and productions we trained them to rival us.

    We have been paying for the training of our competition in all areas, not just in high tech and MBA schools. And it’s been going on for decades.

    When I worked at the RVH, the MGH and the AMI, I personally knew the majority of med, sugical and psychiatric residents were from outside the country, including the U.S.

    How much would their training be worth in today’s monetary values? Assess interest as an add on to the money we’ve lost in spending to train all those who are now our rivals and have been for decades.

    It’s no wonder so many of our youth now resort to addiction and end up living on the streets. Our generation and those prior to ours are, in many ways, responsible for what’s happened to our youth who’ve been deprived of the benefits and institutions created by their parents and grand-parents.

    Politicians made those decisions as did the professionals who taught the foreign students. But who put the politicians there to create and promote such policies?

    Was anyone thinking of obvious consequences?

    (Response: Thanks. You help make my point. This is not a new problem: Canadians have been paying big bucks to educate highly skilled professionals for years … only to see some of them abandon us for more lucrative jobs elsewhere. Surely it is not too much to ask that those who do repay Canadian taxpayers for our failed investments in them! What we need are politicians brave enough to take on the problem …. especially in view of very high university costs these days … instead of just cutting access or raising taxes on the rest of us to fund even more new replacements for those who leave. h.o)

  13. Harry Lawson says:


    Between serving on health related boards and committees for over 16 years and most recently seeing the inside of many hospitals since june. to date my wife has been in hospital for about 120 days or so lost count. i feel i have a little insight.

    i agree in principle with you however it is complicated. issues such as working condition and other issues come to play. we have to think retention .

    how do we avoid a charter challenge , ? why just healthcare ? we need teachers , building trades, engineers , ect

    we need ba education system that will offer payment defered education based on a social contract or student pays fii cost and go anywhere .

    EAF my wife is coming home today with supports from fraser health , on a daily basis giving a lot of thought to a senior living home . lol .

    (Response: A Charter challenge would not be a problem: there is NO guaranteed right in Canada under the Constitution or any provincial or federal law to publicly paid UNIVERSITY education. And, as I stated earlier, there could be an option: pay full education costs up front, and do/go wherever a student wants; or, enter into a Contract to apply for and accept publicly subsidized university education, under an agreement (like a student loan) to repay costs by staying and working in the province/country paying the bill for an agreed upon time …or pay it back if you leave within a certain period. h.o)

  14. Leila Paul says:

    Max Avelli makes some good observations. However, it’s a matter of essential services and then the supply meeting the demand or need.

    There are huge numbers of History and Philosophy graduates who are not in demand unless they go on to do Master degrees in order to teach or go on to law school or journalism schools.

    Medical services are in a class by itself and the problems of collecting on economic investments in their training could be part of the admissions process. Each candidate could be asked to sign a contract committing to either serve in an area that is under-served or, if they leave, to repay taxpayer subsidies. The responsibility really should be at the front end with the member of Admission Committees who screen applicants to med schools or nursing programs.

    As for accountants and MBA grads, they tend to be the ones – if the leave and set up businesses offshore – who have contributed to some of our unemployment and economic issues. Those that are now trained and gone and are training others in their home countries can no longer be held to account. Those with love of Canada and their experiences here might contribute as alumni.

    However, one question plagues my thoughts. How did our decision-makers not recognize we’d eventually be short of medical professionals?

    Along with training foreign physicians and surgeons here, some of our best and most experienced often went to foreign countries I believe at public expense to help set up hospitals and train hospital administrators there.

    I know one of the two high level specialists in internal medicne and haematology went to the Gulf Arab states to set up hospitals and one of them also went to Kenya. He was a Rhodes scholar and respected as a researcher in sickle cell anemia so the Gulf Arab states and especially Kenya benefited from his remarkable knowledge and research acumen.

    I’m not sure but I believe some that was financed and arranged through CIDA – the Canadian International Development Agency.

    As for other types of workers such as business administrators they were able to build up factories and production facilities where jobs formerly done here were shipped offshore with their managerial skills acquired from the west helping to make their formerly underdeveloped economies more prosperous – at our expense in all facets.

