Job prospects Registered Nurse (R.N.) in Ontario

Job opportunities for Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012) are fair in Ontario over the next 3 years. These job prospects are also applicable to people working as a registered nurse (R.N.).

Note that these employment prospects were published in December 2019 based on information available at that time. You can read our new special report to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on some occupations in your province or territory. You can also visit the Canadian Online Job Posting Dashboard to find the latest data on the demand and work requirements for this occupation.

Job opportunities in Ontario

registered nurse (R.N.)
Prospects over the next 3 years

The employment outlook will be fair for Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012) in Ontario for the 2019-2021 period.

The following factors contributed to this outlook:

  • Employment is expected to remain relatively stable.
  • A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.
  • There are a small number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation.

The number of those employed as registered nurses in Ontario has remained stable for the past five years, according to the Labour Force Survey. As of May 2019, there were 108,300 general registered nurses in Ontario. Registered nurses mainly work at hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. In addition, efforts are being made to expand home and community care and enhance inter-professional primary care organizations, which may create job opportunities for this occupation in community care settings. The demand for healthcare is expected to grow as the proportion of seniors in Ontario is projected to increase. The demand for these professionals should also increase over the forecast period as strong efforts are made to address the opioid crisis. Indeed, the strong demand for registered nurses is reflected in the occupation having the highest number of job postings per job applicants in Canada, according to Indeed Canada.

However, the latest 2019 provincial budget spelled out a decrease in hospital infrastructure expenditures for 2019/20, falling by more than 10%, while the provincial health sector as a whole will see a 2.2% increase in funding, lower than the 4.9% increase from the previous year. In addition, the Ontario health sector as a whole will see significant changes in the medium-term, with the launch of a consolidation process of the 14 regionally based Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) that manages various aspects of employment for nurses in Ontario, and six provincial agencies including eHealth Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario into one single provincial health agency known as Ontario Health. As well, the provincial government has announced plans to reorganize health care providers into various coordinated teams focusing on patients and specific local needs in a new type of unit called Ontario Health Teams, with each Team to fall under a new funding structure.

In Ontario, registered nurses are regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). To become a registered nurse in Ontario, a candidate must complete a 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing, and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) Computer Based Examination. Registered psychiatric nurses are not a recognized occupation in Ontario; instead, Ontario allows for Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses who have specialized in this area and have passed an additional national exam through the Canadian Nurses Association.

While this occupation has a favourable outlook, a sizeable portion of the initial hiring vacancies will be for part-time work. As some employers may find it difficult to staff nurses across northern and rural Ontario, opportunities in those regions should be improved, particularly for nurses who are generalists and are able to provide a wide range of services in a number of clinical domains and specialities.

Technology has impacted nursing duties. Workers are expected to use electronic and computerized systems and equipment. In some instances, nurses are able to work off-site and aid patients remotely. Registered nurses who are able to accommodate long shifts and work flexible hours will find their employment prospects greatly improved as hospitals may need these health professionals to provide 24-hour patient care. Due to the expansion of home and localized health care initiatives, nurses who are able to travel will also have better employment opportunities as some may be required to work at multiple facilities.

Here are some key facts about Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses in the Ontario region:

  • Approximately 109,400 people work in this occupation.
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses mainly work in the following sectors:
    • Hospitals (NAICS 622): 66%
    • Ambulatory health care services (NAICS 621): 14%
    • Nursing and residential care facilities (NAICS 623): 12%
  • The distribution of full-time and part-time workers in this occupation is:
    • Full-time workers: 75% compared to 79% for all occupations
    • Part-time workers: 25% compared to 21% for all occupations
  • 66% of registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses work all year, while 34% work only part of the year, compared to 63% and 37% respectively among all occupations. Those who worked only part of the year did so for an average of 35 weeks compared to 31 weeks for all occupations.
  • Less than 5% of registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses are self-employed compared to an average of 12% for all occupations.
  • Breakdown by region

    Explore job prospects in Ontario by economic region.

    Legend: The job opportunities can be: Undetermined Limited Fair Good

    Source Labour Market Information | Prospects Methodology

    You can also look at this data on a map. Go to LMI Explore

    Job prospects elsewhere in Canada

    We expect that there will be a labour SHORTAGE for Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012) in Canada over the next 10 years.

    Learn more

Labour Market Information Survey
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