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Ontario seeking ways to expedite application process for foreign nurses

The Canadian province of Ontario is seeking ways to recognize the educational credentials of internationally trained nurses more quickly. Ontario’s premier Doug Ford has given the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) two weeks’ time to make this happen. Ontario desperately needs more nurses and is exploring all possible ways to bring in more nurses to the province. Ontario’s premier wants the College of Nurses of Ontario, the professional governing body of nurses to find ways for a faster and rapid process for registering internationally-trained nurses so that they can practice in Canada.

Despite the premier’s push, it has to be remembered that CNO is already setting record with regard to speeding up the accreditation process of nurses. As on June 21, Ontario had added a total of 3927 new internationally trained nurses to its workforce, which means an increase by 132 per cent.

Demand for nurses

Ontario’s hospitals are facing a huge shortage of nurses. Nearly 25 hospitals closed down during the last long weekend owing to the shortage of staff. The staff shortage has also led to emergency room and hospital wait times, in some cases stretching out from hours to days.

Ontario has added 10500 healthcare workers since the onset of the pandemic. They include 7000 nurses and 2400 personal support workers. But still the province needs more staff in huge numbers to meet the demand. Major job sites are also predicting huge shortage of nurses in the province in the coming decade.

Ontario’s efforts to recruit foreign nurses

CNO is taking some serious efforts to modernise its applicant assessment processes with an aim to improve the systems and processes, so that the applicants can safely enter the practice and support the healthcare system of Ontario.

Earlier this year, CNO launched the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP) in partnership with Ontario Health. The program allows applicants to get their evidence of practice and language proficiency requirements and have those matched with Ontario employers. The program has been effective in helping nurses find jobs in Ontario.

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