Alberta is working to make it easier for internationally educated nurses from the Philippines to be licensed and work in our province.
The departments of Advanced Education, Health, and Labour and Immigration are launching a three-pronged plan to help reduce barriers for internationally educated nurses. This includes expanding nurse bridging programs and clinical placements while streamlining the regulatory process and creating a new online platform to help internationally educated nurses navigate the process.
Advanced Education is spending $3.5 million in 2022-23 to begin expanding educational opportunities for internationally educated nurses.
Advanced Education will collaborate with post-secondary institutions to expand the number of seats in existing bridging programs as early as January 2023. New bridging programs and a bursary to support internationally educated nurses with the cost of becoming a nurse in Alberta will also be developed.
This program is part of a larger government initiative to ensure that qualified individuals entering regulated professions and designated occupations or trades do not face unfair processes or barriers. This includes the passing of the Fair Registration Practices Act and the creation of the Fair Registration Practices Office.
Currently, internationally educated nurses face long wait times and little financial support to be licensed to work in Alberta. A coordinated plan to address these barriers while still upholding the high quality of care expected in Alberta will better support the immediate and future needs of the province’s healthcare system.
Currently, internationally educated nurses face the following barriers in Alberta:
- A time-consuming regulatory process (up to 24 months).
- Long wait times to access bridging programs support the upskilling needed to meet Alberta’s nursing practice standards.
- Lack of clinical placements to support completion of bridging programs.
- Prohibitive costs to attain licensure to practise in Alberta (up to $16,000-plus), along with a lack of financial support.
- Other Canadian jurisdictions, including British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, are pursuing innovative ways to recruit internationally educated nurses to meet their populations’ needs.