    This is mere conjecture, public politicians set the policies in place. Were they funded by corporations who wanted to export jobs to locations with lower wages?

    Was some of the MBAs trained her that went home part of an attempt to bust the unions?

  15. DBW says:

    I was trying to find the answers to a couple of questions.

    How severe is the problem of retaining professionals ?
    How much do governments subsidize universities?

    I had trouble finding many articles but here’s the best I can do.

    Apparently when I was at university in the 70s, government subsidies accounted for almost 80% of university budgets. Now it is closer to 50%. That means if a student pays $6000 in tuition, the government is also throwing in $6000. Using your idea, a student would owe $24,000 – 30000 if they wanted to leave the country immediately upon graduation.

    On the question of retention, I couldn’t find anything on nurses but I did find one on tech workers from a couple of years ago.


    Upwards of 50% of students in the tech field are leaving for the US. That’s not good.

    And if you look at the charts, it wouldn’t take much more than a year or two before a student would be able to pay off the $30000 even if we had a way of collecting it.

    And even if your idea took hold what would stop them from leaving for richer grounds after the five year period?

    If we want to keep people in Canada punishing them for leaving might get us some money back back I am not sure it will rectify this brain drain which is what we really want to do.

    (Response: There are several companies like this: https://www.onwardhealthcare.com/travel-nursing-jobs/nursing-jobs-in-america/ … recruiting Canadians to health care jobs in the US. And you may want to read this too: http://news.communitech.ca/the-talent-war-canadian-firms-need-to-up-their-recruitment-game-uw-grads-say/ …and this too: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-silicon-valley-recruiters-are-flocking-to-ontario-1462385408 . And trust me, US recruiters are active as well on campuses in person and even at hospitals and health care facilities through trade publications. h.o)

  16. BMCQ says:

    As earlier stated Canadian Institutions recruit as well, look at how many Professionals Medical and Tech Personnel come to Canada or the U.S. for Education and then are hired by Hospitals, Research Centres for Medical or others from just India alone .

    I spend some time in Houston Texas and between Medical, Chemical, Oil, Gas, Space, and others there are thousands and thousands of people living and working there from many different World Nations including Canada .

    Houston is not so great in the winter but the summers with the Heat and Humidity are most unbearable and in fact oppressive yet highly educated very bright people cannot wait to re locate, work, and live there . Everywhere you go in Houston it is like going into a UN General Assembly Meeting, highly educated people want to be in Houston .

    I really do not see why we in B.C. could not be a destination Centre like Houston other then the fact an almost prohibitive cost of housing, cost of living, taxation, government bloat, bureaucracy, and so many other impediments actually offer Business, Research, or Talented Educated People any incentive to be here . Perhaps what I have just pointed out might be part of the problem, this ties in with Harvey’s previous post calling out Vancouver for Tax Abuse . All of those listed and more affect the reasons why some or many want to leave soon after they have completed their education, perhaps they have no desire to become a slave to Housing and other expensive costs of living in YVR, B.C. or Canada .

    Hey wait a minute maybe those are all part of the reason why educated and talented people and business avoid this area . Perhaps that is why we do not attract enough opportunities for Employers to move to B.C. or YVR . If we encouraged more Employers of all kinds to relocate to YVR with good paying jobs we might create a desirable place for well educated people to move or stay here after graduation .

    Perhaps it is time that the Chamber of Commerce and other Business and Research types started to point out to government that without incentive for Business and Research to come to B.C. there is no incentive for educated and talented people to seek out a future here .

    Perhaps we should take a look and see what Houston has that we don’t have, we might just learn something .

    Who knows if highly educated skilled people had more incentive to stay or come here we might not need to worry about losing them in a Brain Drain in some other more desirable place .

    After all, don’t droning moronic Politicians at all three levels continually tell us we live in the best place on earth ?

    If that was the case then why do we have so much trouble retaining talented people ? I hate to point this out but as is always the case politicians are lying to you and they really aren’t all that smart .

    The Best Place in the World ? Yeah, sure, whatever you say .

