Photo of a nurse and her patient. Text reads: Helping more nurses practice in BC, faster (

Media Contacts

James Smith

Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)


What people are saying about recruiting more nurses

Susie Chant, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour –

“Nurses dedicate their lives to caring for patients and educating the public about health care. We need more nurses in our province, now more than ever. As a registered nurse, I’m overjoyed that the government is taking further steps to recruit the nurses who were trained overseas and the nurses in this province that want to continue to practise nursing in B.C. Today’s announcement of more supports for them is such a wonderful news.”

Cynthia Johansen, registrar and CEO, BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) –

“Internationally educated nurses face many challenges as they navigate finding employment in B.C.’s health-care system, including a lengthy and costly process to register as a nurse. With support from the B.C. government, the new pathway pilot will remove barriers to registration, enabling an IEN to enter B.C.’s health-care workforce more quickly without compromising public safety.”

Rita Parikh, executive director, Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) –

“NCAS is excited to play a role in improving the registration process for IENs. Using innovative, evidence-based practices, NCAS will assess an IEN’s education, language proficiency and nursing competence all before an applicant goes to the BC College of Nurses and Midwives. Our new process will help paint a clear picture of an applicant’s readiness to practise in Canada and support regulators in making more efficient registration decisions.”

Aman Grewal, president, BC Nurses’ Union –

“The BC Nurses’ Union is pleased to see government building on its efforts to help streamline the process for internationally educated and trained nurses to find work here in B.C., first announced in the spring of last year. We know that these nurses bring valuable experience, skills and knowledge to a health-care system that is in desperate need. We are optimistic these investments to remove barriers for not only IENs, but also those interested in returning to practice will encourage qualified nurses to stay in the profession they love and help to provide care to patients across the province.”

Jennie Arceno, registered nurse and IEN –

“My journey to becoming a registered nurse in B.C. after practising for five years in the Philippines was long, exhausting and expensive. I was inspired to advocate for changes to the system so other IENs wouldn’t have to face the same challenges. The start of this new pathway will surely help more IENs and goes to show how the government is committed to addressing the long waits to get registered.”

Monique Wee, registered nurse and IEN –

“I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get my nursing licence in B.C. and get a nursing job. The changes announced today will make the whole process so much easier and more affordable, which will inspire more IENs to practise in B.C. The knowledge and experience that IENs have will prove to be an extremely valuable asset to B.C. nursing workforce. I am glad the B.C. government values us.”  

Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)
Recruiting more nurses in British Columbia
  • Approximately 700 internationally educated nurses (IENs) and return-to-practice health-care workers are referred to nursing community assessment services for assessment annually, with most workers being IENs.
  • The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), and the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) will launch the new pathway by the end of January 2023. Key changes include:
    1. Introducing more options for completing a credential evaluation.
      • Currently, evaluation can only be done through the National Nursing Assessment Service, which can take as long as two years.
      • An IEN will have the option to have their credentials evaluated by a number of assessment agencies.
    2. Reducing up-front out-of-pocket costs, as eligible IENs have the most significant upfront application costs that can cost more than $3,700 per applicant.
    3. Applying an updated approach to assessing English-language proficiency.
      • Updated language-testing benchmarks will be used.
      • IENs can still support their English-language competency level through other forms of evidence, such as demonstrating experience working in an English-speaking health-care setting or where education was in English.
    4. Streamlining the assessment process.
      • NCAS will assess education, English-language proficiency and nursing competency before BCCNM assesses an application.
      • Having the assessments completed at one time, by one organization, will simplify the process for applicants.
    5. Continuing to provide pathways to multiple health-care roles in the nursing family (e.g. registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, health-care aide).

Information about other bursaries and supports is available at:   

Return to Practice Nurses interested in these supports can contact:

  • In addition, B.C. nurses who are looking to return to the workforce but need to take a competency assessment and remedial education will be reimbursed for relevant financial costs.
  • The bursary will be available for the NCAS assessment; any travel required to take the test; and as much as $10,000 for remedial education, if required.

Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)