June 14, 2018  — 

Canada’s regulated nursing workforce continues to grow, but the annual growth rate from 2016 to 2017 was the slowest in 10 years. New information from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that Canada experienced 0.7% growth in the regulated nursing workforce last year, compared with an annual growth rate of 1.3% to 2.8% over the past decade. 

There was a net gain of 5,219 regulated nurses in 2017, following net gains of 6,059 in 2016 and 8,363 in 2015. The regulated nursing workforce — those nurses who indicated they were employed in their profession at the time of registration — reached 398,845 in 2017.

“Declining numbers of new nursing graduates, growing numbers leaving the profession late in their careers and an increase in part-time and casual positions are the trends we see impacting the nursing landscape in Canada today,” says Andrea Porter, manager of Health Workforce Information at CIHI. 

Facts about nurses in Canada 

  • 72% of new graduates employed in regulated nursing in Canada in 2017 held part-time and casual positions — an increase of 19 percentage points since 2008 (53%).
  • 48% of health care professionals in Canada are regulated nurses.
  • 57% of regulated nurses in Canada were employed full-time in 2017.
  • 46% of regulated nurses who did not renew their licence to practise in Canada in 2017 were age 55 and older.

Regulated nurses are

  • Registered nurses (RNs), including nurse practitioners (NPs)
  • Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also called registered practical nurses in Ontario
  • Registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs), currently regulated in the 4 Western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia) and Yukon

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides essential information on Canada’s health systems and the health of Canadians.

We provide comparable and actionable data and information that are used to accelerate improvements in health care, health system performance and population health across Canada. Our stakeholders use our broad range of health system databases, measurements and standards, together with our evidence-based reports and analyses, in their decision-making processes. We protect the privacy of Canadians by ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of the health care information we provide.

Media contact

Andrea Brasset