Guide to Practicing as RN in Canada

Want to save time checking out the specific and latest information on how to practice - and subsequently become a permanent resident - in Canada? Have a pleasurable and rewarding reading.

Guide to Practicing as RN in Canada

Written by Crispin Aranda.

Posted on November 2, 2017 | Updated November 10, 2017 | Canada

The Key to Starting a Successful Nursing Practice in Canada

Canada has adopted the NCLEX as the qualifying exam for international nurses (referred to in Canada usually as an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN. That's good. Now, knowing the official, legal steps and requirements to practice your occupation is critical.  For RNs with at least 1,125 hours of practice, registration with the Canadian province of intended practice is a must.  A year of full time employment in our outside Canada is required if a subsequent application for permanent residency is being contemplated.

Like the U.S., Canada does not have one national body regulating the practice of registered nurses.  Each state in the U.S. has its own Board of Nursing, and is a member of the National Council on State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).  However, there is only one national examination for licensure, the NCLEX.

Before one can be issued a license to practice, the foreign RN must be assessed regarding his or her academic credentials, training, experience, English proficiency, and status of Philippine licensure.  In the U.S, evaluation of credentials is primarily through the CGFNS.

In Canada, the national assessing organization counterpart of CGFNS is the National Nursing Advisory Service (NNAS) - http://www.nnas.ca/how-to-apply/

Each provincial/territorial government in Canada is responsible for delivering its health care and regulating its health-care professions. Provinces and territories grant responsibility for nursing regulation to professional colleges and/or nursing associations. Please see the updated links below for the provincial regulatory College or Association you need to contact.

A foreign or international nurse must be licensed/ registered to practice in the U.S.  In Canada, the iEN must apply for registration with the specific College of Association of RNs in the province where one intends to practice.

The Colleges or Associations of Nursing in Canada require an IEN to first have credential evaluation through NNAS which then issues and forwards an advisory report (to a specific Canadian RN regulatory authority) on the eligibility of an IEN to apply for registration.

Currently, most IENs – even those who have passed the US-NCLEX – must have an NNAS assessment and complete a Substantially Equivalent Competency course (SEC) in order to meet the clinical practice requirements in Canada.

To save time and resources for our Florence Nightingale Friends and their families, we have compiled the list of each Canadian province’s College or Association of Registered Nurses with a link on how to comply with the Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC).

If you find this useful, please share the link with your Friends so that others may also benefit.  We have done the homework so you may pass the test – soonest!

Good luck.

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.


ICEF logoPIER logoANZCHAM logoBritish Council logo