February 3, 2021

Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN's)

Many internationally educated nurses (IENs) come to Canada with the hope of a better life.  As part of transitioning to their new life in Canada, many IENs desire to return to nursing and resume their pre-migration career. However, the path to obtaining registration and/or licensure in Canada can be a complicated and lengthy process. Often, they rely on second hand information from family members and friends who came before them. While family members and friends have the best intentions to help IENs get settled in Canada, the information being shared with them may not be current. It is, therefore, important for IENs who are seeking registration in Canada to be aware of the requirements and how they could access them.

In most instances, an IEN’s first stop should be the nursing regulatory body in the province where they are seeking registration. As well, they will also need to seek out information from the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).  In Quebec, IENs will go directly to the nursing regulatory authorities for information on how they can initiate the registration process.  IENs should understand that the registration process and time required to complete it varies from province to province.  Additionally, securing the documentation such as academic transcripts, proof of registration in other jurisdictions, as well as employment records, among others, required by NNAS or the regulatory body may also take time; unfortunately, this is beyond the control of NNAS or the regulatory body. These things need to be taken into consideration as one plans to apply for registration in Canada. 

It is also worth mentioning that there are for-profit organizations and/or private individuals who may promise you assistance in securing registration in Canada. Be very cautious in accepting offers of help from these sources as they may only be after your money. It is important to make sure that you only get help from reputable organizations, typically community colleges, universities, or government-funded organizations that offer bridging education that can help you address any gaps in your nursing education and work experience identified by the regulatory body. 

To help IENs who are contemplating on the steps required for registration/licensure in Canada or who are in the process of determining the next steps in the registration process, we have prepared this powerpoint file that contains the links to the websites of NNAS, the different nursing regulatory bodies, and IEN bridging education providers in Canada. The link provided are current and working at the time this information is posted. If you find that the links are not working, please feel free to Google search the names of the organization or regulatory body.

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Nursing The Future™ acknowledges that nurses across this country live, work and play on the lands of our Indigenous Ancestors and we join our members in expressing respectful gratitude for this privilege.
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