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Canada has become a highly desirable location for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) wanting to advance their careers due to the significant improvements in their healthcare system. The shortage of nurses in Canada also makes the country a good place for nurses to decide to work in. Aside from those, the competitive salary, the wide-range of career options to choose from, and the improved lifestyle are just some of the factors that make nurses choose to work in Canada. IENs who wish to work in the country must first take any of the accredited English Language proficiency tests, They must also pass the NCLEX-RN and the CPNRE to qualify for any nursing job in the country.

About the Country

The population of Canada is approximately 36.7 million, with around 260 various ethnic origins documented across the country. As a result, the country is home to a wide range of people, who vary in culture, and traditions, which implies that the Canadian way of life will truly differ from one person to another. In addition to this, Canadians practice a wide range of religions, wherein more than 20% of the population claims to have no religion. Canadians also embrace essential values, which include pride, equality and diversity, as well as respect for all people. These principles are what distinguishes Canada as a welcoming, peaceful, and safe place to live in. Therefore, there is no doubt why the US News & World Report named Canada as the third best country in the world in 2018 and 2019, which is due to the access to education, long life expectancy, and low crime and violence rates in the country. Aside from these, Canada also has a universal healthcare system.

To add up to the many reasons on why you should work in Canada, there is also a great number of Filipino nurses in Canada. In fact, the Philippines remains as the greatest source of healthcare workers, particularly nurses, in the country. The country hires Filipino nurses due to their caring nature, as they are empathetic and kind, which are important characteristics in being a nurse.

Type of Nurses

The most common types of nurses in Canada are Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN). 

Registered Nurse (RN)

To be a registered nurse, you must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree of nursing. AN RN is responsible for attending to and caring for patients, and dispensing drugs to patients. They are the only group of nurses who are allowed to work with prohibited drugs.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Licensed practical nurses provide hands-on care to patients, and are under the supervision of RNs. Most of the licensed practical nurses offer basic bedside care, and they are often in charge of recording the patient’s vital signs, such as the temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and administer injections and enemas, provide alcohol rubs and massages, apply cold packs and hot water bottles, keep an eye on catheters and repair wounds.

Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)

A Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) is a professional who provides direct care to people suffering from mental illness, physical and developmental impairments, and addictions. In addition, an RPN promotes mental health in both community and clinical settings.


The salary of a nurse in Canada is highly dependent on their qualifications and experiences, as well as their area of specialization. Another factor that may affect their salary rate would be the state or province where they work. Among all the provinces in Canada, Alberta remains as the highest paying province for RNs in the country. RNs in Alberta earn an average salary of $89,972 (₱3,920,319.51) annually, or an hourly rate of $42.52 (₱1,852.71). 

According to, nurses in Canada have an average annual salary of $69,122 (₱3,011,829.52) or an average hourly rate of $35.45 (₱1,544.65). Entry-level nurses often acquire an initial annual salary of $54,030 (₱2,354,230.91), whereas they could earn as much as $82,877 (₱3,611,171.48) yearly as they gain more experience.

Demand for Nurses

A total of 191,100 vacant nursing jobs are expected to be available within 2019-2028, due the demands in expansion and replacement. It is predicted that the labor shortage conditions will continue to persist within these years as the expected number of job openings remains greater than the expected number of job seekers. 

The availability of vacant nursing jobs would also depend on the state or province you apply in. For instance, there are many potential job opportunities for nurses in Ontario, which is the biggest province in Canada, as compared to the smaller provinces in the country.


here are various types of hospitals in Canada. These include general public hospitals, special public hospitals, and private hospitals. General public hospitals and special public hospitals are managed by the provincial jurisdiction.

Some hospitals in Canada include Toronto General Hospital, North York General Hospital, Rockyview General Hospital, Jewish General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital, and Vancouver General Hospital.

In order to be able to work as a nurse in the Canada, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

 If you aspire to work as a nurse in Canada, you must be a holder of a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing from any accredited nursing education program in your country of education. You must also have a nursing license from any institution that is recognized by Canada.

Credential Evaluation

In order to be eligible to work in Canada, the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) will first assess your education credentials on whether it is equivalent to the nursing education programs in the country. The documents that are required by the NNAS are educational documents, a photo of your valid ID (notarized and with signature thereon), registration in nursing council in the country of origin, employment forms, and English language proficiency test reports. The licensing authorities must be the one to send your registration documents to the NNAS, while your previous employer within the last 5 years must be the one to complete the employment form and submit it to NNAS. Ensure that all the documents are in either English or French; if not, have it translated before submitting them. The copies of the certificates you will submit must be notarized, and the telephone number and address of notary must be indicated. A fee of $650 is required for this process.


It will be easier for you to migrate and find a job in Canada if you have a minimum of two to five years of experience in the field of nursing.


English Language Proficiency Test

In order to work in Canada as a nurse, you may choose to take the Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN), or the International English Testing System (IELTS) to prove your proficiency in the English language. Knowing English increases your chances of acquiring a job in the country, because it is the language that you will need to speak in with your patients and co-workers. 

Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN)

The four sections in the CELBAN are Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Reading. Nurses must obtain a minimum score of 7 in writing, a minimum score of 8 in speaking, a minimum score of 10 in listening, and a minimum score of 8 in reading. 

You may learn more about the test on the CELBAN website

International English Testing System (IELTS)

The four sections in the IELTS – Academics are Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Reading. In order to work in Canada, nurses must obtain a score of at least 7 in the writing, and speaking sections. A nurse must acquire a minimum score of 7.5 in the listening section, and a minimum score of 6.5 in the reading section. Lastly, an overall score of 7 must also be obtained. 

You may learn more about the test on the IELTS website.

National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)

Foreign-educated registered nurses are required to take the NCLEX-RN exam if they hope to work in Canada. The exam aims to determine your fitness to work as a nurse in the country. Foreign nurses may have the option to take the test in their country of origin or in Canada.

Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE)

The CPNRE is taken by practical nurses who aspire to work in Canada. The CPNRE is an exam that aims to assess whether the entry-level practical nurse is capable of practicing safely and effectively. The exam will evaluate your knowledge of practical nursing principles and content, and your ability to apply the said knowledge in particular healthcare situations that are provided in the exam. The test is taken in the form of a Computer Based Test (CBT). 

In order to take the exam, you must apply and schedule an appointment with Pearson VUE. Once you have received your confirmation and the Authorization to Test (ATT), you could proceed to take the exam in your assigned test center.

Learn more about the CPNRE on their website.


 Once you receive the report of your credentials evaluation from the NNAS, send this to the state regulatory agency that you desire to work in. The state regulatory agency will next evaluate if you are qualified and knowledgeable enough to enter Canada. If you did not meet the requirements set, they may tell you to complete any course to fulfill the requirements. 

If everything goes well, you’ll be able to register as a registered nurse (RN), a licensed practical nurse (LPN), or a registered licensed practical nurse (RPN) with the Canadian Nurses Association (CAN) or the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulator (CCPNR), respectively. 

Have your credentials assessed and take the necessary exams to be eligible to work as a nurse in Canada. Prior to submitting your application, make sure that you meet the educational requirements and other standards, to prevent any delays in the process. It will all be worth it once you have been approved to work as a nurse in the country. Good luck!


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