Canada Mentorship Program To Help Internationally-Educated Nurses Get Jobs

Nurses Can Use PASS Program To Immigrate To Canada More Quickly
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Canada is aiming to help internationally-educated nurses more quickly integrate into the country’s healthcare system by injecting $388,000 into a national association’s mentorship pilot program.

“We need a healthy workforce to get Canadians the care they need. That starts with making sure health workers are supported so they can do what they do best: care for Canadians,” said Health Minister Mark Holland.

“This investment will help more internationally-educated nurses (IEN) join the workforce in Canada to help our current workforce and get more nurses into our health care system even faster.”

The new funds are going to the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing’s (CASN) National Nurse Residency Program for a pilot mentorship program for internationally-educated nurses, workshops and training.

“Like CASN’s Nurse Residency Program, the IEN Mentorship Program will be delivered through partnerships with healthcare agencies,” said CASN executive director Cynthia Baker.

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“It will support the retention and integration of IENs in Canada’s healthcare workforce by reducing transition stress and culture shock. The IEN mentorship program offers a cost-effective solution that will help healthcare agencies achieve appropriate staffing levels and decrease costs related to human resources.”

The latest funding announcement on March 14 is in addition to the $2.4 million provided by Ottawa to the CASN in April last year for its National Nurse Residency Program to support newly-graduated registered nurses by helping them effectively manage the transition from the classroom to workplace.

“Across Canada, we are facing tremendous pressures in the healthcare system,” said Yasir Naqvi, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.

“Our government is committed to supporting both the recruitment and retention of this vital workforce and integrating more internationally educated nurses into the workforce is a critical piece of this approach.”

The CASN, which represents more than 450,000 nurses across Canada, promotes nursing education, research and scholarship and its National Nurse Residency Program is a partnership with over 15 employers across Canada, including acute care hospitals, health authorities, specialty hospitals, and long-term care centres.

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Earlier this month, the CASN announced a new toolkit to address the challenges of on-the-job stress, anxiety, depression and even abuse which is causing so many of these healthcare professionals to burn out.

The Nursing Retention Toolkit: Improving the Working Lives of Nurses in Canada program, which came in the wake of growing efforts in Canada to recruit healthcare professionals through immigration programs, focuses on eight core themes with corresponding initiatives that employers of nurses can implement to help improve retention.

The Nursing Retention Toolkit’s eight core themes are:

  • flexible and balanced ways of working;
  • organizational mental health and wellness supports;
  • professional development and mentorship;
  • reduced administrative burden;
  • strong management and communication;
  • clinical governance and infrastructure;
  • inspired leadership, and;
  • safe staffing practices.

Nursing Retention Toolkit Recognizes Nurses As The Backbone Of The Healthcare System

“Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, yet too many in Canada are struggling with their mental health, experiencing burnout, distress and feeling overworked, and unappreciated, causing them to leave their jobs,” said Dr. Leigh Chapman, Canada’s chief nursing officer.

“This toolkit provides nursing leadership and health system administrators with an opportunity to contribute first-hand to making changes in our healthcare system, including improving mental health and wellness supports for nurses so they can stay mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, and so that they can keep caring for us.”

In last year’s federal budget, Ottawa announced plans to invest close to $200 billion to improve healthcare, including support to the healthcare workers retention, recruitment, and planning.

Part of the federal government’s plan to boost the healthcare workforce is an improved foreign credential program for healthcare workers.

In January, Ottawa announced it would invest an extra $86 million into 15 projects across the country to boost the country’s capacity to recognize the foreign credentials of roughly 6,600 internationally-educated health professionals.

“Healthcare workers deliver the care that Canadians need. By bringing in new workers and retaining those who are already there, we can help relieve the labour challenges in our healthcare system,” said Holland.

“This federal funding supports our government’s work with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to have more healthcare workers enter Canada’s workforce and to streamline that process.”

The funded projects aim to:

  • reduce barriers to foreign credential recognition for internationally-educated healthcare professionals by improving the recognition processes, simplifying steps in credential recognition and offering increased access to practice in the field;
  • provide internationally-educated healthcare professionals with relevant Canadian work experience in their intended fields, while incorporating wrap-around supports such as childcare and transportation costs, as well as mentoring and coaching, and;
  • facilitate labour mobility between jurisdictions in Canada for healthcare professionals and internationally-educated healthcare professionals to reduce the systemic and administrative barriers for healthcare professionals who wish to work in other jurisdictions within Canada.

Foreign Nurses Can Immigrate To Canada Under Express Entry Targeted Draws

In May last year, Canadian immigration also launched its occupation-targeted draws through three Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

Canada’s Express Entry system can now target 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture and so there is now a new pathway to immigration for nurses, orderlies and other healthcare workers.

The majority of Canada’s provinces have also been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years but the labour shortages in the healthcare system persist.

“Retention and burnout are some of the most pressing issues facing our industry today and we were honoured to have been involved in the development of the toolkit,” said Terri Irwin, chief nursing executive at Trillium Health Partners.

“To invest in nurses, ensuring that they are supported physically and emotionally in reaching their full potential, is to invest in the well-being of our communities for generations to come.”

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.