- Nursing in Canada
- Before You Come to Canada
- Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada
- Finding a Nursing Job in Canada
- Provincial Regulators
- Additional Resources
Nursing in Canada
In Canada, nursing is a profession with three regulated nursing groups: registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs, or registered practical nurses—RPN—in Ontario) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) in the western provinces. The main differences between RNs and LPNs are the breadth and depth of their education: for example, the length of their programs, their legislation and the procedures they are permitted to perform on patients. Registered psychiatric nurses specialize in the field of mental health and work mainly in Canada’s western provinces.
Licensed Practical Nurses (Registered Practical Nurses in Ontario)
Licensed practical nurses and registered practical nurses are regulated health-care professionals who work in partnership with other members of the health-care team to provide nursing services to individuals, families and groups of all ages. LPNs assess, plan, implement and evaluate care for clients throughout the life cycle and through palliative stages. There are approximately 75,000 licensed practical nurses in Canada, representing the second largest regulated health profession in the country after registered nurses.
The information in this fact sheet is for the licensed practical nurse profession.
Before You Come to Canada
While you are waiting to go to Canada, there are many important things you can do to improve your chances for success.
The FCRO provides you with helpful resources such as the Planning to Work in Canada? workbook and the Working in Canada Tool. Use these resources to find and collect important information and to develop your job-search plan.
You will need to prove your language skills in English or French or be tested. If you will be working in English, you may have to undergo a special language test for nurses. The provincial regulator will specify which tests are required. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.
Your official education, work and identity documents are important. It is much easier for you to gather and organize your documents while still in your home country.
Verify translation requirements. In some cases, you will have to use a professional translation service in Canada.
Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada
You must meet the requirements of the provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body or licensing authority. There will be application forms and your school will be required to send original documents related to your training. You will have to write nursing examinations and language tests, and there will be fees to pay.
Your education and nursing skills will be evaluated to determine if you meet the standards in the regulator’s province or territory. You may also be required to have a specific number of recent hours of nursing work experience. Work references may be required.
You will be required to demonstrate that you were permitted to work as a licensed practical nurse (or equivalent) in previous jurisdictions, and that you are not currently involved in any disciplinary issues. Criminal record checks may be required.
Completion of the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination is required in all provinces and territories except Quebec. Quebec applicants write a different examination. Examinations are held a few times a year and the registration deadline is usually two to three months prior to the examination.
Finding a Nursing Job in Canada
Nurses must be registered to practise in a specific province or territory and they can only work where they are registered.
Some nursing regulators or associations have a job bank or links to others. They may also recommend some commercial job sites. Many hospitals and other health institutions post jobs on their websites. The Canadian Healthcare Association publishes a directory of names and addresses for hospitals, health centres, nursing homes, etc.
Investigate any “bridging programs” for which you may be qualified. A bridging program offers work experience or skills or language upgrading courses to assist internationally trained individuals in their progress toward professional certification.
- Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses British Columbia
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia
- College of Nurses of Ontario
- Licensed Practical Nurses in Yukon
- Licensed Practical Nurses Registration Board of Prince Edward Island
- Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec (in French only)
- Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses