Applications to Ontario nursing programs surge as job vacancies grow

By News Staff

With Canada facing a nursing shortage, new data is suggesting a surge in applications to nursing programs at Ontario’s universities.

Employment in health-care and social assistance rose 19,000 jobs in January but the country’s medical system is still facing a high number of nursing job vacancies..

According to Statistics Canada the health-care sector is faced with 112,000 job vacancies and faces a chronic employment shortage as the pandemic takes a heavy toll.

The Globe and Mail reports job postings for nursing jobs are up nearly 50 per cent over the past year, specifically in intensive care and emergency room settings. Vicki McKenna, the president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, tells the paper the spike in job openings come as total employment in the health-care sector was down in 2020.

McKenna says hospitals have deferred hiring full-time positions, describing it as an international problem.

Compounding the issue is the fact that many of the nursing jobs require more specialized training and with the global nature of the pandemic American hospitals are paying premiums on training for any new hires.

More promising is that the tireless efforts of front-line workers amid the pandemic, appear to be inspiring future health-care heroes in Ontario as nursing programs see an uptick in applications.

Universities across the province are reporting the spike in applications from those enrolling in health-related fields. Nursing programs are seeing the largest spike year over year.

Data from the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) shows more than 10,600 applications for nursing for the 2021-22 school year. That number is up 72 per cent from about 6,100 applications last year.

Overall, despite the post-secondary landscape looking much different with classes largely online due to the pandemic, OUAC saw about 11,000 more applications for the 2021-22 school year.

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