NAFTA and the Mobility of Highly Skilled Workers: The Case of Canadian Nurses

This article examines the impact of trade treaties on health professionals' international mobility. It presents a case study of the impact of labour mobility clauses in trade agreements on the Canadian nursing labour market. It provides statistical evidence on the impact of NAFTA's Chapter 16 on the cross-border movement of Canadian nurses in the 1990s. We observed that an increasingly large number of Canadian nurses went to work in the United States using the NAFTA facilitation mechanism but that this growth could not be attributed to the trade agreement alone; domestic labour market conditions are key to understanding this cross-border movement. The article concludes that trade treaties and international migration of health personnel do not offer simple solutions to health personnel shortages, but can pose a danger to precarious health systems in developing countries.

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Journal Article
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Estey Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Volume 06, Number 1
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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