July 10th, 2024

The Ontario government is continuing to build a stronger, more resilient health care workforce by investing $10 million to help more than 1,000 nurses upskill their training to provide emergency department care. This will help bolster, stabilize and maintain the nursing workforce in emergency departments across the province, especially in rural and remote hospitals, to connect more people to critical care close to home. 

“Our government continues to expand Ontario’s health care workforce and add thousands of new nurses to deliver high-quality care for people and families closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment will break down barriers and provide more opportunities for emergency department nurses to grow in their career as we build a stronger, more resilient health care system for generations to come.” 

Since its launch last year, over 400 nurses from 72 rural and remote hospitals received this upskill training. Today’s investment enhances the program this year to allow more than 1,000 nurses working in small, rural and remote emergency departments across the province to access four crucial training and education programs: 

  • Virtual Training Modules to deliver high-quality, interactive sessions for general ED orientation, core competency skills and more. Over the last year, 847 sessions were attended by nurses from 72 small, rural, and remote hospitals. 
  • Immersion Programs that provide multi-day, in-person, skills training to educate new emergency department nurses in small, rural, and remote hospitals. Over the last year, 53 nurses from 26 small, rural, and remote hospitals attended three Immersion Programs and were able to get hands-on upskilling. 
  • Specialty Training Fund to provide training education grants to support nurses to complete training courses for core ED nursing skills. Last year over 2,600 courses were funded to break financial barriers for nurses to upskill. 
  • Establishment of Regional Educator Program that will increase access to important continuing education and training resources for ED nurses in their region.

“Nurses are telling us this program is invaluable,” says Judy Linton, Executive Vice-President & Chief Nursing Executive at Ontario Health. “They are able to effectively apply the content and skills learned in the course to their work, which is helping to ensure quality care to more Ontarians in emergency departments across the province.”

Through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the Ontario government continues to take bold and decisive action to support the province’s highly-skilled workforce and ensure people and their families have access to high-quality care where and when they need it, closer to home. 

The Emergency Department Nursing Education, Retention and Workforce Program is furthering nursing skills in the emergency department to better meet the needs of communities. The program enables access to education, particularly for nurses in small hospitals that do not have ready access to emergency department nurse education and those in remote areas who would otherwise have to travel long distances. Access to the program supports the retention and recruitment of emergency department nurses.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, Ontario has seen a record-breaking number of new health care professionals join the workforce, adding 80,000 new nurses with another 30,000 nurses currently studying at Ontario colleges and universities, and adding over 24,000 new PSWs since 2020.
  • Since expanding the role of registered nurses to prescribe medications, 122 registered nurses have been authorized to prescribe, after meeting specific requirements, with close to 900 more prepared to take the required education. 
  • The province continues to work with the College of Nurses of Ontario to break down barriers for internationally educated nurses. The Supervised Practice Experience Partnershipprovides internationally educated nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their current nursing knowledge, skill and language proficiency while working to meet the requirements to enter practice as a nurse. This program has funded more than 3,400 internationally educated nurses since it launched in January 2022.
  • Last year, over 17,000 new nurses registered to work in the province, a record number of new nurses registered to work in the province, with another 30,000 nursing students currently studying at one of Ontario’s colleges and universities.
  • Ontario is investing $743 million over three years to continue to address immediate health care staffing needs, as well as to grow the workforce for years to come.


“With this investment, nurses will receive innovative, hands-on training to upskill in their careers now and continue their learning journey in the future. By providing education and financial support, we’re making it easier for nurses to gain meaningful experience in an emergency department setting so they can care for patients where it’s needed the most.”

– Jill Dunlop 
MPP for Simcoe North and Minister of Colleges and Universities

“The more invested into the skillsets of nursing professionals, the greater we can deliver our Mission to serve our community with compassion and excellence.”

– Carmine Stumpo 
President and CEO, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital 

“Supporting nurse education has a direct positive impact on quality of care and supports a high functioning health care team by increasing morale, improving teamwork, reducing scheduling gaps and building a reputation of excellence that drives recruitment and retention.”

– Jill Colin 
VP-Patient Care/Chief Nursing Executive, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital 

“The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) welcomes the government’s investments in training and educating emergency department nurses in rural and remote communities, which will help strengthen the health care workforce, enable nurses to advance in their careers, and ensure Ontario’s health care system is prepared for the future. Ontario’s hospitals appreciate the province’s continued commitment to building a strong health care workforce, which will help ensure patients continue receiving high-quality health care close to home.”

– Anthony Dale 
President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association