Health Canada

Health Canada

December 18, 2007 13:12 ET

Government of Canada Awards Alberta's Health and Wellness $536,000 to Develop off-Shore Nursing Assessments

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 18, 2007) - Lee Richardson, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced a federal contribution of $536,000 to Alberta Health and Wellness to pilot test an innovative off-shore assessment program for internationally educated nurses immigrating to Canada.

"Projects such as this will help to alleviate Canada's nursing shortage, which in turn will lead to improved care and a reduction in wait times. This is a ground-breaking initiative, in which the Government of Canada is proud to take part," said Minister Clement.

"Canada has a skills shortage and skilled immigrants want to contribute to our country by working in the fields for which they've been trained. We want to help them do that and one of the best ways is to help them get their credentials assessed before they enter the country so that when they arrive, they can find work faster in their fields," said Minister Finley.

Traditionally, internationally educated nurses who wanted to work in Alberta needed to travel to Mount Royal College in Calgary to take the assessment exams. Once this off-shore pilot project is fully implemented, thirty-six nursing candidates will be assessed overseas, with their language, knowledge and competencies measured against Registered Nurse (RN) competency standards. The nurses will be informed of any areas that require supplemental learning.

"I am thrilled that this project is taking place here in Alberta," said Mr. Richardson. "Internationally trained nurses can now be assessed before they arrive to Alberta, so that when they arrive they'll be able to start working as nurses sooner."

The newly funded project is a collaboration between Mount Royal College's Internationally Educated Nurses Assessment Centres in Calgary and The College and

Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. The project aims to speed up the licensure process by enabling internationally educated nurses to undergo a Substantial Equivalent Competency Assessment before they immigrate to Canada. Assessments are taking place in London, Dublin, Dubai, Qatar and elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates.

The overall goal of this initiative is to reduce the length of time between an internationally educated nurse's job offer and their first day of employment by identifying learning that may be required while they await immigration or write the Canadian RN licensing examinations. This will enable internationally educated nurses to put their skills to work more quickly once they arrive in Canada, while providing guidance to other jurisdictions who are considering offshore assessment processes. The project will also increase Alberta's capacity to assess internationally educated nurses with the training of additional assessors.

"We're delighted with this federal support that ensures increased access to nurses educated and registered in other countries who, through our program, are able to continue their careers as fully qualified and fully registered nurses here in Canada," said Mount Royal College President, Dave Marshall. "By working together we can help ensure the supply of health care workers necessary to ensure a high quality health care system in Canada."

The Alberta Health and Wellness project is one of over 40 initiatives funded by the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative of the federal government. The initiative provides $75 million over five years to provinces and territories and non-governmental organizations to address barriers to integration for internationally educated health professionals. The goal of the initiative is to promote the assessment and integration of internationally educated health professionals into the Canadian health workforce. The initiative is an important component of the broader health human resources strategy, which is essential to ensuring timely access to care in communities across the country.

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BACKGROUNDER

Off-Shore Assessment of Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs)

The Government of Canada is providing $536,112 to Alberta Health and Wellness, the province's health ministry, to pilot test an innovative off shore assessment program for internationally educated nurses (IENs) from October 2007 to March 31, 2008.

The pilot project is an expansion of Alberta's successful IEN Assessment Centre. The Assessment Centre currently operates out of Mount Royal College in Calgary and represents a strong partnership with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. The Assessment Centre provides IENs with the opportunity to have their language, knowledge, and competencies assessed in order to prepare them for licensure and employment in Alberta. It reflects a comprehensive approach to assessment and bridging and is based on solid foundational research. It is a model that is being replicated in other parts of Canada.

The newly funded project aims to expedite the licensure process by enabling IENs to undergo the Substantial Equivalent Competency Assessment before they immigrate to Canada. Specifically, 36 IEN candidates who have been recruited to work in Alberta will be assessed overseas (London, England and the Middle East) prior to their immigration to Canada. The goal is to reduce the length of time between an IEN's job offer and their first day of employment by identifying learning that may be required while the IEN awaits immigration. This initiative will enable IENs to put their skills to work more quickly as well as informing other jurisdictions giving consideration to offshore assessment processes. The project will also increase Alberta's capacity to assess IENs with the training of additional assessors.

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Contact Information

  • Media Enquiries:
    Health Canada
    Carole Saindon
    613-957-1588
    or
    Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
    Federal Minister of Health
    613-957-0200
    or
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Media Relations
    613-952-1650
    or
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Office of the Honourable Diane Finley
    Tim Vail
    613-954-1064
    or
    Public Enquiries:
    613-957-2991
    1-866 225-0709