Canadian Nurses Working in Detroit Face Hard Decision During COVID-19

Some Canadian officials push for stricter travel restrictions directed at healthcare workers commuting across the border.

Detroit area hospitals, like many across the country, have been strained by the inundation of COVID-19 cases.

“The number of deaths in Michigan exceeds the number in all of Canada.”

The healthcare workforce at many of these local hospitals comprise workers from across the border in Canada. Officials in Canada are now pushing to limit travel across the border to the United States, complicating life for nurses who work in Detroit.

Listen: Canadian nurses working in Detroit are being told to pick a side. 


Amanda Coletta, Washington Post reporter covering Canada, says that roughly 1,600 nurses working in Detroit area hospitals are commuting from Ontario, and Detroit hospitals, already stretched thin, can’t afford to lose this crucial workforce. Coletta says Canadian officials understand the dilemma but are concerned about the health and safety of their citizens.

“The number of deaths in Michigan exceeds the number of deaths in all of Canada,” says Coletta. 

Some are suggesting that nurses working in Michigan coming from Canada should stay in Detroit while working to fight the virus. Nurses who work in facilities in Canada as well as Detroit are being asked to choose a side.

Coletta says some nurses have expressed feeling discouraged at the alienating response from their community. 

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