    (Response: You really are stretching and twisting this current topic …. making those who leave repay their education costs .. to fit your own bias/agenda: to suggest taxes are “the reason why educated and talented people and business avoid this area . Perhaps that is why we do not attract enough opportunities for Employers to move to B.C. or YVR” is clearly off topic. To even hint that with lower taxes we could get America’s hospitals or health/retirement facilities to move here and thus keep our nurses, doctors here (which IS the topic) is patently ridiculous. So why didn’t I just edit it out? Because you DO make a very valid point … raised in my previous blog: our rapidly and incessantly increasing well-beyond-inflation taxes ARE hurting low and middle class WORKERS to the point governments are pushing them out of Vancouver, even BC and Canada …and, yes, making a lot of other places, more attractive. However, I don’t believe they are the major reason nurses and doctors and specialists etc are hired away upon graduation: it’s “signing bonuses” (in the thousands of dollars) and much higher wages, paid in US dollars …coupled with LOWER taxes and living costs … and lowering taxes alone wouldn’t change much. So my key point remains: they should be able to go if they want; but they should also be required to repay their debt to Canadian taxpayers, who paid for their university education. h.o)

  17. BMCQ says:

    I absolutely plead guilty to all of your charges . I kind of thought you might delete the post but I then thought that in the bigger picture my commentary was indeed on topic and part of why people may choose to leave Canada, B.C., or YVR .

    That of course does not mean that I disagree with your points about re paying etc. when people choose to take their skills and education elsewhere . I am evolving on this issue and tend to support your hard line on this, I was merely attempting to point out that this whole issue is a much deeper subject . Because of that I thought we might be able to expand our thoughts and offer ideas that might dove tail into a solution that creates incentive for educated and talented people to stay which would benefit us all .

    Of course if that does not work there is perhaps your way, but I simply thought we could provide a win win for all if we provided incentive for those same people to chose to stay .

    My apologies .

    (Response: As I stated, I left it in because it did indeed address the points in my previous post. But I believe even most of those who do take jobs realize the quality of life in Canada is better: less violent; less tribal; people are more civil to one another; less racist/xenophobic; and, our health care and social services levels for seniors, the poor etc are far better. So it’s worth staying in MANY ways. BUT when you’re young, in debt, and someone flashes thousands of dollars in bonuses and higher pay, a green card, and an adventure in the Great USA …it’s tempting. All I ask is …if they go right or soon after graduation … our “leaders” make them reimburse the public funds WE spent to get them that bonus and those higher wages. THAT’s the topic of this current blog. h.o)

  18. 13 says:

    Harvey Ive had a sober second thought. Your right and so is BMCQ and upon reflection I do not blame anyone that flees this over taxed under preforming economy. Whatever the portion of tuition that OVER TAXED Canadians pay just make the recruiters pay it back.
    Pass whatever legislation you want to force people to stay and work in Canada . A sliding scale over 4 years.
    Even being (according to our Federal Government) unskilled truck driver . For 4 years I drove from YVR to Seattle hauling freight both ways. I was continually offered work by our Seattle connections. At the time (1995) I earned about 60k a year. The American truckers doing the exact same work as I was doing were earning between 75 and 100k per year. If I could have got a green card Im pretty sure I would have taken a job offer in Seattle (check the currency value and the difference in pay was likely 40 to 50%)

    (Response: I would not EVER support a law that would “force people to stay and work in Canada”. Never! BUT if they leave, immediately or shortly after taking advantage of a very expensive heavily taxpayer-subsidized university education, surely there’s nothing wrong with asking them to repay the money spent to educate/train them for those higher paying jobs elsewhere! And the longer they stay/practice here, the less they should have to repay. h.o)

  19. BMCQ says:

    I hope I do not sound as absurd to suggest that USA Health Centres, Research move to Canada, I was attempting to suggest that Canada and B.C. have the creativity to embark on something similar in B.C., we are always talking about changing the economy, why not take Tax Dollars and create all of those discussed here in our own backyard to keep people here .

    Lowering taxes over the long term indeed saves a lot and that is not debatable .

    Again I tend to agree with eaf when she asks for a five year commitment .
    I suppose I am trying to suggest that there are/is opportunity to create work here locally that will keep skilled professionals here if we really think a little bit out of the box .

    Trash if you wish .

