Canada’s nursing workforce continues to grow

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Canada’s nursing workforce continues to grow

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October 8, 2013—The number of regulated nurses in Canada continues to increase, growing by 7% since 2008, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

This growth outpaced that of both the Canadian labour force and the general population, resulting in 365,422 regulated nurses—or 1,048 per 100,000 people—in 2012.

A closer look at the workforce numbers reveals that Canada has

  • 271,807 registered nurses (RNs), which include nurse practitioners (NPs), an increase of less than 4% since 2008. The number of NPs almost doubled from 1,626 to 3,157;
  • 88,211 licensed practical nurses (LPNs)—the nursing profession with the highest growth, at 18% since 2008; and
  • 5,404 registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs), an increase of less than 5% since 2008.

In all, RNs represented 74% of the regulated nursing workforce (down from 77% in 2008), while the proportion of LPNs rose to 24% from 22%. RPNs remained steady, representing less than 2%.

The report found growth in both older and younger age groups. The number of nurses age 60 and older grew to 11% from 9%, while the number of those younger than 30 rose to 14% from 12%.


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