Ontario's internationally educated nurses and waste in human capital

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To analyse critically the waste in human capital of Ontario's internationally educated nurses resulting from unemployment or underemployment.


Globalization of the nursing workforce is resulting in more and more internationally educated nurses migrating to Canada every year. In Ontario, internationally educated nurses represent 11% of the total nursing workforce but many are unable to become registered in Ontario. According to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), 40% of internationally educated nurse applicants never complete the application process and thus never become Registered Nurses in Ontario. Systemic barriers that prevent registration in Ontario can result from any of the seven requirements for completing the application process. The inability of internationally educated nurses to become registered is significant, considering the national and global nursing shortage. In addition, the inability to become registered results in tremendous waste of human capital, especially in developing countries that have invested financially in educating nurses. Although several programmes have been implemented in Ontario for internationally educated nurses, barriers exist in the design and administration of these programmes, and these are described.

Data source:

An opinion piece of international interest and a human interest piece.


Internationally educated nurses face significant barriers, which prevent their integration into the Ontario healthcare system. Several policy and management strategies are outlined that could be implemented to ease their integration into the Ontario healthcare system.

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