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Nursing in Canada

We have compiled a concise guide to the process with links to all our sources. This should give you all you need to embark on your application process.


In order to work in Canada as a Registered Nurse, an overseas-trained nurse needs to:


 - Overview
 - Licensing Requirements  
 - Language Requirements
 - Visa Application


Canadian Nursing Boards



Canada has had a publicly funded system of hospital and medical care since 1968. The majority of nurses work within the publicly funded sector of health care, a minority work in the private sector and a small number of nurses are self-employed. Healthcare in Canada is a provincial jurisdictional area, therefore to apply for work as a nurse in Canada, you must apply directly to the individual employer.


The Canadian Hospital Association publishes a large directory that lists and gives addresses for hospitals, health centres, nursing homes, health associations and health education programs. This directory may be available through a public library or Canadian Consulate.


Canada is experiencing a nursing shortage like many other countries in the world. Nurses with skills and experience in specialty areas (e.g., emergency, critical care and operating room) and those willing to work in smaller communities or isolated communities are the most in demand.


Licensing Requirements

In order to practise nursing in Canada, you must be licensed or registered in the province or territory in which you will work. Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of Québec, require that you write the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination as part of the registration or licensure process. At present, this examination can only be written in Canada on the recommendation of a provincial or territorial nurses association.


The Canadian Nurses Association publishes The Canadian RN Exam Prep Guide, which you will find useful in preparing for the exam. Québec nurses have their own exam.

For more information:


Language Requirements

You require language proficiency to become registered or licensed in Canada. Bilingualism (French and English) is an asset. If you wish to practise in Québec, you must have knowledge of French. In New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario, candidates must be proficient in either French or English. Employment and nursing education programs for unilingual French speaking nurses are available in Québec and in certain areas in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario. In these provinces the Canadian RN exam may be written in either French or English. In the other provinces and territories of Canada proficiency in English is the requirement.


Visa Application

Contact your nearest Canadian Consulate for information regarding immigration or visas. It is very likely that an offer of employment will be required.










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