Top 5 Provinces to Find Work in Canada as a Nurse

Top 5 Provinces to Find Work in Canada as a Nurse

MAR 7, 2022



Nurses all over the world are in demand right now especially because of the pandemic, and Canada is no different. Not only now but the occupation will continue to be a great career choice as healthcare will always be important for generations to come.

Working in Canada as a nurse will earn employees several benefits as well as a generous salary. Let us have a look at the top 5 provinces to find work in Canada as a nurse.

Where to Work in Canada as a Nurse


1. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia currently has a shortage of nurses, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because the province has a very high rate of elderly which leads to many employees retiring and therefore creating a shortage in the occupation.

The way Nova Scotia has been addressing this is by hiring nursing graduates, who are actually earning above Canada's average salary. A nursing graduate with a bachelor's degree can typically earn around $38 per hour and this amounts to 4.5 percent higher than the national average of Canada.

Good to know!

Organizations in Nova Scotia are more likely to hire foreign nationals who are professional nurses because of their work experience.

The current salary of a nurse in Nova Scotia is $71,172 per year.

2. Manitoba

Manitoba is one of the provinces in Canada that desperately need nurses and have been even before the pandemic. In fact, the need for nurses has doubled since COVID-19. There are many nurse vacancies in Manitoba, specifically in hospitals and other facilities where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

Per hour, an employee can expect to receive $37.11. This number could increase as the demand for nurses increases.

The current salary of a nurse in Manitoba is $63,931 per year.

Good to know!

The Manitoba government has plans to speed up the process of hiring internationally educated nurses into the workforce. Post-secondary institutions in Manitoba plan to increase the number of nursing education seats from over 800 to around 1,200, over the next few years.

Not only that, the province says it will offer up to $23,000 per foreign national in financial and process support. This will help those who are internationally educated nurses and want to become licensed to practise in Manitoba.

3. New Brunswick

Another great province to work in as a nurse in New Brunswick. The province has plans to hire approximately 320 nurses every year for the next five years in an attempt to rectify the lack of nursing staff in healthcare facilities. The need for nurses has certainly doubled since COVID-19.

This has led to the province offering nursing jobs to foreign nurses through the Nursing Resource Strategy. This is a 10-year program that allows the province to actively recruit internationally educated nurses.

Good to know!

Foreign nationals may have a higher chance of being accepted for a job offer in New Brunswick as the province has a low immigration rate. This means they are more inclined to accept immigrants.

The current salary of a nurse in New Brunswick is $88,544 per year.

4. Ontario

Ontario requires around 17,000 registered nurses (RN) to match the RN-to-population ratio. The demand for nurses is increasing in all healthcare facilities including private home care, small clinics and hospitals.

One way Ontario has been filling the nurse occupation gap is through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). In 2019, the province added the National Occupational Classification code to the stream, aimed at healthcare workers.

The NOC code is:

  • NOC 3413: Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates

The current salary of a nurse in Ontario is $79,227 per year.

5. Alberta

One of the main factors causing a demand for nurses in Alberta is the population and its proportion of residents aged 65 and older, which is set to only increase as the years go by. Alberta has a set great budget for health services for 2012-22 at $21.4 billion.

Being a nurse in Alberta is considered to be a highly valued career option. Once a foreign national has started working as a registered nurse in Alberta, there is a high possibility that they can become Canadian permanent residents as Canadian work experience is very advantageous when applying through programs such as Express Entry.

The current salary of a nurse in Alberta is $97,825 per year.

As you can see, there are several provinces to find work in Canada as a nurse. All you need to do is decide which province suits you and your family best.

What are the Top Earning Nurse Occupations in Canada?


The salary of a nurse in Canada will vary depending on their specialty, region, education level and work experience. However, here are the top 10 highest paying nursing jobs in Canada.

Highest Paying Nursing Jobs in Canada
Occupation Average Salary Per Year
Nurse Anesthetist $193,987
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner $121,573
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner $111,755
Oncology Nurse Practitioner $115,320
Cardiac Nurse Practitioner $11,402
Pain Management Nurse $114,301
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner $85,272
Family Nurse Practitioner $103,976
Pediatric Nurse $83,221
General Nurse Practitioner $103,976

How to Become a Nurse in Canada


There are several immigration programs that foreign nationals can apply through to move to Canada as a nurse.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows the local provinces of Canada to nominate foreign nationals to work and move to a particular province. Immigrants are nominated based on the economic and labour needs of the province. This is why it is important to apply to a province where nurses are in demand.

There are several streams under each PNP that are geared towards specific needs including healthcare workers. Nova Scotia has an occupation in-demand stream that aims to invite nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates.

Foreign nationals can apply via two options; directly to the province of their choice or via the Express Entry.

Good to know!

Not all PNPs require foreign nationals to have a job offer. Also, if they are successful they will receive Canadian permanent residency.

Express Entry

Express Entry is a great way to move to Canada as a nurse because immigrants would come to Canada as permanent residents. Not only that but they would have a higher success rate in their application as nurses are in demand all over Canada.

So how does Express Entry work?

Express Entry is an online immigration system that manages three federal economic programs, this makes it easy for people all over the world to apply.

Once applicants have applied for Express Entry, and are successful, they will be put into the Express Entry pool along with other applicants. The way the profiles are ranked is via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Now, there are several factors that determine an applicants CRS score, they are:

  • work experience;
  • language proficiency in English, French or both;
  • level of education; and
  • age.

This means applicants who have nursing work experience will receive extra CRS points.

FAQ 1: What skills are required to work as a nurse in Canada?

  • Completion of a university, college or other approved registered nursing program is required;
  • Additional academic training or experience is required to specialize in a specific area of nursing;
  • master's or doctoral degree in nursing is usually required for clinical nurse specialists, clinical nurses, nursing consultants and nursing researchers;
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in all provinces and territories;
  • Registered psychiatric nurses;
  • Completion of a university or college registered psychiatric nursing program is required;
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.

FAQ 2: How many hours do nurses work in Canada?

Nurses will generally work 8 to 12-hour shifts, usually on rotation. This includes weekends, evenings and holidays. On average, full-time nurses work 36 to 40 hours per week. Please note that part-time nurses are quite common in Canada as well.

FAQ 3: What benefits do nurses get in Canada?

Nurses in Canada can enjoy the benefits of dental care and a pension plan, as well as the following:

  • Semi-Private Hospitalization;
  • Extended Health Care (prescription drugs, vision care, health practitioners);
  • Group Life Insurance (2 x annual salary);
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance; and
  • Short- and Long-Term Disability Benefits.

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