Evaluation of Nurses’ credentials for the purpose of employment in Canada

Canada is in the grip of a serious shortage of registered nurses that by all accounts will grow worse in years to come. The most comprehensive national study, published by the Canadian Nurses Association, predicts a shortage in Canada (except Quebec) of between 59000 and 113000 by 2011.Quebec, which has a nurses association separate from the Canadian Nurses Association, predicts its own shortage of 11000 nurses between 2001 and 2015. The Canadian Nurses Association’s study was based on figures up to 1997, and its predictions are now considered conservative.The latest (1998) figures—released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (a national, not for profit organisation), the Canadian Nurses Association, and Statistics
The number of jobs in nursing will increase in the future because the demand is increasing as a result of:

  • An aging population. The fastest growing segment of the Canadian population is the age bracket over 85 years.
  • Increase in the acuity of patients in hospital. The number of people who are sicker and in need of skilled care from a registered nurse is growing.
  • More health care being delivered outside the hospital setting

Where do nurses work in Canada?

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.

Psychiatric Nurse

Registered psychiatric nursing is recognized as one of types of nursing in the 4 western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
In all other provinces the mental health nursing professional would be a registered nurse (RN) with a mental health specialty
A registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) can practice mental health nursing.
A registered nurse (RN), however, can practice in many areas including psychiatric and mental health nursing, acute care, oncology, infection control, and many other specialities.

You need to write an examination to become licensed to practise !

In order to sit the licensing exam, you must meet certain criteria. The actual criteria varies slightly from association to association, so it is recommended to check with the jurisdiction where you intend to work. But, general conditions require that:

  • You are proficient in either of Canada’s recognised languages, French or English
  • You have worked at least 1100 hours nursing, completed an approved nursing re-entry programme (e.g. nurses who left to rear children may wish to return to nursing), or have received a recognised qualification in nursing within the last five years.
  • You have good character and reputation (i.e. no criminal convictions)
  • You have completed the ‘application for assessment of internationally qualified nurses’ form, plus paid the fee of approximately CAD $200 at date of writing.
  • Have provided copies of your nursing qualifications


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 Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE) consists solely of multiple-choice questions. For details about the exam, please read the information below.
Each provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada is responsible for ensuring that the individuals it registers as nurses meet an acceptable level of competence before beginning to practise.
The level of competence of registered nurses in all provinces and territories except Quebec is measured, in part, by the CRNE. The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) develops and maintains the CRNE through its testing company, Assessment Strategies Inc., and in collaboration with the regulatory authorities. The provincial and territorial nursing regulatory authorities administer the exam and determine eligibility to write it.
The purpose of the CRNE is to protect the public by ensuring that the entry-level registered nurse possesses the competencies required to practise safely and effectively.

Examination Length

There are about 200 multiple-choice questions on the exam.

Question Presentation

Of the approximately 200 multiple-choice questions on the CRNE, some are presented as independent questions and some are presented within cases. Case-based questions include a set of three to five questions associated with a brief health-care scenario. Independent questions contain the information necessary to answer the questions.
What Is Tested With the CRNE
The following text is taken from the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination Prep Guide (2010). There are 148 competencies that make up the content domain for the CRNE. Each question on the CRNE is linked to one of these competencies.

Begin your Canadian Visa Application Process Today

As Canadian immigration specialists, ICS is committed to ensuring that you obtain the best Canadian visa or immigration service for your requirements. You can set your application in motion today by submitting our Initial Consultation Form  to schedule your consultation with one of our immigration attorneys.

After we assess your qualifications, you will be informed if you qualify. If you would qualify to apply for Canada Immigration as a Nurse, we open your file and proceed with the processing of your application for the permanent resident visa and/or work permit.

Please note that ICS will not share your personal information with any other third party, any information submitted to us will only be used to assess your visa eligibility.

Contact Us