Ontario Doing More to Further Expand Health Workforce

New changes making it easier and faster for health care workers to register and practice in Ontario

TORONTO — The Ontario government is making additional changes that will break down barriers so that more health professionals can work in Ontario. Doing more to expand the province’s health workforce is a key part of the Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery to ensure people can continue to access the health care services they need, when they need them.

“These changes will bring more health care workers into our health system faster, helping to care for people when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Our government will work with all partners to ensure Ontario’s nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other health care professionals have the resources, support and guidance they need to enter the workforce and continue delivering the care Ontarians deserve.”

These changes proposed by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the College of Nurses of Ontario and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, will support recruitment efforts and make it faster and easier for health care professionals trained in Ontario, other provinces and internationally to register and practice in Ontario.

Changes that will come into effect immediately, include:

  • Allowing internationally educated nurses to register in a temporary class and begin working sooner while they work towards full registration;
  • Making it easier for non-practicing or retired nurses to return to the field by introducing flexibility to the requirement that they need to have practiced nursing within a certain period of time before applying for reinstatement; and
  • Creating a new temporary independent practice registration class for physicians from other provinces and territories, making it easier for them to work for up to 90 days in Ontario.

Further changes, which come into effect on January 1, 2023, include:

  • Requiring health regulatory colleges to comply with time limits to make registration decisions;
  • Prohibiting health regulatory colleges from requiring Canadian work experience for the purpose of registration, with some exceptions such as when equivalent international experience is accepted; and
  • Accepting language tests approved under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) to reduce duplicate language proficiency testing for immigrants to Canada.

Finally, on August 31, 2023, health regulatory colleges will be required to have a new category of registration that can be used to facilitate quicker registration to help safeguard the health workforce supply in the event of future emergencies.

Quick Facts

  • When fully implemented, the government’s Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery will add up to 19,000 more health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers, to Ontario’s health workforce. Over 11,900 health care professionals (including over 8,700 nurses and externs) have been added to the health system since Winter 2020.
  • Ontario is working with the College of Nurses of Ontario and Ontario Health to expand funding for the supervised practice experience partnership program which has already supported over 800 international nurses in getting licensed since January. The province anticipates that by March 31, 2023 another 200 international nurses will gain the practice and language requirements necessary to work in Ontario.
  • Ontario is also working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to reduce the financial barriers that may be stopping some retired or internationally trained nurses from registering to resume or begin practicing, by temporarily covering the cost of examination, application, and registration fees, saving them up to $1,500.
  • The government has invested $764 million to provide Ontario’s nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000 per person.


“The CPSO thanks the Ontario Government for fulfilling our request to amend our regulations to allow for the creation of a new temporary class of registration that helps support mobility within Canada. There is still much to do however this is a good first step.”

– Nancy Whitmore
Registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

“The College of Nurses of Ontario protects the public through the promotion of safe nursing practice, this includes the registration of nurses with the knowledge, skill and judgment to practice safely in Ontario. Already in 2022 CNO has registered more nurses than ever and these regulation changes will further support the increase of safe, qualified nurses into the health care system.”

– Silvie Crawford
Executive Director and CEO of the College of Nurses of Ontario

“The Ontario Medical Association welcomes today’s announcement as a good first step to maximizing the health-care work force. We need more doctors and nurses to care for patients who are returning to the health-care system in large numbers.”

– Dr. Rose Zacharias
President of the Ontario Medical Association

“RNAO is delighted that the province will enable faster registration of internationally educated nurses already in Canada who wish to live and work in Ontario. There are about 26,000 RNs, NPs and RPNs currently sidelined instead of working on the front lines where we need them. To make sure these nurses and others stay in Ontario, the province needs to provide robust nurse retention strategies, including competitive compensation and career growth.”

– Dr. Doris Grinspun
CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

“As we continue to experience health human resource challenges across the health care system, and particularly in home care, today’s announcement is an important step in building our health workforce and ensuring patients get the care they need. Enabling nurses who are here and ready to work, to use their skills and education to care for patients faster, will provide immediate reinforcements and relief to our front-line workers.”

– Sandra Ketchen
President and CEO of Spectrum Health Care

“Like the rest of the health care system, Ontario’s home care sector continues to struggle with health human resource shortages. The steps announced today will begin to help address these shortages. By removing the barriers that prevent trained nurses from working, the government will help bolster our front-line home care workforce and will allow home care to further reduce the pressure on hospitals by providing more care for more people in the right place – their homes.”

– Sue VanderBent
CEO of Home Care Ontario

“Any additional capacity in the nursing sector is welcome news and today’s announcement is an important step in expanding Ontario’s health workforce. The measures taken by the government over the past year have had a positive impact, with some improvements since staffing shortages peaked earlier this year. We look forward to partnering with the government on ongoing investments for retention and recruitment to support the home and community support sector.”

– Deborah Simon
CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association

SOURCE Province of Ontario

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.