Starting January 1st, new regulations will be implemented to Ontario’s Foreign Nursing credential assessment that will make it more difficult for immigrant nurses to gain their license to practice in Canada.
This month the College of Nurses of Ontario announced that it will tighten regulations so that those wishing to gain licensing in the province will have to demonstrate that they have worked a certain number of hours as a nurse within the past three years. Formerly, the required nursing experience could be from anytime within the past five years.
The changes will apply to everyone who wants to become licensed as a nurse in Ontario, but immigrant advocates say that foreign-trained nurses will be the ones most adversely affected. Many nurses come to Canada as skilled workers because of their nursing experience, but then are unable to work as nurses upon arrival because of licensing obstacles. This new three-year deadline will put additional stress upon these workers whose skills are urgently needed.
Further adding to the stress is the lack of advanced notification of the new regulations. The College of Nurses of Ontario only advised its current applicants, approximately 21,000 of them, of the changes in September. If their application is not complete by December 31st, they will have to satisfy the new regulations.
The College, however, said that the changes were posted on its website in July and they will help to strengthen the re-certification process, ensuring that the highest of health care standards are met.
“Applying the same registration requirements for all applicants at a certain point — whether the applicant is currently in the process or beginning a new application as of that date — helps ensure that everyone is being assessed using the same standards for registration,” said Bill Clarke, a spokesman for the College.
Source: Toronto Star