  20. Leila Paul says:

    Quality of life issues, for all professionals whose skills are marketable, may cause many of them to avoid Vancouver as a permanent residence. Related to that is quality of working environment.

    Lotus Land brings to mind a place where people are numbed into a seductive complacency by narcotics. The Lotus tree is part of an old Greek myth. The reference to Vancouver made it appealing to many people who may not have been among the most discerning or most ambitious in seeking sober self-reliance. That image may be unfair, but the label of lotus land has had a lasting impression.

    Consider its near opposite – the “lone star state”. BMCQ mentions Texas. Its reputation as the “lone star state” may apply to its flag, but it also implies a state of mind.

    Accurate or not, Texas still is considered a state where ambitious people may feel they can fulfill their potential and not feel confined in a sociopolitical strait jacket. The Texan image still appeals to those with an entrepreneurial and self-reliant spirit.

    Undoubtedly, nurses and doctors are overwhelmed by the medical needs of drug addicts. Their lifestyle may result in multiple ailments as a result of drug addictions. As with any professional, job satisfaction comes from meeting a variety of challenges that allow career advancement. Some addicts also develop mental health issues, some of which may include violence.

    If a professional is often managing issues related to one aspect of their field they may feel frustrated, believing they’re not exercising their full potential.

    I do not know if my conjectures are accurate, but if I were a physician or nurse in today’s world, I’d look for jobs where I had both interesting challenges and a variety of opportunities to advance my skills and satisfaction level.

    Vancouver may have many underlying issues that would lower its appeal to those who are marketable and can find better working conditions and less potentially threatening cases to manage.

    The shortage of physicians and nurses, including other professionals whose services are in demand, may only be a symptom that cannot be cured until the causative factors are resolved. There are some absurdities that are now more common across the continent but may be perceived as extreme in Vancouver and thus underlying the loss of Vancouver’s appeal.

    Most entrepreneurial individuals are not likely to choose to be subjected to politicians’ dictates when they are in fact submitting to the dictates of hypersensitive; short-sighted, self-interested pressure groups. Those groups impose their demands on the entire populace possibly because of self-serving and/or misguided politicians.

    Taxes, once again, are only a reflection of the depth of thought and consequential reasoning that are within the scope of ruling politicians.

    Perhaps the problem cannot be solved in Vancouver because it seems that much of Canada now has the same problems.

    (Response: Interesting rant … but correct me if I missed it, but NOWHERE in your comment do you address the issue I raised in the blog: whether nurses, doctors or other professionals who do leave for other places immediately or shortly after graduation should repay the money BC and Canadian taxpayers invested in their university education????????? h.o)

  21. Leila Paul says:

    You’re right I did fail to address that point.

    The answer is a resounding YES. If people use services partly subsidized by others, they should be legally obligated to repay those funds if they immediately run off to another jurisdiction that then benefits from the investment made by others. That could be another province, state or country.

    I believe I said in my previous post, I believe it should be mandated that the members of Admissions Committees who screen and approve applicants to professional schools, should require that those accepted sign a contract promising to repay the subsidized amount.

    After reading BMCQ’s earlier post, my comment above was really me just thinking out loud, or writing my thoughts on why retention is a problem, either in Vancouver or anywhere else.

    I believe anything subsidized by taxpayers should be repaid if the person does not stay for a minimum period of time to serve the taxpayers or legal residents who paid all or part of their training.

    To do otherwise is, IMO, a form of stealing. The time required to serve in return for the subsidy should probably be based on the amount of the subsidy. Alternatively, the amount of repayment should also be specified at the time of signing a contract. Repayment should also be applied for persons trained in Crown corporations especially those funded with huge grants from Parliament.

    I don’t know how many Crown corporations still exist and have not been privatized. BUT –

    From my understanding, Crown corporations have paid thousands of dollars to train their employees who may also have been paid the full salary of a qualified person when they were not initially trained at their own expense.

    In the real world, students have to pay for their own professional or technical training. Professionals who acquired their skills and education in the real world, at their own expense, are never reimbursed upon being hired by a Crown corporation.

    Perhaps you might consider a blog column on Crown corporations which use taxpayer funds that are never repaid while students in the real world are burdened with heavy debts of student loans.

