The Ontario government is making additional changes that will break down barriers so that more health professionals can work in Ontario. Doing more to expand the province’s health workforce is a key part of the Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery to ensure people can continue to access the health care services they need, when they need them.
“These changes will bring more health care workers into our health system faster, helping to care for people when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Our government will work with all partners to ensure Ontario’s nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other health care professionals have the resources, support and guidance they need to enter the workforce and continue delivering the care Ontarians deserve.”
These changes proposed by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the College of Nurses of Ontario and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, will support recruitment efforts and make it faster and easier for health care professionals trained in Ontario, other provinces and internationally to register and practice in Ontario.
Changes that will come into effect immediately, include:
- Allowing internationally educated nurses to register in a temporary class and begin working sooner while they work towards full registration;
- Making it easier for non-practicing or retired nurses to return to the field by introducing flexibility to the requirement that they need to have practiced nursing within a certain period of time before applying for reinstatement; and
- Creating a new temporary independent practice registration class for physicians from other provinces and territories, making it easier for them to work for up to 90 days in Ontario.
Further changes, which come into effect on January 1, 2023, include:
- Requiring health regulatory colleges to comply with time limits to make registration decisions;
- Prohibiting health regulatory colleges from requiring Canadian work experience for the purpose of registration, with some exceptions such as when equivalent international experience is accepted; and
- Accepting language tests approved under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) to reduce duplicate language proficiency testing for immigrants to Canada.
Finally, on August 31, 2023, health regulatory colleges will be required to have a new category of registration that can be used to facilitate quicker registration to help safeguard the health workforce supply in the event of future emergencies.
- When fully implemented, the government’s Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery will add up to 19,000 more health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers, to Ontario’s health workforce. Over 11,900 health care professionals (including over 8,700 nurses and externs) have been added to the health system since Winter 2020.
- Ontario is working with the College of Nurses of Ontario and Ontario Health to expand funding for the supervised practice experience partnership program which has already supported over 800 international nurses in getting licensed since January. The province anticipates that by March 31, 2023 another 200 international nurses will gain the practice and language requirements necessary to work in Ontario.
- Ontario is also working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to reduce the financial barriers that may be stopping some retired or internationally trained nurses from registering to resume or begin practicing, by temporarily covering the cost of examination, application, and registration fees, saving them up to $1,500.
- The government has invested $764 million to provide Ontario’s nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000 per person.