B.C. will pay fees, fund schooling upgrades to get more nurses in health-care system

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government will pay fees for international nurses and help finance former nurses who want to return to health care in a push to get more workers into the system.

Premier David Eby says the government will also spend $1.3 million to set up a new pathway for internationally trained nurses to assess more applications much faster.

Candidates are waiting up to three years now, but Eby says the government's goal is to cut that wait down to between four and nine months.

The changes mean internationally educated nurses will no longer be required to pay application and assessment fees upfront, which can be over $3,700.

The government will also offer financial support of up to $4,000 to cover applications, assessments and eligible travel costs for current nurses to re-enter the system, along with up to $10,000 in bursaries for any additional education they might need to get back to work.

B.C. Nurses Union president Aman Grewal attended the news conference and says the changes offer hope for a strained and understaffed health-care system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press