Best Places to Live and Work in Canada as a Registered Nurse

Nursing in Canada is a noble, well-paid career. There are over 300,000 registered nurses in the Great White North, but the officials predict that in the next 10 years, 191,000 job opportunities for registered nurses will emerge. The COVID-19 pandemic showed Canada, and the rest of the world, how important nurses are. As the country recovers from the impact of the pandemic, the need for nurses in Canada has risen. While nursing schools receive many applications, it may not be enough to fill the nursing shortage.

To battle this crisis, the Canadian government encourages nurses from all over the world to go live and work in Canada. Although there are registered nurses all over the country, working in both the private and public sector, there are four stand-out regions in Canada where registered nurses should seriously consider immigrating to. Making a big decision like this is never easy; that’s why we’ve set you up with the four best places to live and work in Canada as a registered nurse.

1. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia calls on healthcare workers and skilled tradespeople to assist in keeping up the high standard of service and strong economy that the province enjoys. Nurses in Nova Scotia can earn up to $93,500 a year! That’s a $45 hourly wage. The average salary is $38,42 per hour, but it's always dependent on your expectations and responsibilities.

Nursing in Nova Scotia is about to get even better. Over $200 million is being pumped into the health sector to build new medical infrastructure in Halifax. Overly $22 million goes toward paying for tuition for nurses in the continued care sector. There are a variety of nursing jobs in Canada; from working in emergency, patient care assistance to operating and monitoring equipment; the province has over 457 jobs available!

Nova Scotia is also a great place to develop your nursing career. The province is home to the Nova Scotia College of Nursing. The college oversees the practice of over 15,000 nurses in the province, ensuring that the community can trust the quality of the nurses working with people.

Whether you’re a nursing graduate in need of experience or a seasoned health worker, Nova Scotia will recruit you for your registered nursing skills.

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2. Ontario

When you think “Ontario,” you think, “Toronto”, and while there are plenty of job opportunities to work as a nurse in the big, bustling city, there are a lot of nursing jobs in the surrounding areas. Altogether, there are a whopping 7,996 nursing jobs available in Ontario. If you prefer a more quiet lifestyle, you can choose to live outside the city and benefit from The Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot, which allows skilled workers like nurses to move more efficiently to rural areas in Ontario.

While the average salary in the province is $36.60 an hour, you could be making up to $51.33 an hour in Ontario.

Much like in Nova Scotia, Ontario has its organization, The College of Nurse of Ontario, that oversees the practice and regulation of all nurses in the province to ensure that a high standard of care is maintained.

In addition, the government funds several initiatives to ensure nurses are well-paid that at least 70 percent of the nursing workforce occupies full-time employment.

3. New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and personal support workers are in high demand, with job possibilities available in either official language (English or French). Attracting, supporting, and retaining these important healthcare workers is a top concern for the province of New Brunswick. The province is also collaborating with several private organizations and hospitals to fill nursing job openings.

Because New Brunswick is a dual-language province, knowing at least basic French will go a long way if you decide to move to this region. Nurses in New Brunswick make $35.60 on average per hour but can go up to $49.13 for certain companies and hospitals.

Nurses have been required in the province since before the start of the pandemic. With a choice of over 800 job posts in the area, New Brunswick’s population is spread out, and jobs can’t only be found in the province’s main sea-side attraction of Saint John, but smaller cities like Moncton, Doulhassie and Woodstock. Each place has its own needs and its charm.

The Nurses Association of New Brunswick regulates nurses and their practices in the province. They also support nurses and ensure they’re treated fairly and paid justly. New Brunswick also has a Nurses Union. Since the beginning of the pandemic, frontline workers such as nurses have been placed in dangerous situations. This organization ensures nurses’ interests are met.

4. Manitoba

Search for nursing jobs in Manitoba and find more than 1,000 open opportunities. The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Manitoba is $37.36 but that can go up to $49,85 in some cases.

The Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) is Manitoba's largest healthcare union, representing all licensed nursing professionals. Over 95 percent of all unionized nurses in the province are members of The Manitoba Nurses Union. MNU is not a governing entity but assists nurses working in Manitoba to ensure fair treatment.

5.Quebec

Nurses are also in high demand in the province of Quebec. The province is working hand in hand with work permit programs to encourage immigrants to work in Quebec as a nurse in the new year.

