Financial barriers reduced for internationally educated nurses

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government announced a new initiative today to reduce financial barriers for internationally educated nurses entering the health-care system.

The five-year commitment will cover various costs associated with becoming eligible to work in the province for up to 300 nurses each year.

“We have taken several steps to address our shortage of nurses, but we continue our work to make it easier and more attractive to work here,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “Our number of internationally educated nurses has grown significantly since we put our navigator service in place. However, we know there are often extra expenses to integrate into our health system. We are pleased to provide this support which will help ease their financial burden.”

Since each eligible nurse may face different registration requirements, financial support will be provided on a case-by-case basis, after consultation with the Department of Health’s Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals navigation service.

“The recruitment of internationally educated nurses is a key pillar of our government’s Nursing Resource Strategy,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “Encouraging more of these nurses to come to New Brunswick is crucial to addressing our workforce challenges in the nursing profession. We are confident that this support, in conjunction with the work being done by the Nurses Association, will make New Brunswick even more attractive to those wishing to relocate to Canada.”

Costs that may be covered include:

  • Pre-Arrival Assessments, including National Nursing Assessment Services and the cost for the initial application to the Nurses Association of New Brunswick.
  • Competency Assessments
  • Bridging Program Tuition
  • First-time Nurses Association of New Brunswick registration

This initiative further complements changes announced by the Nurses Association of New Brunswick which reduced the registration process for nurses from 14 countries from 12-18 months to as few as two weeks.

“Today’s announcement is good news for all internationally educated nurses who wish to come and work with us in New Brunswick and for our own nurses who will be getting much needed reinforcements soon,” said Denise LeBlanc-Kwaw, CEO of the Nurses Association of New Brunswick. “This announcement demonstrates that real positive results can be achieved for New Brunswickers when all stakeholders in the health-care system collaborate and work together toward a common goal.”

To be eligible, candidates must:

  • be accepted for immigration to New Brunswick;
  • have received a provincial nomination certificate or endorsement;
  • have accepted an offer of employment (or be currently working in the province);
  • be a regulated, licensed nurse in their country; and
  • pursue the licensure/registration process in New Brunswick.

In addition, a permanent resident or citizen whose nursing education was obtained outside of Canada may also be eligible for funding if they have a nursing-related role in New Brunswick and need support to achieve registration with the Nurses Association of New Brunswick.

Employers interested in learning more about hiring internationally educated nurses, or about supporting existing employees, can contact the navigation service online.

“Horizon recruited 93 internationally educated nurses in the 2022-23 fiscal year, and that’s a great accomplishment – a testament to the dedication and creativity of our talent acquisition teams and the great partnerships we are so fortunate to have in this province,” said Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s interim president and CEO. “We want every single one of those nurses to remain with us for as long as possible, and ensure they have every opportunity to advance in their careers, to receive appropriate credentialling as seamlessly as possible, to put down roots in our communities, and to be able to go to work in an environment that values teamwork and mentorship.”

“We welcome any initiative that will support our internationally trained nurses and recognize the challenges they face as they seek recognition of their competencies and adapt to our health-care system,” said Sharon Smyth-Okana, Vitalité’s senior vice-president of client programs and nursing. “Our network is committed to providing a supportive environment for new recruits, whether it’s through the development of our settlement services, the nursing mentoring program, or cultural diversity training for our teams.”

This initiative supports the government’s health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, which has five action areas: access to primary health care, access to surgery, create a connected system, access to addiction and mental health services, and support seniors to age in place.

It also builds on the government’s efforts to support the recruitment and training of nurses, which include:

  • Establishing navigation services for internationally educated nurses.
  • Increasing the number of seats for bridging programs that help licensed practical nurses apply directly to a Bachelor of Nursing program.
  • Doubling the seats in the University of New Brunswick’s master’s program for nurse practitioners.
  • Expansion of the Nurse Practitioner program at the Université de Moncton.
  • Increasing educational opportunities through a partnership with Beal University in Maine.
  • Launching the Step up to Nursing Pilot project; a workplace-based, wage-supported learning model where participants work part-time in the health-care system while completing one of two program streams: from personal support worker to licensed practical nurse, or from licensed practical nurse to registered nurse.
  • Granting conditional approval for two new nursing programs in New Brunswick through Oulton College and Beal University.

For more information contact:

Geneviève Mallet, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour,

Sean Hatchard, communications, Department of Health,