KAWARTHA LAKES-There are approximately 7,358 internationally trained nurses who have filled out applications and are waiting for registration to work in Ontario as of October 1.
The challenges with recruiting and retaining qualified nurses is one of the issues discussed when members of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Kawartha-Victoria Chapter met in Port Hope recently. (RNAO)
Listen to what the nurses had to say here:
According to the RNAO Ontario needs 25,000 more RNs just to bring the province to the same RN-per-capita ratio as the rest of the country. Officials say Ontario has its lowest RN-to-population ratio since 2004, and the lowest RN-to-population ratio in Canada with just 703 nurses for every 100,000 people. (In 2016, the most recent year the figures are available)
The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) says the RN workforce is more than 60% in the hospital sector. The current RN vacancy rate in Ontario’s hospitals is 16.5 per cent according to data obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. (CIHI) The actual number of RN vacancies – as reported by 62 hospitals to the Ontario Hospital Association – is 4,385 positions. Extrapolated to all of Ontario’s 132 hospitals this amounts to 10,088 RN vacancies in hospitals alone.
“This high vacancy rate is concerning to both RNAO and ONA, particularly given that RN employment lags behind population growth. Between 2011 and 2017, when the Ontario population grew 7 per cent, RN employment rose by just 2.2 per cent.” said a report by the ONA and the RNAO.
The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) says all applicants, whether educated in Canada or internationally, must meet eight registration requirements to become a nurse in Ontario. Read more about that here: https://www.cno.org/en/become-a-nurse/registration-requirements/education/faqs-nclex-rn-as-educational-requirement-for-iens/
The length of time to registration varies since some parts of the process involve applicants or third parties providing CNO with information. The length of time it takes to meet the requirements is the length of time it takes to become registered.
“In 2022, we registered a record number of nurses — including internationally educated nurses (IENs) — into Ontario’s health care system. We are now poised to do the same in 2023.” Kristi Green, Communications CNO told Kawartha 411 News.
Last year, CNO says it registered more than 12,000 new nurses in Ontario; of those, 5,125 were IENs. This is up from 2,456 in 2021 and 1,609 in 2020.
“CNO recognizes the importance of IENs and their contribution to the healthcare workforce. As a result, CNO has made regulatory and policy changes to address key challenges associated with the registration processes for IEN applicants.” Green explained.
One of the changes includes launching the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP) with Ontario Health in January 2022. Since then more than 3,000 applicants have been matched with employers, enabling more than 2,505 nurses to register with CNO. As well, after implementing new regulations to expand eligibility for registration in the Temporary Class, there was a marked increase of IENs registering in this class, which continues to grow according to Green.
The CNO is proposing a new regulation to change the education requirement for RN and RPN applicants from other countries, with the goal of expediting their registration process in Ontario. They say they updated the language proficiency policy to provide a variety of options for meeting this registration requirement.
Ontario’s RN deficit is partly due to the growing number of RNs opting out of the nursing workforce. That number has steadily increased in recent years, growing from less than 17,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2022.