    My bet is you will not be able to find out how much a Crown corporation pays to train its inexperienced staff even though it’s entirely paid for by public funds – yours and mine.

    And even worse is that the services rendered by some Crown corporations do not fulfill their initial mandate, nor do they appeal to wide numbers of potential users who paid for the service.

  22. DBW says:

    You might not hear this again, but DBW kind of agrees with BMCQ.

    And it isn’t because I necessarily disagree with you Harvey.

    Let me explain. You have suggested a solution to a problem without fully defining the problem. The article I linked and one of the articles you linked back tells us that there is a definite brain drain when it comes to technology students. While there is certainly recruitment for doctors and nurses, I am not sure the problem is as severe as in the tech industry. I found one article that said we were losing lots of doctors in the 90s, but things were better now. And in my profession, teachers do move from province to province but there won’t be many moving to the US.

    Would you treat all three groups the same?

    And at what point do we draw the line. Should any 18 year old taking any kind of job in the US be expected to pay back the taxpayer fully funded public education he got because he never used any of it to benefit Canada.

    And as I stated in my previous post, even if we do get the money back or keep them here for a few years, it doesn’t solve the real problem of retention. If the US is more attractive we will lose those people.

    So that is where I kind of agree with BMCQ (and not with his tax rant). I think we need to look at ways to retain people that go beyond just punishing people for leaving. In the article you linked, the tech people said that Canadians had to be more aggressive in their recruitment – hiring earlier, offering training, pointing out the superiority of their firm and the city where it is located. Your idea, Harvey, may be worth considering, but it is only a small part of a much bigger discussion.

    (Response: I hope the media … local and national … get on to this story: they should visit job fairs at various colleges/universities coming up this Spring and just see the American (and others) recruiters trying to lure freshly graduated health workers. Or start now … going through student and health-focussed publications to watch out for ads aimed at the upcoming graduating classes. It’s a good story … but admittedly, it doesn’t feature shootings, fires, puppies or weather … and does require actual investigative effort … so it may be a hard sell to the beancounters. h.o)

  23. Harry Lawson says:


    interesting discussion by all, very valid points.

    we shouldn’t change the rules midstream on a person’s education , we can at the beginning and and with consent during ones education.

    this is a great exercise to review social engineering ,

    also coming into play yet not discussed is the spaces occupied by foreign students , what effect if any do they have on the spaces ? are we subsidising them at all ?

    Hs much as i agree with you harvey the devil is in the details

  24. BMCQ says:

    Harvey, I hope I am ok with this because contrary to what you state your topic is only part of the actual big picture, I have already stated that I tend to support your premise and the eaf five years commitment, I believe there is a common sense solution to this, but we need to ensure that the problems addressed fix everything .

    This is your Blog and I may be a pain but IMHO this is all part of real concerns people have and why they might choose to leave .

    Spending so much time in FLL you might be very familiar that so many people not just retirees are locating to FLA from New York, people are literally fleeing California for Texas, Nevada, Boise, Texas, and Arizona . While at the same time people are actually leaving Hawaii for Washington and other states . It is all because of Taxation either Personal, Business, and or cost of living including real estate/housing .


    It is not a Sin to agree with me, I agree with you and others very often and believe it or not my track record is very good and unlike most I can prove it, I have the results .

    For the most part I can escape most of this stuff but I want society to work for all of us, as they say, for the greater good .

    The Tax Impediment is a huge portion of the whole reason people choose to leave, that goes along with housing cost, rent, purchase, cost of living, etc. etc.

    We as a society need to create an environment that encourages the so called “Best and Brightest” to stay and because of that the fix means more than recovering Tuition Fees and Debt as people “Run for the Border” .

    (Edited…off topic)

    We might just surprise ourselves and find that many of those young creative highly educated professionals may choose to stay and we may not be required to “Claw Back” their Tuition Subsidies .

    We need to challenge our Politicians from all Brands and all Levels of Government to do better the Great People of Canada deserve so much more than we are getting .

    Enjoy your travels Harvey, Travel Safe and just think, you will be rid of BMCQ for a while .

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