Highest increase seen in number of licensed practical nurses

July 8, 2014—Contrary to concerns about a shortage in Canada, the number of regulated nurses across the country is continuing to rise, according to a recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Regulated Nurses, 2013 reports that last year, there were more than 408,000 regulated nurses eligible to practise in Canada, an increase of more than 8% in the last 5 years. In fact, the growth in the supply of nurses since 2009 has outpaced the growth of the Canadian population, which increased by 4.5% in that same
time period.

CIHI’s report also shows that more new nursing graduates are entering the workforce and older nurses are staying in the workforce longer.

“This finding is consistent with what we’ve seen in CIHI’s nursing workforce reports in previous years. It’s a trend that reflects successful recruitment and retention policies at the provincial and local levels.”

– Paul Sajan, Manager, Health Human Resources

A closer look at the numbers across Canada reveals that, since 2003:

  • The supply of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) has grown by more than 50%.
  • The supply of registered nurses (RNs, including nurse practitioners) has grown by 15%.
  • The supply of registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) has grown by 8%.

Equal growth across age groups

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of regulated nurses in Canada age 40 and younger has increased by almost 6%, the same as for nurses older than 60.

LPNs are seeing the greatest influx: more than half of the current LPN workforce is younger than 40. However, success rates vary when it comes to finding full-time employment.

“It can take up to 10 years for LPNs to find a full-time position after graduation, while it can take up to 5 years for RNs and RPNs.”

– Paul Sajan, Manager, Health Human Resources

Regulated Nurses, 2013 is CIHI’s annual report on the supply, employment and demographic trends of Canada’s nursing workforce.