Hundreds of New Nursing Education Seats Across the Province

British Columbians will soon have more nurses to meet their health care needs, as 602 new nursing spaces will be added to public post-secondary institutions across the province.

This investment is a key pillar of StrongerBC’s economic plan, which aims to close the skills gap through a generational commitment to accelerate talent development and skills training for British Columbians.

“Healthy communities are the backbone of a strong economy,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “If we don’t take care of people, our economy won’t succeed. That’s why the StrongerBC Economic Plan is committed to strengthening healthcare by investing in training more people for a care-driven, low-carbon future that works for all Britons. Colombians.

A total of 602 new nursing spaces will be added to the approximately 2,000 spaces currently in nursing programs at public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. The new seats include 362 registered nursing seats, 40 registered psychiatric nursing seats, 20 nurse practitioner seats and 180 licensed practical nursing seats at 17 public post-secondary institutions. As part of this expansion, new seats will support health care assistants who wish to pursue training as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and LPNs who wish to embark on a career as registered nurses (RNs).

“The past two years have shown us how essential our healthcare workforce is. By supporting post-secondary institutions like the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, University of the Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers University, Northern Lights College and Selkirk College, not only we are increasing the future capacity of nursing in the province, but we are creating a path to incredibly rewarding, long-term and family-friendly careers,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

The government has provided $5 million to public post-secondary institutions in 2021-22 to begin expanding nursing spaces across the province. The University of British Columbia (UBC), Thompson Rivers University and UBC Okanagan welcomed additional students in September 2021, with new expanded admissions at more public post-secondary institutions opening over the next year and a half.

“Nurses are an integral part of health care,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Higher Education and Vocational Training. “In addition to providing life-saving care, nurses monitor and assess the condition of patients, act as patient advocates, educate and inspire. Expanding nursing spaces means more students can pursue their dreams and launch careers that make a difference in people’s lives every day.

This expansion builds on recent investments in the growth of health programs in the province. The government has also provided approximately $8.7 million in 2021-22 to support health education training programs, including the expansion of skilled nursing and the launch of a new nursing program in the Northeast. Is.

Additionally, to help train the next generation of nurse leaders who will teach, mentor and support these new nursing students, the government is providing an initial $475,000 to support graduate nurse education at UBC , UVic and UNBC. The funding will support the development of faculty and nurse leaders, with an ongoing faculty and leadership support plan being developed in partnership with experts from the education and health sector.

Training new nurses is just one way the province is addressing the nursing shortage in British Columbia. A provincial health human resource strategy is being developed which will outline actions to grow, recruit and retain the health care workers needed to meet the health care needs of British Columbians in the future.

In Budget 2021, the province committed to investing $96 million over three years to support the expansion of post-secondary education and training capacity for the health professions workforce. In addition to 602 new spaces at post-secondary institutions to meet the growing demand for nursing services, the province is working with post-secondary institutions to expand training for health care aides through the Health Careers Access Program. Further expansions in a range of health education programs are also underway.

The StrongerBC Economic Plan moves British Columbia forward by tackling today’s challenges, while building an economy that works for everyone. The long-term plan builds on British Columbia’s strong economic recovery and aims to address two long-standing challenges – inequality and climate change – by closing the skills gap, building resilient communities and helping businesses and people make the transition to clean energy solutions. The plan sets out two main goals for the province – inclusive growth and clean growth – and proposes six missions to keep British Columbia on track.


Aashna Thapar, nursing student, College of New Caledonia –

“I chose to become a nurse because I want a career where I can make a real difference in people’s lives – offering hope, care and comfort, often during some of their most difficult days. Having additional nursing spaces in BC communities will give even more students like me the opportunity to pursue this essential career path.

Aman Grewal, President, BC Nurses’ Union –

“Nurses are, indeed, the backbone of healthcare, but more often than not their backs are broken due to the staffing crisis. We recognize this investment as a step in the right direction and look forward to working with all parties to build on today’s announcement going forward.

Fast facts:

  • Approximately 40,000 registered nurses work in British Columbia.
  • British Columbia has 650 registered nurses per 100,000 people.
  • Between 2017 and 2020, the number of registered nurses providing publicly funded health services increased by 2,259 or 6%, while the number of licensed practical nurses increased by 1,141 or 12%.

Learn more:

To learn more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit:

A backgrounder follows.

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