Canada and Brain Drain

Essay by mihirmm June 2006

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Brain drain refers to the loss of skilled intellectual and technical labour through the movement of such labour to more favourable geographic, economic or professional environments. The Brain Drain of skilled workers to the United States is a very real problem confronting Canada today. However, even though Canada does suffer from the Brain Drain, this problem has been grossly overrated and can be dealt with effectively through intelligent and timely government intervention. Such intervention could include combating brain drain through brain gain, taxation, wage and other incentives to prevent brain drain and dealing with brain drain through brain train.

The brain drain in Canada is largely represented by the exodus of better-educated, high-income earners and people of prime working age (Statistics Canada). However, Canada is one of the few nations today that is perceived as one of the most sought-after immigrant destinations. So although Canada has suffered a net loss of workers to the U.S.

in many essential and economically significant services such as healthcare, government service, entrepreneurship and management, the loss of workers is relatively small as compared to the gain of new immigrant workers. In fact during the 1990's, the influx of highly skilled workers to Canada exceeded losses of workers to the U.S. by an approximate ratio of 4:1. (Estimates placed the number of skilled workers that left for the U.S. at about 10,000 while the number entering Canada annually was placed at about 39000). Canada also gained four university graduates from abroad for every one graduate it lost to the United States. The information technology (I.T.) industry in particular, that has experienced a 'brain drain' to the Silicon Valley in the U.S., but simultaneously also has a high concentration of extremely skilled and efficient workers form countries such as India and China, is a prime example...