Almost nine per cent of Canada’s nurses were trained in other countries and the country needs to attract more. (iStock)

Funding will help foreign nurses get certified to work in Canada

Canada has a shortage of nurses and the government has announced funding to help foreign nurses get their credentials to be able to work in Canada. The federal government will provide over $2.3 million for three projects to help nurses from other countries get certified and to help meet what it calls the health care system’s urgent need for nurses.

Certification different in each province, territory

Complicating matters is that each province and territory in Canada has its own program for certifying professionals. It can be a very long and difficult process for professionals trained elsewhere to have their credentials recognized. While half of newcomers have a bachelor’s degree or more education they are less likely to work in the regulated occupations for which they studied. They have a lower employment rate of 68 per cent compared to 82 per cent for non-immigrants, according to the 2016 census. 

The federal government has a special program that funds provinces, territories and regulatory bodies to enhance the foreign credential recognition process. It also funds organization to provide loans and support services to help newcomers have their skills recognized. In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement the federal government announced it would invest $15 million in 2021 in the fund. The announcement on this International Nurses Day allocates $2.3 million specifically to help nurses. 

The pandemic has exacerbated Canada’s shortage of nurses. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Attracting nurses part of pandemic recovery plan

“Helping skilled nurses find and keep good, well-paying jobs is part of our plan to support Canada’s recovery from the pandemic,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “Our investment today will help internationally trained nurses get their foreign credentials recognized and take up jobs and will help address the shortage of nursing staff we are experiencing during the pandemic. Their experience and expertise will help keep Canadians safe and communities healthy.”

Internationally trained nurses make up 8.9 per cent of Canada’s nursing work force. In the last decade, more than 25,000 nurses immigrated to Canada.

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