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Ontario’s Nursing Shortage Risks Putting Healthcare System On Life Support

By cvf, 05/17/2024


Ontario’s shortage of nurses is even more dire than previously thought and growing worse, reveals a report obtained by Canadian Press.

It shows the shortage of nurses in Canada’s most populous province has more than doubled in the past two years, swelling from 6,000 in 2022 to a projected 13,200 by the end of this year.  

By 2027, the shortage of nurses in Ontario is expected to hit 20,700 and then keep on worsening and reach 33,200 vacant positions by 2032.

Under that scenario, the nursing shortage in Ontario would have increased to more than fivefold from its 2022 level in only a decade.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has recognized the vital role nurses play in the healthcare system and the acute shortage of these professionals.


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He has asked the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to find ways to recognize the educational credentials of internationally-trained nurses more quickly.

“We’re in need of more nurses, as many as we can get,” Ford has said. “We’re throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this.”

The Job Bank job-hunting and career-planning website has been sounding the alarm for years already over the paucity of nurses in Canada and the growing shortage, forecasting a growing shortage of 11,700 more vacancies for registered and psychiatric nurses, 1,500 licensed practical nurses, and 700 nurse practitioners by 2031.

That’s a total of 13,900 more vacant nursing positions by that time despite growing international immigration and recruitment by both the federal and provincial levels of government for more healthcare workers in Canada.

“For registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, over the period 2022-2031, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 155,400, while 143,700 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them,” forecasts Job Bank.

Immigration Changes

Under changes made to Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program of the Express Entry system in November last year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) added 16 new jobs to its list of eligible occupations under that worker immigration program.

That increased the number of eligible occupations under the FSW on the same day the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 came into effect at the IRCC to 370.

The move included nurse aides and orderlies in the list of eligible occupations under the FSW and came in the wake of a call by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to prioritize human resources in the healthcare sector and help address nursing shortages across the country. 

“We are seeing patients in Canada facing longer and longer wait times for medical and surgical procedures, while also facing increasing challenges to access the care they need,” said Sylvain Brousseau, president of CAN, back in 2022.

“Just over these past few weeks, we have witnessed many stories of emergency departments shutting down or reducing their hours of operation in many parts of the country. The reason for this crisis is very clear: Canada is facing a severe health workforce crisis and nursing shortages.”

Internationally-Educated Nurses Can Apply For Permanent Residence In Canada

The nurses’ association has gone so far as to state the sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system could not be maintained without further investment in the healthcare workforce.

Foreign nationals with the qualifications to work in Canada as nurses can use their expertise to seek out jobs here and gain their permanent residency through the many economic immigration programs at the federal and provincial levels, including through the Express Entry system, one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or the Skilled Worker program in Quebec.

Through the Express Entry system, nurses can often qualify for the FSW, provided their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) profile scores highly enough.

Nurses can also qualify to come to Canada through the Skilled Worker program in Quebec if they score 50 points or more on the province’s selection grid.

Registered nurses who hold a university degree in nursing, registered psychiatric nurses who hold a bachelor’s or post-grad degree in psychiatric nursing, and licensed practical nurses, or registered practical nurses in Ontario, with post-secondary diplomas in nursing, are all welcome in Canada.

The first step for a nurse eyeing Canada as a destination for immigration is to have his or her academic credentials evaluated to see if they are up to Canadians standards.

The Canadian government recognizes five organizations for the assessment of foreign educational credentials:

  • World Education Services (WES);
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS);
  • Comparative Education Service (CES);
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), and;
  • International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).

Once the educational and background checks have been completed, the next step is for the prospective immigrant to have those nursing credentials recognized in Canada by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), a step that costs US$650.

The second step in the process for the foreign national looking to immigrate to Canada as a nurse is to create a profile on the NNAS application page.

That requires:

  • the submission of two pieces of identity that must be notarized, copes of original documents that have been signed, dated and stamped;
  • a completed nursing education form that can be downloaded from the website filled out, and signed before being sent to the school where the nurse was educated for that school’s officials to complete and then send directly to NNAS along with academic records or transcripts, course curriculum and course descriptions and syllabi;
  • submission of the nursing registration form which is to be sent to the nursing licensing authority where the nurse is currently registered in his or her home country;
  • the nursing practice/employment form which must be signed and sent to all employers the nurse has had over the past five years for them to complete and send to NNAS, and;
  • the prospective applicant for immigration’s IELTS language testing results, which must be sent directly to NNAS from an approved language-testing organization or company.

Nurses Must Submit Applications To The Appropriate Provincial Associations

After that has been done and the documents have been received by NNAS, the nurse can submit his or her application and pick the nursing group and provincial association to which they wish to apply.

These include:

  • British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals and Midwives;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta;
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association;
  • Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Nurses of Ontario;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec;
  • Nurses Association of New Brunswick;
  • Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Nova Scotia College of Nursing;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Northwest Territories, Registrar, Professional Licensing, Health and Social Services;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Nunavut, Department of Health;
  • Yukon Registered Nurses Association, and;
  • Government of Yukon, Yukon Department of Community Services.

The post Ontario’s Nursing Shortage Risks Putting Healthcare System On Life Support appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..

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