Ontario will be sending about 300 of those nurses to 50 high-need hospitals in the province. They will be supervised to care for patients as they work to gain a license in Ontario. To date, more than 1,200 internationally trained nurses have applied to the College of Nursing Ontario (CNO) and expressed interest in these initiatives.
The province plans to add 6,000 health workers to Ontario hospitals by the end of March. These workers include nursing students, medical students, and other health care students. Ontario, like the rest of Canada, had nursing shortages even before the pandemic. Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, Ontario has activated emergency plans to enable more than 6,700 health care professionals to work in long-term care homes and other care facilities to reduce the burden on hospitals.
Ontario has committed to investing $342 million in recruitment programs over the next five years. This multi-million dollar investment is expected to add more than 13,000 workers to Ontario's health care system, including more than 5,000 new and continuing nurses and 8,000 personal assistants.
"The pandemic has highlighted the need for more staff on the front lines of our healthcare system," Finance Minister Peter Bethlen Favi said. "Our government is committed to doing everything possible to combat this pandemic, to protect people’s health and the economy, which is why investing in the front lines of our healthcare system has been a key pillar of our plan to build Ontario.”
In 2020, there were 20,678 internationally trained registered nurses registered and qualified to practice in Ontario. In 2020, this represents 12.2% of Ontario's nursing workforce, showing an increase of 2% since 2010.
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