How To Become a Travel Nurse in Canada

travel nurse in canada

Have you ever dreamed of experiencing life like our neighbors to the north? If so, consider seeking employment as a travel nurse in Canada. According to the Canadian Nurses Association, the nation will need 60,000 new nurses by 2020. This guide covers everything you need to know before accepting assignments in Canadian medical centers and hospitals.

Find the Right Agency

If you want to be a travel nurse in Canada, you should partner with a travel nurse agency with experience. There are several agencies that specialize in Canadian assignments. Choosing a travel nursing agency with a good reputation and experience with international placements can help the process run smoothly. Unlike assignments in the U.S., which are often measured in weeks or months, you may need to commit to a year in an assignment as an international travel nurse.

Get Licensed in Your Desired Province

Nurses who work in Canada must earn a nursing license in the specific province where they plan to be assigned. In most cases, this involves passing an exam and paying the required fee. Like the U.S., most provinces use the NCLEX-RN exam from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam. Most Canadian assignments require you to have a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited North American college or university.

Your agency can help you narrow down the provinces that have the most opportunities. For example, nurse midwives may only practice in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. An experienced agency will know the market and the best provinces for your nursing specialty.

Obtain a Contract

You will need to negotiate a contract for a Canadian nursing assignment, so working with an agency is helpful. As of January 2017, the average annual pay for a nurse in Canada was $59,783. This is the equivalent of $44,359 U.S. dollars, but travel nurses may earn a higher hourly wage. Your agency can help you with these contract negotiations.

According to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the need for nurses is on the rise. In-demand specialties, such as operating room, critical care and emergency nursing, will see more opportunities and command a higher hourly rate. Canada also has a keen need for nurses who are willing to work in remote rural areas. travel nurses in Canada who are bilingual in French and English have an advantage over candidates who only speak English. Nurses who plan to work in Quebec are required to demonstrate French fluency.

Apply for a Work Permit

Canadian work permits are also required in addition to earning your nursing license at the province level. The application process for a travel nurse in Canada can be completed online as soon as you have a written employment contract from a hospital or travel nursing agency. To be eligible for a work permit you must:

Prove that:

  • You’ll leave Canada when your assignment ends.
  • Your health is good.
  • You do not have a criminal record.
  • You are not a danger to Canadian national security.

Provide the required application documents:

  • Two photographs that meet agency requirements
  • A valid passport
  • A valid employment contract for work in Canada
  • Marriage and birth certificates for family members who are traveling with you
  • A Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) if the job in question is located in Quebec
  • A completed application form

The application process may also include fingerprints and a photograph. This is called the biometrics portion of the application.

For certain jobs, your employer may need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment before extending a contract to a foreign worker. If required, the LMIA should be provided with your employment contract.

Get a Medical Exam

You do not need to take a medical exam to get a work permit as long as your nursing assignment is shorter than six months. In most cases, you will need a medical exam to stay in Canada for longer than six months.

Make Family Arrangements

When you are approved for a work permit, your family can also enter Canada. This includes your spouse or common-law spouse, dependent children and the children of your dependent children. However, family members must apply for their own visas and work permits. School-aged children can apply for a study permit to attend Canadian schools.

Whether you’ve always wanted to live in Canada or you’re simply looking for a change of scenery, travel nursing in the north can give your career an experience boost. Work with a reputable local agency to improve your chances of success in this new endeavor.

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