Nurses Can Use PASS Program To Immigrate To Canada More Quickly

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Nurses Can Use PASS Program To Immigrate To Canada More Quickly
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The CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses says its Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) program – which helps internationally-educated nurses immigrate to Canada by offering free, pre-arrival services – is booming.

“From January 2016 to the end of the last fiscal year, on March 31, 2023, PASS has served over 1,425 internationally-educated nurses from 90 countries,” notes the organization in its latest annual report.

“In the last fiscal year between April 2022 and March 2023, 205 internationally-educated nurses joined PASS and accessed online resources.”

The PASS program is designed to shorten the time internationally-educated nurses spend from arrival in Canada to professional registration and employment with most of those immigrant nurses coming from the Philippines, India, Nigeria and the United States.

“PASS has continued to increase the wide variety of webinars and information available to members pre-arrival, including two new modules on indigenous health,” notes CARE.


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“There is no cost to enroll in PASS but internationally-educated nurses must have proof of graduation from a nursing school and a letter of confirmation proving their permanent residency status from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).”

In addition to this pre-arrival services program, the Toronto-based non-profit organization now also offers its Workplace Integration Program (WIP) to help employers recruit and keep internationally-educated nurses on staff.

“Retention is key to solving the nursing shortage,” says Ruth Wojtiuk, the organization’s professional practice lead.

“Recruitment and successful on-boarding are the first steps in internationally-educated nurse integration but our program also gives employers the tools to fully utilize and deploy internationally-educated nurses so that they stay on the job and contribute to healthcare transformation.”

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions quoted a study that projected Canada’s nursing shortage would reach 117,600 nurses by 2030.

In Ontario alone, the province’s fiscal watchdog projects a shortage of 33,000 nurses by 2028


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The federal government has responded to this labour shortage by encouraging immigration to Canada of internationally-educated nurses and also by putting in place programs to help them integrate into their professional lives in Canada.

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 Health Minister Mark 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.”

Canada Working To Make Foreign Credential Recognition Easier For Nurses

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.

That financial shot in the arm was to provide funding to  key occupations like nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, laboratory technicians and respiratory therapists. Through this investment, internationally trained midwives will be able to take their exams virtually, even before they arrive in Canada.

Jim Lai, president of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, was thrilled.

“The Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry is thrilled to receive this support from the federal government to fund the development and testing of a new program to speed up the qualification and licensing of dentists trained elsewhere in the world so they can practice in Canada,” said Lai.

“With the government’s recent introduction of the new Canadian Dental Care Plan, and its policy of increasing immigration into Canada, there are plans to both help Canada’s poorest and most marginalized people gain access to dental care and to integrate internationally-trained dentists into Canada’s healthcare workforce.”

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca 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.