May 2nd, 2022

NDP lays out plan for shorter health waits by getting internationally educated nurses to work

MISSISSAUGA – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will fix the system to quickly recognize the credentials of 15,000 internationally educated nurses, and guarantee 2,000 nursing job offers right away to tackle the long, painful waits for health care.

“People are waiting in pain for hours in the ER. They’re waiting months for a surgery they desperately need, while their worry grows and quality of life slips away,” said Horwath. “And internationally educated nurses are on the sidelines, watching as patients wait in pain and frontline health care heroes burn out. We can make sure you get the health care you need by getting internationally trained health care heroes on the job quicker.”

In Mississauga and Brampton, the shortage of frontline health care workers temporarily closed the Queensway Urgent Care Centre in March 2020, and Peel Memorial’s urgent care centre in early 2022.

Horwath and the NDP have a plan to recognize the credentials of 15,000 internationally educated workers quicker, which starts with:

  • Accelerating the credentials of 15,000 internationally educated nurses.
  • Quick job offers for 2,000 internationally educated nurses by immediately investing $60 million to expand the Nursing Graduate Guarantee program.

Horwath said she’s heard from countless nurses ready to practice in Ontario — like Nic Tolarba, who had to spend over $13,500 dollars and wait nearly a decade to have his credentials recognized in Ontario.

“The Wynne and Del Duca Liberals froze hospital budgets and laid off 1,600 nurses. Under the Ford Conservatives, nurses are burning out, feeling disrespected and quitting,” said Horwath. “But together, we can fix it. We can hire nurses, keep ERs and urgent care centres open, tackle the surgical wait list — and end the long, painful waits for all our families.”


Nic Tolarba, practicing RN

“I started working as a Registered Nurse in the Philippines in 2008. In 2013, I immigrated to Canada as a live-in Caregiver as many Filipinos who have nursing backgrounds had to do. I spent years, and thousands of dollars in order to be recognized as an RPN in Ontario. It was either spend thousands of dollars on schooling I had already done, or return to the Philippines to practice. In 2021, I faced similar barriers to be recognized as an RN. I am now finally completing an RN clinical placement, with the hopes of being able to practice as an RN in Ontario. But even then, I don’t know if I will be recognized. The barriers, thousands of dollars, and time it has taken to get here are so demoralizing and unfair. I thought Ontario was in need of nurses. I always hear that hospitals are short-staffed. If we are in a crisis for hospital staff, why are barriers to recognition still so great? I support any attempt to reduce these barriers so internationally educated nurses and other health care professionals can help address the crisis in our health care system.”


  • The Ontario NDP has a concrete plan to recruit, retain, and return thousands of nurses and PSWs province-wide, and remove employment barriers to internationally educated health care workers.
  • The NDP will expedite the process of recognition of nursing credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses so they can get to work faster. The party’s plan includes:
    • The NDP will immediately pass NDP MPP Doly Begum’s Fairness for Ontario’s Internationally Trained Workers Act, which addresses accreditation barriers for internationally trained professionals and will require ministries to coordinate, set targets for accreditation and report regularly on progress.
    • The NDP will immediately invest an additional $1 million annually to clear the backlog of an estimated 21,000 internationally educated nurses applying for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario.
    • The NDP will immediately invest $60 million to expand the Nursing Graduate Guarantee (NGG) program and create a new pathway for 2,000 Internationally Educated Nurses to become registered nurses in Ontario. The NGG program provides extra training for nurses and responds to current workplace demands. It supports RNs and RPNs by providing hospitals and other health care organizations with 20 weeks of funding for the nurse’s training and transition to the workplace.
    • The NDP will create a jobs-matching program to ensure that internationally trained health care workers find well-paid jobs that allow them to practice using their license. This is estimated to be cost neutral.
    • The NDP will increase funding to nursing education programs to increase enrollment and strengthen the future of the health system. An NDP government will immediately invest $1 million in bridging programs to support RPNs to become RNs.
  • Ontario has the lowest nurse-per-capita ratio in Canada, with 665 RNs for every 100,000 people while the Canadian average is 814. The Ontario Nurses’ Association estimates there are 10,000 vacancies for registered nurses — and that would only return Ontario to status quo.