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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2000

So-Called Brain Drain More Like a Trickle

In a report released last month, Statistics Canada says the so-called "brain drain" of highly skilled Canadians to the United States remains small in an historical sense, small in relation to the supply of workers in sensitive occupations, and is more than offset by a huge "brain gain" -- the immigration of knowledge workers into Canada from the rest of the world.

Between 22,000 and 35,000 Canadians moved to the U.S. each year during the 1990s, including about 10,000 university graduates, Statistics Canada said. However, 39,000 degree-holders entered Canada each year, with 11,000 possessing a Masters or PhD degree.

The major losses to the U.S., StatsCan reports, is of physicians, nurses, engineers and scientists, but this loss remained very small and constituted less than 1 per cent of the supply of workers in these occupations.

Statistics Canada also found that the movement of post-secondary faculty between Canada and the U.S. has remained relatively balanced and steady, although during the 1990s faculty emigrating to the U.S. outnumbered those moving to Canada by a 2 to1 ratio.

By 1997, the number of university and college teachers emigrating to the U.S. reached a 10-year low.

Full report available at