How can migration of health workers strengthen the health system?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 12:00to13:00
Event banner with seminar titles and portraits and titles of the speakers

Canada’s universal health system is facing an unprecedented crisis: one in six Canadians lack a primary care provider and health needs post-pandemic are surging. Knowledge and know-how to overcome this crisis have never been in greater demand.

Join us for the fourth seminar in the 3rd edition of the Global Primary Health Care seminar series “Health workers and frontline care in the post-COVID-19 context” which draws on evidence and insights, both local and global, on how to revitalize Canada’s health workforce and primary care. This seminar series is a collaboration between the Department of Family Medicine and the School of Population and Global Health at McGill University.

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from noon to 1 p.m.

Where: Online on Zoom


Margaret Walton-Roberts | Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

Bukola Salami | Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Panelist bios

Margaret Walton-Roberts is a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, and affiliated to the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo. Educated in the UK and Canada, she has published widely in issues related to gender and migration, immigrant settlement in mid-sized cities and global health professional migration. Her current research focuses on the international migration of health care professionals within Asia and from Asia to North America and Europe. She is the migration, mobility and integration theme lead for the Canadian Health Workforce Network. She edited Global Migration, Gender and Health Professional Credentials: Transnational Value Transfers and Losses which was published by University of Toronto Press in 2022. Her latest book, Global health worker migration: problems and solutions was published with Cambridge University Press in 2023.

Bukola Salami is a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Professor Salami’s research program focuses on policies and practices shaping migrant health as well as Black people’s health. She has been involved in over 80 funded studies totalling over $200 million, including matching funds. She founded the African Child and Youth Migration Network, a network of 42 scholars and the Black Youth Mentorship and Leadership Program at the University of Alberta. Her work on Black youth mental health informed the creation of the first mental health clinic for Black Canadians in Western Canada. She has presented her work to policy makers (including twice to the Prime Minister of Canada and once to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health). In addition to being an Editor for the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, she is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and on the Editorial Board of Nursing Inquiry and Qualitative Health Research. She is an advisory board member of the CIHR Institute for Human Development, Child and Youth Health.

Seminar series on “Health workers and frontline care in the post-COVID-19 context”

Across the country and globally, there are visible cracks in the primary healthcare system. In Canada alone, millions lack access to a dedicated family physician or equivalent frontline provider, and unsurprisingly visits to emergency rooms are increasing, further straining an over-stretched system. Central to an effective primary health system is a sufficient number of empowered and satisfied health workers. Instead, shortages of key health personnel, grievances, burnout and turnover have been seen across the country, and globally not only placing the general population at risk but also aggravating working conditions for other health workers. These challenges are due to many factors, including choices about the health workforce and the broader contexts within which health systems function. Learn more about the series.

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