there has been a marked increase in both threads and posts to this forum
regarding the process of becoming a nurse in canada, what steps to take to get a canadian nursing license, how to become a permanent resident, which agencies will help an ien find employment in canada and a variety of other topics that do not interest or resonate with the majority of nurses who frequent the canadian nurses forum. as the pink banner at the top of the home page and (oh look!
at the top of the page i'm on right now typing my new thread) clearly states, this forum is for discussing topics that pertain to working in canada, for nurses already working in canada. topics such as provincial union contract negotiations, regional health authorities, access to care, provincial elections, nursing education and best universities to attend, the ever-increasing registration fees we have to pay, and so on.
questions about immigration matters, licensure for iens, finding employment from abroad, lmos, twps and the like: go to the international forum
view threads at top of forum, perform search or post question there-- where the people with the answers are likely to read them. the average canadian nurse knows almost nothing about this sort of thing.
the questions that most iens are asking are all very similar to the questions already asked by countless other iens.
there are very few unusual questions that come up, mostly just a retread of things already explained. so before you post that new thread, please
do a simple search using the search feature at the top right side of the allnurses.com home page. using keywords like "canadian license" with your country of origin after it, "crne", "canadian agency", "canadian twp" and other topics brings up literally hundreds of posts for you to read to see if your question has already been answered. if it hasn't (and it's unlikely that it hasn't, but it is possible) then you can post a new thread on the international
forum to ask it.
there are stickies at the top of this forum's home page
that link members to the websites of all regulatory bodies (called colleges of nursing here, not bons) for the 10 provinces and 3 territories and to a cross-country comparison of wages and benefits. the colleges' websites all contain valuable information about how iens can become registered in that province or territory, including educational and experience requirements, documentation and fees. the cross-country comparison has been compiled by the canadian federation of nurses' unions (most hospital and facility based nurses are unionized in canada) and gives an item-by-item description of what you can expect to earn, how much vacation time you can have, how many hours a year is considered full time, what's included in the benefits packages and a ton of other good information. before you ask questions about those things, look at the stickies!
remember that canada is a large country with a small population and we are not an extension of the united states.
canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass and our population is about the same as california's. health care in canada is a federally regulated, provincially administered responsibility; each province has its own rules, methods and goals. obtaining a license in one province does not automatically entitle you to one in another. our colleges of nursing don't care one bit if you've passed the nclex, because it doesn't mean anything in canada. to be a canadian registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, you have to pass the canadian registered nurse exam (crne) or the canadian licensed practical nurse exam (clpne). studying for the nclex then writing the crne isn't wise, because the exams are very different... if you're coming to canada, do it canada's way.
canada's health care system is a high-tech environment
and the scope of practice for nurses is very broad. we nurses do a lot of things here that aren't even taught to nurses in other countries. if your education is assessed and found lacking, it's because you won't have the necessary skills to function independently in our environment. several provinces and all three territories are now utilizing alberta's substantially equivalent competence (sec) assessment in cases where there are concerns regarding the suitability of an individual's education or experience. this assessment will highlight any shortfalls and ensure that applicants meet the minimum standards to which all nurses are held. (for more information on the sec, please refer to the sticky thread on the international forum home page.) if you can't do the job, why should you be given it? when a province assesses an ien's education, it compares it to that of a new graduate from a local nursing program. everyone is held to the same standard, and the bar is set fairly high. we're proud of our health care here, and want to be sure that providers are competent to function at the same level as a locally educated person. it's nothing personal.
