Government of Canada Announces Support to Help Address Workforce Challenges and Retention in Nursing Field

News release

April 20, 2023 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

For over three years, Canada’s health workers, including those working in public health, have been challenged like never before. This has led to unprecedented levels of burnout, absences, and turnover. These workforce challenges are not only affecting the hard working health workers we rely on, they are also affecting patients who are experiencing long wait times for surgeries, emergency room closures, and difficulty accessing family health services.

We know that without a sustainable, efficient, and resilient health workforce, Canadians cannot access and receive the quality care they need, when and where they need it

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories, as well as the Coalition for Action for Health Workers and other key partners to address health workforce challenges. Budget 2023 outlined the Government of Canada’s plan to invest close to $200 billion to improve health care for Canadians, which includes a focus on efforts to support a resilient health workforce through retention, recruitment, and planning. Additionally, it will support more team-based models of care and leverage new technologies to transform the health system in order to address the health workforce crisis.

As Canada's largest group of health professionals with more than 400,000 members, nurses are critical to Canada's health care system. That is why, building on Budget 2023 investments and to further support nurses specifically, today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced $2.4 million to the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) to support the implementation and evaluation of a National Nurse Residency Program.

This program, which includes competency-based workshops and mentorship, aims to support newly graduated registered nurses (RNs) by helping them effectively manage the transition from classroom to workplace. This national program, which runs until March 2027, is expected to improve the retention of newly graduated nurses in Canada and will include an evaluation component to fully assess its impact in this space.

While this initiative will help address workforce issues in the nursing field, the Government of Canada will continue working with provinces, territories, and key nursing partners to identify solutions to longstanding challenges so that nurses across Canada can continue their critical work of keeping Canadians healthy and safe.


"Improving our health care system includes addressing the challenges our nurses face across the country. This investment will help many nurses feel supported which will lead to better retention and recruitment. This in turn will help strengthen health care for all Canadians, as nurses play a crucial role in our daily wellbeing.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“New nurses need adequate supports to be successful as they integrate into the practice environment. CASN's residency program is essential in ensuring that new nurses are retained in the health workforce. Providing a robust residency program for new nurses will foster professional growth and nurture a culture of continuous learning for ongoing professional success.”

Dr. Leigh Chapman
Chief Nursing Officer of Canada

“Canada’s health care system is experiencing unprecedented nursing shortages due to unsustainable working conditions and the increasing demands facing new graduates. CASN is confident that a national residency program for new nurses will help integrate nursing graduates into health care delivery and support the creation of a more sustainable workforce. We are looking forward to working with Health Canada, employers across Canada, health care institutions, preceptors, and new nurses, to implement a national residency program that produces residency-trained nurses who are safer, more competent, and retainable.”

Cynthia Baker
Executive Director, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing

Quick facts

  •  CASN is the national voice for nursing education, research and scholarship, and represents baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs across Canada. CASN's mission is to lead nursing education and nursing scholarship in the interest of healthier Canadians.

  • The National Nurse Residency Program anticipates partnership with over 15 employers across Canada – including acute care hospitals, health authorities, specialty hospitals, and long-term care centres.

  • The Government of Canada is taking a leadership role to address the health workforce crisis and is moving forward with other actions, including:

    • Budget 2023 outlines the Government's plan to provide close to $200 billion over 10 years to improve health services;
    • Budget 2023 proposes $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions, as federal, provincial, and territorial governments work together on how best to support recruitment and retention;
    • Budget 2023 also proposes to provide $45.9 million over four years, starting in 2024-25, with $11.7 million ongoing, to Employment and Social Development Canada to expand the reach of the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness program to more rural communities;
    • As part of Budget 2023 funding commitments, provinces and territories have been asked to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance multi-jurisdictional credential recognition so that Canada’s well-trained health care professionals can work wherever there is need;
    • On November 1, 2022 the federal government announced the establishment of a Coalition for Action for Health Workers that provides advice to inform immediate and longer-term solutions to address significant health workforce challenges;
    • On September 23, 2022, the federal government announced that it would introduce measures to facilitate the entry of foreign national physicians as permanent residents through Canada’s federal economic immigration programs managed through the Express Entry system;
    • On August 23, 2022, Health Canada announced that it had appointed Dr. Leigh Chapman as Chief Nursing Officer, to look at pan-Canadian nursing issues and provide strategic advice to Health Canada on priority policy and program areas; 

Associated links


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Public Enquiries:

Media Relations
Health Canada

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