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Nursing in Canada

How health sectors run can vary from province to province, therefore it's no surprise that there will be differences across countries. The duties, responsibility and pay might not be what you’re used to back home so here are a few things you should know:

Your National Occupational Classification (NOC)code will depend on what your duties and responsibilities are. Canada uses this system to classify occupations in the country’s labour market. For example, all registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses fall under NOC 3012.

Some nurses that fall under this group are:

  • Occupational Health Nurses
  • Community Health Nurses
  • Psychiatric Nurses
  • Nursing Consultants
  • Nursing Researchers
  • Clinical Nurses

There are plenty of Job opportunities in Canada for Nurses to work both in the private and public sectors and are not limited to hospitals and clinics. Here are some of the places you can work as a nurse:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Extended care facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Doctors' offices
  • Public clinics
  • Private clinics
  • Tertiary Education Institution clinics
  • Community agencies
  • Private Companies
  • Private Homes
  • Self-employed

Live and Work in Canada

Being aware of the four best places to live and work in Canada as a registered nursecan help you decide on which province and which community you’d want to join. If you have a permanent job offer in a particular province that needs nurses like these, you could be eligible for a Provincial Nomination Program (PNP).

Either you can apply through the Express Entry route through the  Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), or you can apply directly for a nomination from one of the 11 provinces that make use of this immigration route.

Express Entry

This program involves creating an online profile into which you will enter your credentials and any other applicable information. Your Comprehensive Ranking Score will then be calculated and you will be entered into a pool of applicants. Each month a number of applicants are drawn based on a minimum CRS score and are invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Achieving a high CRS score is paramount, and something our Regulated Canadian Immigration consultants specialize in helping you achieve.  

Provincial Nomination Program

If you know where you want to live in Canada, it doesn’t even have to be a city, just a province, you can apply to the said province for a nomination. You can do this visa express entry simply by creating an expression of interest, or you can apply to the province directly. If the province has a need for your set of skills, which they will, you’re a registered nurse in a country with a serious shortage, they will issue you a provincial nomination. You can then obtain permanent residency through this program, which may take a little longer than Express Entry, but is a good and effective way nonetheless, or you can continue through express Entry. A provincial nomination is worth 600 CRS points out of a maximum of 1,200 points, and all but guarantees an invitation to apply for permanent residency. 

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Very similar to the PNP, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is aimed at skilled individuals who know which province they would like to settle in when they arrive in Canada and assuming that province is one of the three participating provinces in this immigration pilot. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador are the three Atlantic adjacent participating provinces. This is a community and employer-driven pilot, so you will need a valid job offer from a participating community and you will have to live and work in the community that grants you a recommendation. You will also need to have at least one year of full-time experience to qualify for this pilot.  

There are four programs found in the best places in Canada to work as a registered nurse

How Much Money Can I Make As a Nurse in Canada?

There are currently thousands of nursing jobs available across Canada. Salaries are extremely competitive. Below are the average annual salaries by occupation title:


Average Annual Salaries for Nurses in Canada
OccupationAverage Salary (CAD)
Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors$86,609 - $59,963
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses$75,712 - $75,680
Allied primary health practitioners$80,950
Dental hygienists and therapists (dental nurse)$39,975
Licensed practical nurses$49,837
Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates$24,375

NOC Codes for Nursing Specialities

Determine your National Classification Classification (NOC) Code. This will differ according to your occupation description.


NOC Codes for Nurses
NOC CodeOccupationSkill Level
3011Nursing co-ordinators and supervisorsA
3012Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nursesA
3124Allied primary health practitionersA
3222Dental hygienists and therapists (dental nurse)B
3233Licensed practical nursesB
3413Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associatesC

Canada needs nurses countrywide and at all levels. You could find work in Canada as a coordinator or supervisor, registered nurse, allied primary health practitioners, dental nurse, licensed practical nurse, or nurse aide, and earn anywhere from $41,438 as an experienced nurse’s aide to $128,700 as an experienced registered nurse.


Get Your Nursing Credentials

The first step to living and working in Canada as a nurse is to get all your qualifications assessed and converted into North American standards by either the:

  • National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS); or
  • Canadian Nurses Association (CAN)

To do this, you must also have a clear idea about what Canadian province you wish to live and work in. It’s important to note that registration requirements vary between province and territory, and there are different nursing regulatory bodies in each province and territory. If you do not know where to start, here is a list of nursing regulatory bodies in Canada and where you can find them.

