Doug Ford government allocates $9.4M for nursing education in Hamilton and across Ontario

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Published December 1, 2022 at 11:15 am

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo

Premier Doug Ford’s government announced plans to allocate $9.4 million for nursing education at colleges across the province.

The announcement comes as hospitals across the province are experiencing staffing pressures due to a combination of RSV, the flu and COVID-19 cases. Last week, the province asked thousands of family health-care workers to work evenings and weekends to help ease the burden on children’s hospitals.

The $9.4 million will support accelerated critical care nursing programs at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Conestoga College in Kitchener, George Brown College and Centennial College in Toronto, Laurentian University in Sudbury, and St. Lawrence College in Kingston, said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a press conference today (Dec. 1).

Nurses who want to work in critical care can access programs for free to “up-skill” in areas such as respiratory, palliative, and cardiac care, said Jones.

“The government will also be paying for the tuition of these students, along with all college and hospital costs, including any associated costs related to backfilling their current position to ensure continuity of care,” Jones said.

Ford also announced the province will provide $4.6 million to up-skill nurses who want to work in critical care to study for free at Michener Institute in Toronto.

“By spring 2023, we expect close to 600 nurses will have completed their up-skilling education,” Ford said. “That is 600 more nurses ready to care for our most vulnerable in ICUs (intensive care units) across Ontario, including our pediatric ICUs.”

Jones also announced funding for three programs that hospitals use to bring on more health care workers.

Funding will go to the enhanced extern program, which allows students to work in hospitals in an unregulated capacity; the supervised practice experience program, which helps internationally educated nurses meet Ontario’s licensing criteria faster; and the community commitment program for nurses, which offers cash incentives for a two year commitment to work in an area of high need in Ontario.

“These incentives help reduce pressures on our hospitals, while providing learning opportunities for healthcare workers who will be working in our system for years to come,” Jones said.

Ford went on to say the province is hiring thousands of nurses.

“While there’s still a lot of work to do, early results are showing that we’re making good progress,” he said.

View the full press conference here.

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