when you decide you want to come to canada
, try to figure out where you want to live and what kind of lifestyle you want. when you ask questions about moving to ontario, for example, there are hundreds of communities in ontario. narrow it down a bit! there are dozens of resources on the web that can tell you about different communities, and wikipedia is one of the best. it offers maps, demographic information, industry and culture, photos, weather information (really important because much of canada is very cold and snowy in the winter) and much, much more. once you have a good idea of what you're thinking and wanting, ask specific questions. you'll get a lot farther that way. other excellent resources for assessing potential new living arrangements are the two big real estate web sites: http://www.mls.ca/
where you can learn about property values, see photos of homes for sale in the area you're considering, and so on. the mls site also has rental properties, but even without looking at those you can get a feel for what rent might be based on the selling price of homes that look comfortable to you. you might also consider reading posts to the canadian forum that pertain to changing conditions in the different provinces. for example, on april 1, 2009, alberta's nine health regions were amalgamated into a single entity, alberta health services. shortly after that, all external recruitment and hiring were frozen. the province has indicated that there is a $1.1 billion deficit in the health care system that will have to be covered, and one of the ways of managing that is to reduce recruitment costs. the vast majority of vacancies (as of august 2, 2009) are open only to current employees of alberta health services, meaning that even local graduates are not eligible. it is important that nurses hoping to emigrate to canada know the current situation in the province of their choice and not what third-party recruiters tell them.
you should also assess your prospects of actually gaining employment in canada. with the state of the global economy still so fragile, vacant positions will not likely be offered to anyone who does not have at least some experience. employers will be looking for nurses who can take on the job and be independently practicing with as little orientation and support as possible, since orienting new staff is very expensive. if you are not able to take on a medical-surgical ward position and be functioning at a similar level to the majority of the other nurses on that ward within a few weeks, then you're not going to be hired. and what would be the point of having canadian registration and a pile of debt associated with obtaining it, without a job to go to? and no, it's not really good enough to come to canada and work as a "caregiver"... that's not considered nursing.
lastly, try to contain your criticisms of the systems in place here
for immigration, assessment and registration, documentation and the rest of the components of working as a health care professional in canada. just as you have very good reasons for wanting to come here to work, we have very good reasons for making sure we get the right person for the job. we're all bound by the same rules and regulations, pay the same fees and have the same complaints about red tape. think for a moment about what it would be like for a canadian wanting to move to your country and how hard it would be for them, if they were even permitted to apply for registration. remember to follow the terms of service of allnurses.com when you write your posts and we'll all get along.
***addendum february 3, 2010:***
at this time most canadian provinces are not hiring. not hiring. the global recession and its aftershocks are still working through the system and provincial economies are struggling to maintain services. canada's health care is a federally regulated but provincially controlled and funded service; it is not immune to budgetary constraints such as hiring freezes and layoffs. it will take years for the health care system in this country to recover from this process. canada cannot be your saviour right now.
***addendum june 29, 2010:***
the preceding addendum remains true today. there have been many bed closures in ontario and british columbia that result in layoffs (or more accurately, positions are being left vacant) and a significant amount of internal migration - canadians moving to other provinces looking for work. in alberta, fewer than 40% of this year's nursing graduates have found work. perhaps now is not the time for iens to be planning a move to canada. if you're still determined, be ready for the expense, the frustration, the waiting and the disappointments.
***addendum march 2, 2011***
nothing has changed in the employment picture. there are job postings in several provinces but experience in the subspecialty is essential. health care budgets are being tightened and posted positions are not being filled. alberta health services is no longer automatically renewing work permits for iens, even those whose positions are highly specialized and their qualifications unique. many of the job postings in alberta continue to be open only to internal applicants - people who already have jobs with ahs. bc has a new premier in charge of their government but their most recent budget did not change the outlook for unemployed nurses at all. saskatchewan no longer has a significant shortage. manitoba's hiring has slowed to a crawl, ontario is facing layoffs and the maritime provinces have also slowed their recruitment. as for quebec, they have their own processes and their own problems. the requirement of fluency in french is a big stumbling block for many. oh, and quebec doesn't treat their nurses well at all - they're paid the least and have the most difficult working conditions outside of isolated northern nursing stations.
canada is not nursing nirvana anymore. if it ever was.