Edmonton, Alberta — November 14, 2014
Internationally educated nurses (IENs) will soon have a single entry point when they apply for licensure to practice in Canada. The Honorable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Multiculturalism, announced funding through the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to support the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), a non-profit organization comprised of the 22 member boards of all licensed practical nurse (LPN) (registered practical nurse in Ontario), registered nurse (RN), and registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) regulatory bodies in Canada, with the exception of Quebec and the Territories.
“We have a vision of providing a single web-based portal which allows easy access for international nurse applicants interested in becoming regulated nursing professionals in Canada,” says NNAS board chair Mary-Anne Robinson. “International recruitment is an important factor in maintaining the strong nursing workforce needed to meet the health needs of Canadians now and in the years ahead. The nursing professions appreciate the government’s funding support which will allow us to develop, test and establish a sustainable nursing assessment service in Canada.”
The mandate of NNAS is to improve and streamline the process of assessing the eligibility for registration to practice as a nurse in any Canadian province or territory. A third party vendor, CGFNS International of Philadelphia, was awarded the contract to provide IEN application and assessment services to the NNAS.
￼International applicants will be able to obtain information from a single bilingual NNAS website and enter a web portal to one harmonized application form. The regulators will gain access to a team of highly qualified assessment experts using a consistent methodology and to a national IEN database for statistical tracking.
“The new web-based portal will speed up the application process for the internationally educated nurses and create a common national approach among the regulatory bodies,” says Robinson. “Each regulatory body ultimately determines whether or not an individual obtains a license to practice in their jurisdiction but the initial steps will be streamlined.”
The new system will start with a pilot phase beginning in August 2014 and it is expected that all nursing regulatory bodies will be using the service early in 2015.
The NNAS became an incorporated, non-profit organization in June 2012. Its membership consists of the member boards of all LPN, RN, and RPN regulatory bodies except Quebec. The Territories currently do not conduct initial assessment of international applicants. NNAS is governed by a 12 member board of directors representing all three regulated nursing groups.