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Ontario & BC eases paths for internationally educated nurses to work in Canada

BC and Ontario paving easier paths for international nurses to work in Canada

Highlights of BC and Ontario paving easier paths for international nurses to work in Canada

  • Provinces British Columbia and Ontario announced some relaxations for registered nurses.
  • British Columbia to subtract application fees and provide new financial support to nurses even after the career gap.
  • Ontario plans to retain and recruit Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals (IENs).
  • Canada has acute shortages of nurses and healthcare professionals across most of the provinces and territories.

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Provinces to ease paths for international nurses to work in Canada

The two provinces, Ontario and British Columbia have been facing severe shortages of Healthcare professionals and Registered Nurses. Planned to remove some barriers and relax some rules for these to work in Canada.

British Columbia alters pathways for registered nurses.

The province to ease complicated registration and application processes for registered nurses. British Columbia has a severe shortfall of Healthcare workers and nurses. The province has planned to hire registered nurses internationally by easing pathways.

British Columbia modifies and removes barriers for IENs (Internationally Educated Nurses) so that they can register with the province.

The alterations in the rules include the following:

  • Removal of application fees
  • Financial support for nurses coming back from practice after a career gap.

What does British Columbia do for registered nurses?

  • The province plans to cover the assessment and the application fees for IENs, which are around CAD 3,700.
  • BC to take care of the costs of assessments and eligible travel expenses for around CAD 4,000 per person for the nurses willing to return to practice after a period of absence.
  • The province allotted around CAD 12 Million bursaries for internationally registered nurses in April 2022.
  • This announcement attracted the interest of around 7000 nurses who have stepped in for the registration and assessment process.
  • Around 90% of applications for nurses were received from the BC College of Nurses and Midwives in 2022.

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Ontario to retain and recruit IENs

Ontario is another province in Canada that has acute shortages of Nurses and other healthcare workers. Hence the province has made a similar move towards relaxing the pathways for IENs. Ontario expanded its funds for IENS recruitment and invested CAD764 million for the nurses to aid them with retention incentives.

The changes were made in October 2022 by the College of Nurses of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Health, & the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

  • To allow the internationally educated nurses to register in a temporary class and start working in the province immediately while working towards their complete registration.
  • To allow retired & non-practicing nurses to come back to the field by providing flexibility to the requirement of these nurses. They need to go through a nursing practice for a specific short time before re-instating their application process.
  • To establish a new independent temporary practice registration session, especially for physicians from other territories & provinces, which allows them to work for Ontario for up to 90 days.

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Additional measures for the IENs registration process that was effective from January 1, 2023a

The measures mentioned above were for a long-term plan. In contrast, the additional measures were introduced effective from January 1, 2023, which helped increase the pace of the registration process for registered nurses.

  • The health regulatory college must comply with the deadlines of registration process decisions.
  • The mandatory requirement of Canadian work experience for the registration process of nurses must be removed when equivalent international experience has been accepted.
  • Approving the language tests under IRPA to reduce the step of expecting duplicate language proficiency testing for immigrants to Canada.

Why does Canada need more healthcare workers?

Due to the aging population, even within the sector, the Canadian healthcare system has been facing severe shortages of professionals in healthcare.

The current staff healthcare and nurse have been facing severe trouble in accommodating the work and have been facing mental health issues.

Canada has a requirement of 151,200 job vacancies under healthcare and social assistance by October, and the number is expected to be more by the end of December 2022.

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