Government of Canada helps internationally trained nurses get their foreign credentials recognized and find quality jobs 

News release

May 12, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Nurses are the heroes of the health care system and have shown tremendous resiliency at the forefront of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response. They work hard every day to care for their patients, and their courage and commitment keep communities safe and healthy.

Internationally trained nurses too often face challenges getting their credentials recognized in Canada in order to access quality jobs in health care. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of reducing the time it takes for them to complete their certification or licensure, in order to meet the health care system’s urgent need for nurses.

That is why today, on International Nurses’ Day and during National Nursing Week, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced over $2.3 million for three projects that will help nurses put their education and skills to work sooner:

  • Progress Career Planning Institute received $795,098 to bridge the gap between the requirements for licensed professionals and the existing skills of newcomer nurses to help them successfully transition into the workforce. Nurses will also learn about certification requirements and develop specific skills needed to acquire their licence so they can take up jobs.
  • Touchstone Institute received $799,014 to support internationally trained nurses with an online self-assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence writing assistance technology for diagnosis and feedback. Nurses will be able to use this tool as well as online modules to meet the requirement for official certification.
  • McMaster University received $799,989 to support internationally trained nurses through skills upgrading and individual employment supports, including access to job postings and referrals to employers with available jobs. Employers will also benefit from the project by being equipped with tools to help them hire more internationally trained nurses.

These supports will help newcomers get quality jobs faster, grow their careers, support their families and contribute to their communities as we work to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“Helping skilled nurses find and keep good, well-paying jobs is part of our plan to support Canada’s recovery from the pandemic. Our investment today will help internationally trained nurses get their foreign credentials recognized and take up jobs and will help address the shortage of nursing staff we are experiencing during the pandemic. Their experience and expertise will help keep Canadians safe and communities healthy.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Quick facts

  • The Foreign Credential Recognition Program funds provinces and territories and regulatory bodies to enhance foreign credential recognition processes (e.g. reduce the number of steps to complete the process). The Program also funds organizations to provide loans and support services to help skilled newcomers with the cost and complexity of foreign credential recognition processes, and to provide employment supports (e.g. mentoring, work placements) to help skilled newcomers acquire Canadian work experience related to their professional background or field of study.

  • In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada announced that it will invest $15 million in 2021–22 in the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to scale up and expand existing supports with a focus on in-demand sectors, such as health, information technology and the skilled trades. Up to 7,000 skilled newcomers are expected to benefit from this investment.

  • Internationally educated nurses represent 8.9% of Canada’s regulated nursing supply.

  • More than 25,000 nurses immigrated to Canada in the last 10 years.

  • Half of newcomers to Canada have a bachelor’s degree or greater. Even with their educational achievements, skilled newcomers face a higher unemployment rate than that of people born in Canada and are less likely to work in the regulated occupations for which they have studied.

  • Recent immigrants have a lower employment rate (68.5%) than non-immigrants (82%), according to the 2016 Census. 

  • Visible minority newcomer women are more likely to be unemployed. The unemployment rate of visible minority newcomer women (8.6%) is higher than that of visible minority men (6.7%) and non-visible minority immigrant men (5.5%), based on the 2016 Census.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter

Page details

Date modified: