Ontario’s Registered Nurse Levels Fall Again, Still the Lowest in Canada

August 3, 2023

TORONTO, ON, August 3, 2023 – Among the revelations in a report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) this week is that Ontario’s falling ratio of registered nurses-per-capita is again the worst in Canada and has been so for at least a dozen years.

“Ontario continues to have the lowest levels of RNs per capita in the country,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Erin Ariss, RN. “This province now has just 661 RNs per 100,000 people, far below the average for the rest of the country, at 825.” Ariss says the province now needs 24,809 additional RNs to catch up to the average elsewhere in Canada.

“CIHI’s report shows that the number of RNs employed in nursing in this province increased by just one per cent in 2022, while the total population grew by more than 300,000, or two per cent,” she says. “Meanwhile, the Ford government continues to boast about hiring more nurses, while simultaneously leaving billions of health-care funding dollars unspent. Ontarians should demand better.”

The CIHI report reflects the worsening nursing shortage in Canada, showing that the RN-to-population ratio in the rest of the country has declined – from an average of 830 RNs-per-100,000 in 2021 to 825 RNs-per-100,000 in 2022. Ontario’s ratio of RNs has declined even more – from 668 RNs-per-100,000 in 2021 to 661 RNs-per-100,000 in 2022. BC has the second-worst ratio, with 732 RNs-per-100,000. Manitoba and PEI did not report their data to CIHI this year.

Ariss says that BC nurses negotiated minimum nurse staffing levels in its latest contract, aimed at improving the quality of care. Health care relies on safe staffing levels and that nurses are the key to quality patient care.

“In Ontario, while recent wage increases for hospital nurses and health-care professionals are a good start, there is a long way to go. ONA will also be pursing minimum nurse staffing levels in the coming years. This CIHI report is a clear signal that further action is needed to restore safe RN staffing levels, especially in Ontario. Our patients deserve better.”

ONA is the union representing 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics, and industry.


To arrange an interview, contact:

ONA Media Relationsmedia@ona.org