(File Photo)

BC is trying to make it easier for nurses to get work in the province to help deal with the ongoing nurse shortage. 

During a press conference on Monday, January 9th, Premier David Eby and Minister of Health Adrian Dix said they are bringing in new incentives and removing red tape for internationally educated nurses (IENs) to work in BC’s healthcare system.

In their statement, Eby and Dix said that IENs will no longer have to pay upwards of $3,700 in application and assessment fees. Instead those fees will be paid for in full by the province. 

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Premier Eby believes the application and assessment fees are a huge financial barrier for IENs wanting to work in BC.

“Supporting nurses is key to our work to making healthcare accessible to all British Columbians. Still, the demand for nurses is outpacing the supply,” said Premier Eby. 

“There are talented and skilled nurses with the right experience who want to practice in BC and support high-quality care, but they are kept on the sidelines by an expensive and complicated registration process.” 

“Whether a nurse was trained in or out of the province, we are ready to welcome those who are ready to care for British Columbians.”

BC will also be offering support to nurses who are coming back to work after a period of absence. 

The province will be covering the $300 application fee and over $4,000 in support to pay for application fees and some travel costs for nurses getting back into BCs healthcare system. 

In addition to covering fees, up to $10,000 in bursaries will be available to provide education required before returning to practice. 

“By removing the barriers for more nurses to join our healthcare workforce, we are ensuring that people throughout the province have greater access to the health services they need, when they need them,” said Dix in a statement. 

“Our government will continue to take action to recruit and train more healthcare workers to meet the healthcare needs of British Columbians.” 

“In creating more accessible careers for nurses in BC, we are delivering on our commitment to build a sustainable health system for many years to come.”

This funding is coming from BC’s $12 million commitment announced last April to garner more IENs and strengthen the province’s healthcare system. 

Since that announcement, over 5,500 people have expressed interest in moving to BC to work and over 90% of applications in 2022 came following the news. 

Here are some steps BC is taking to bring in more IENs:

  • Bringing in more options to complete a credential evaluation, which currently can take up to two years
  • Removing financial barriers by reducing out-of-pocket costs
  • Updating approaches taken to assess English-language proficiency by updating benchmarks for the language
  • Simplifying the assessment process by having it done all at the same time by one organization
  • Providing paths for numerous nursing roles in BC such as, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and healthcare aides

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