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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Canadian nurses heading to U.S. jobs stopped at the border by new policies

   Canada column for Sunday, March 19/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Making America’s hospitals great again with Canadian nurses has hit a roadblock due to changes in U.S. immigration policies.
   Some of the 400 Canadian nurses who work at the five Metro Detroit hospitals in the Henry Ford Health System have been turned back at the Canada-U.S. border.
   There are hundreds of other Canadian nurses in Detroit’s health care systems that could also be affected.
   The rejected workers said they were told at the border that advanced practise nurses and nurse anesthetists no longer qualify for working non-immigrant TN visas because of policy changes under U.S. President Donald Trump.
   Although U.S. Customs and Border Protection said there have not been any policy changes that’s not what the nurses and hospital officials say.
   It’s estimated that up to 40,000 Canadians work in the U.S. with TN visas that haven’t been challenged before.
   An option suggested to them was to apply for specialized H-1B visas that cost about $4,000 and take about six months to obtain.
   Lawyers for U.S. hospitals say they’ve started hearing about similar border rejections of nurses from across the country.


   A Canadian man of Kazakh origins is fighting a bid by the U.S. to extradite him after his arrest for the massive hack of Yahoo emails.
   Karim Baratov, 22, of Ancaster, Ontario and three Russian nationals, including two men alleged to be officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, were indicted for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.
   The U.S. Justice Department said the two officers masterminded and directed the hacking.
   It said the hack targeted American government officials and involved information from more than 500-million user accounts.


   News in brief:
   - There are reports the Liberal government plans to provide about $11 billion to assist cities in providing affordable housing. The money is from the social infrastructure fund and is to be announced in next Wednesday’s budget. Mayors of Canada’s largest cities have told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau they need that much to counter a shortage of such housing.
   - Prime Minister Trudeau and President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka were among the theater-goers on Broadway for a Canadian-themed play, Come From Away, by David Hein and Irene Sankoff. Set in Gander, Newfoundland, it tells how townspeople sheltered 6,579 passengers and crew from 38 airplanes when the U.S. airspace was closed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar has advanced to 74.97 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.333 Canadian, before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,519 points while the TSX Venture index is 807 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.057 a liter or $4.01 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (March 15) 16, 17, 21, 34, 37 and 46; bonus 3. (March 11) 6, 10, 11, 23, 42 and 47; bonus 44. Lotto Max: (March 10) 1, 11, 15, 20, 36, 41 and 47; bonus 33.


   Regional briefs:
   - Alberta’s cash-strapped government says there will be more money in its budget for a new hospital in Edmonton, new schools and for seniors’ homes and social services. “We are laying the foundation for a return to economic growth,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said. The province was hit hard by slumping oil prices and a massive wildfire in Fort McMurray last year.
   - A Forum poll shows that support for the governing Liberals under Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is slumping in its Toronto stronghold. It found that 36 percent of those polled said they’d vote for Patrick Brown and his Conservatives compared with 31 percent for the Liberals in 2018.
   - It’s going to be up to British Columbia’s next government – to be elected on May 9 – to deal with a private member’s bill that would make it illegal for employers to require women to wear high heels at work. Green party Leader Andrew Weaver said his bill has the support of Premier Christy Clark aimed at preventing falls and other health issues.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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