Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

August 27, 2010 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Helping Internationally Trained Nurses Enter the Labour Market

Canada's Economic Action Plan Addresses Labour Market Challenges, Helps to Improve Quality of Life

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 27, 2010) - The Government of Canada is funding two projects that will help internationally trained nurses put their knowledge and skills to work sooner. The Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The College of Nurses of Ontario will receive over $776,000 in Foreign Credential Recognition Program funding for its project entitled Moving Ahead: Assessment of Internationally Educated Nurses – Part 2, as well as its Nursing National Benchmark project.

"The Government of Canada is helping internationally educated health professionals enter the labour market to improve the quality of life of all Canadians," said Minister of State Fletcher. "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are working with partners to develop a common approach to foreign credential recognition. These projects contribute to a fair, efficient and timely system that will help internationally trained nurses find work in communities across Canada."

The College of Nurses of Ontario will work with nursing regulators across Canada to harmonize national registration requirements for foreign-trained nurses, including language standards. The College will also collaborate with partners to develop a model for a future national assessment service. 

Additionally, a database of international nursing education programs will be established to provide for fairer and faster assessment of international education.

"The Moving Ahead initiative will foster greater labour mobility, retention and recruitment of licensed nurses, while helping to reduce some barriers currently faced by internationally educated applicants," said Ms. Laurel Brunke, Chair of the National Nursing Assessment Service Steering Committee, and Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia. "The Steering Committee looks forward to continued support of this initiative and is inspired by the impact it will have on creating a stronger Canadian health care system."

"The College is very pleased with the progress of the language fluency benchmarking initiative to date," added Ms. Anne Coghlan, Registered Nurse, and Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the College of Nurses of Ontario. "Once implemented, the fluency benchmarking project will assist in harmonizing the requirements for language fluency of applicants across the country, and will support the work being done under the Moving Ahead initiative."

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories and other partners, such as employers, to address barriers to foreign credential recognition in Canada. This partnership directly contributed to the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, which was announced in November 2009.

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit


The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications articulates a new national vision, guiding principles and desired outcomes for improving the assessment and recognition of newcomers' qualifications in cooperation with the provinces and territories.

Under the Framework, foreign credential and experience recognition will be streamlined for eight priority occupations, including nurses. This means that foreign-trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized. Otherwise, they will be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience.

The Framework will focus on six more target occupations by December 2012, including physicians and dentists. The Framework is part of the Government of Canada's strategy to have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. 

With the Economic Action Plan's $50-million investment, the Government will:

  • develop the principles that will guide the process of foreign credential recognition;
  • establish standards for the timely handling of requests;
  • identify key occupations that will be the priority for developing recognition standards; and
  • help people who want to come to Canada understand what they need to know before they arrive.

The College of Nurses of Ontario is the governing body for the 145,000 registered nurses, registered practical nurses and nurse practitioners in Ontario. The College regulates nursing to protect the public interest, sets requirements to enter the profession, and establishes and enforces nursing standards.

The National Nursing Assessment Service Steering Committee, which will oversee the Moving Ahead: Assessment of Internationally Educated Nurses – Part 2, is made up of representatives from nursing regulatory organizations selected to ensure representation from all three regulated nursing professions – Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses - and organizations with experience in assessing internationally educated nurses and geographic representation.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions, sector councils and employers, to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) was established in May 2007 to help internationally trained workers receive the information, path-finding and referral services, in Canada and overseas, to have their credentials assessed quickly so they can find work faster in the fields for which they have been trained. The FCRO works with federal, provincial and territorial partners, and foreign credential assessment and recognition bodies, to strengthen foreign credential recognition processes across the country. Internet services for internationally trained workers can be found on the FCRO website at the following address:

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office