Thousands of foreign-trained nurses can now practice in Canada

Good news for our healthcare system and for foreign-trained nurses. Provincial governments in Canada are reducing regulatory barriers that prevent foreign-trained medical professionals from practicing in Canada.

In Alberta, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, new regulatory processes have shortened waiting times, and dramatically increased the number of applications from nursing professionals trained in other countries. There is an important movement happening across the country that is encouraging medical professionals from other provinces and other countries to consider moving to Canada, or within Canada. Regulatory barriers are being removed, creating opportunities for professionally trained immigrants.

Provinces are licensing a significantly increased number of internationally trained nurses. These regulatory changes would address the critical labour shortages in the Canadian healthcare sector and provide an accessible process for healthcare professionals in other jurisdictions to work in Canada without the burdens of going through unnecessary requirements or extremely difficult application processes.

A brief description of the changes in each province.

In Ontario, new legislation has been introduced, which, if passed, would allow healthcare workers licensed in other Canadian jurisdictions to work in the province without having to register with its applicable health regulatory colleges.

In Alberta, regulatory changes are intended to fast-track internationally trained nurses. These changes include an online application system. The new online application system allows nurses to be processed around the clock and avoid unnecessary duplication if they’ve already passed through Canada’s skilled immigration system. Additionally, a nurse trained in English as part of their program could bypass English proficiency tests. In that case, the new changes will remove lengthy and costly credential assessments that used to be required before writing the international nursing entrance exam.

Similarly, Nova Scotia’s new regulations are also intended to fast-track internationally trained nurses, causing an increase in international applications since the implementation.

Finally, British Columbia has an online application process known as the Nursing Community Assessment Service, to evaluate internationally educated nurses’ educational credentials, language proficiency and competencies. Regulators use this assessment to decide if applicants are ready to practice safely, ethically, and competently in the provincial health care system.

There is also good news for doctors. Nova Scotia and the other three Atlantic provinces are the first in Canada to launch a regional licensing system for doctors – The Atlantic Physician Register. This licensing system will allow a physician to work in the Atlantic provinces for an annual $500 fee without going through an expensive and time-consuming licensing process in each jurisdiction.

Regulated professionals have always had additional challenges when submitting work permit applications. While these changes will make it easier for people to work in Canada, it is essential that they properly prepare their immigration applications.

Contact our office if you would like our assistance in processing your Work Visa.


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