Province Nurse Qualification Regulatory Body Address
British Columbia Registered and Practical Nurses British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals 200 Granville St. Vancouver
Ontario Registered Nurses College of Nurses of Ontario 101 Davenport Rd.Toronto
Saskatchewan Registered Nurse Saskatchewan Registered Nurse Association 2066 Retallack Street, Regina
Manitoba Registered Nurses College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba 890 Pembina Hwy, Winnipeg
Manitoba Practical Nurses Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba 463 St. Anne’s Road Winnipeg
Alberta Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta 13163 146 St NW, Edmonton
Alberta Registered Nurses College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta 11620 168 St NW, Edmonton
Yukon Practical and Registered Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC 900 – 200 Granville St. Vancouver, BC
Northwest Territories & Nunavut Registered Nurses Registered Nurses of the Northwest Territories And Nunavut Yellowknife, NT X1A 2R1
Nova Scotia Registered Nurses College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia 4005-7071 Bayers Rd, Halifax
Nova Scotia Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia Starlite Gallery, 302 – 7071 Bayers Road, Halifax
Prince Edward Island Registered Nurses College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island 161 Maypoint Rd #6, Charlottetown, PE
Prince Edward Island Licensed Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Prince Edward Island 155 Belvedere Ave #204, Charlottetown
Newfoundland and Labrador Registered Nurses Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador 55 Military Road St. John’s, NL
Newfoundland and Labrador Licensed Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland & Labrador 209 Blackmarsh Road, St. John’s, NL
New Brunswick Registered Nurses Nurses Association of New Brunswick 165 Regent Street Fredericton NB
New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses 384 Smythe Street, Fredericton, NB
Quebec Registered Nurses Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec 4200 Rue Molson, Montréal
Quebec Licensed Practical Nurses Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec 3400 Boulevard de Maisonneuve O bureau 1115, Montreal

As a registered nurse, the possibilities of a successful and fulfilling life in Canada are endless. Simply imagine all the people you could assist by applying for an eligibility test. Because you’re so willing to always help out, take this opportunity to let us help you. We’ll get you in contact with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), who is authorized to assist you with the immigration process. You can figure out what the best place for you in Canada is, find out how much it’ll cost and what documentation you’ll have to provide.

Using an RCIC not only gives you the best possible chance of receiving an ITA but will make the entire process simple and stress-free. We handle the paperwork while you choose your dream job in Canada. All you have to do is fill out our application form to receive your assessment today and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.

Ready to take the next step?

FAQs

Are my working rights protected as a nurse in Canada?

Nurses in Canada can join Unions, which can be national or provincial. Nurses Unions protect workers' rights by ensuring fair working hours and fair pay. Members of unions can ask representatives to interpret work contracts, ask for legal advice and assist in negotiations to ensure you’re being treated fairly by potential employers.

Should I go Private or Government as a nurse in Canada?

There are both disadvantages and benefits to working in private and public spheres in Canada. Working privately will mean less complex medical histories, but less variety of patients and cases. In the public sector, you’ll find a variety of different people but requires you to work with complex sets of medical histories. To illustrate these benefits, we have created an easy to use table of the pros and cons of working as a nurse in the private sector.

WORKING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN CANADA
PROSCONS
Less clinical environmentLess clinical tasks
Patients’ medical histories are usually less complex Care is administered according to unique requirements
Enjoy more routineMundane work environment
Theater schedules and cases by appointmentYou work in accordance to the surgeon’s schedule

If you’re interested in working in the public sector, here is a simple table of the pros and cons you could experience working for the government as a nurse


WORKING FOR GOVERNMENT IN CANADA
PROSCONS
Great TrainingFast-paced and Busy Shifts
Diverse cases and patientsHigher incidence of verbal or physical abuse
Variety of possible roles within the hospital or clinicTasks are incredibly multilayered
Health Benefits, Pension, Study Allowance included in payToo many responsibilities

What is the age limit to work as a nurse in Canada?

There is no official age limit in Canada. In fact, there are practicing nurses well into their 60s and 70s.