Five Provinces in Canada Making Strides to Recruit Overseas NursesThe demand for nurses in Canada is on an unprecedented surge, heightened by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an aging population.According to the most recent data, the healthcare and social assistance sector recorded a record high of 162,100 open positions as of January 2023.As the demand for nurses grows, several Canadian provinces are actively making it easier and quicker to hire nurses trained outside of Canada. Here’s a look at five such provinces:
AlbertaAlberta is making strides in this area, pledging over $15 million to support and train more IENs.This commitment includes $7.8 million set aside for student bursaries, with recipients getting up to $30,000.Additionally, three universities in Alberta are set to add 600 new seats to their nurse bridging programs.
British ColumbiaRecognizing the importance of a healthy nurse-to-patient ratio, British Columbia has made changes in this regard.For instance, a 1:1 ratio between an ICU nurse and a ventilated patient is now a standard, aiming to alleviate overworking issues and ensure proper care for patients.
ManitobaIn November 2022, Manitoba launched its Health Human Resource Action Plan.The government committed to hire 2,000 more healthcare professionals, invest $200 million in retaining, training, and hiring healthcare professionals across the province, and eliminate mandatory overtime.
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia’s approach to the situation is incentive-based.Premier Tim Houston announced a $10,000 recognition bonus for nurses on March 20.Nurses agreeing to a two-year return of service agreement are set to receive an additional $10,000 the following year.
OntarioOntario is taking considerable measures to attract more nurses.Ontario’s health groups are working together to make changes.Now, nurses trained overseas can start working faster while they get full registration.Also, nurses who had retired or stopped practicing can return to work more easily.Further changes effective from January 1 include setting deadlines for registration decisions, preventing colleges from requiring Canadian work experience for registration, and accepting language tests approved under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
Pathways to Canada for NursesFor nurses considering a move to Canada, several programs are specifically tailored for healthcare professionals. These include the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class under the Express Entry program.The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another popular pathway, allowing provinces to select immigration candidates who can fill gaps in their labor force. For example:
- Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream is open for nurses.
- British Columbia offers a Healthcare Professional category under its Skills Immigration and Express Entry.
- Saskatchewan has an International Health Worker EOI pool specifically for nurses.
- Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities Stream sometimes holds draws inviting nurses to apply for a provincial nomination.
- New Brunswick’s Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) program is a pathway for foreign nurses who can speak English or French.
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