The healthcare shortage is dire in cities across Ontario and throughout Canada, and most predict there is no end in sight. Some even predict it may even get worse as hospitals, clinics, and medical offices struggle to find doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. 

While many point to the pandemic as the reason why we’re in this situation, nursing shortages and other factors have been leading up to this point for years. 

healthcare recruiters is there an end in sight to the healthcare shortage


Our healthcare recruiters find the shortage of nurses has to do with them wanting to leave the bedside clinical position and branch out into private or other markets within Nursing. There is a burnout point in this profession. It appears we’ve reached it. 

8 Brutal Facts About the Healthcare Shortage

The nursing shortage pre-dates the pandemic. The additional pressures, workload and stress stemming from the pandemic have exacerbated the situation. Many nurses are leaving the profession, spurred by worsening working conditions and an increased psychological burden,” says the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) in a media reference guide titled Canada’s nursing shortage at a glance

Here are some eye-opening facts about the nursing shortage in Canada:

  • Canada has about 10 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants. This is lower than in many developed countries. 
  • There is a predicted shortage of 117,600 nurses in Canada by 2030.
  • Statistics Canada estimates that 32,295 regulated nurse positions stand vacant, with nearly half (46.5%) of vacancies for RNs/RPNs staying open for 90 days or more.
  • Pre-pandemic, 60 percent of nurses said they would leave their jobs within the next year; more than a quarter of these nurses said they will leave the profession altogether.
  • 70% of healthcare workers reported that their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.
  • 96% of nurses pointed to workplace demands as the cause of their worsening mental health.

Research by the C.D. Howe Institute found:

  • The job vacancy rate for healthcare increased to 5.8% by the second quarter of 2022.
  • Shortages existed for family doctors, personal support workers, psychiatrists, and geriatric specialists.

How does the nursing shortage affect us as Canadians?

The nursing shortage has gotten to the point where Canadians are feeling the effect:

  • Wait lists for elective surgeries continue to grow.
  • It is taking weeks for people to get appointments with their family doctor (if they have one).
  • There are even instances of hospitals being forced to shut down their emergency department because they don’t have enough people to staff it. 

What are the long-term effects of the healthcare shortage?

From a recruitment perspective, there is a significant opportunity for Canadians to have a career in healthcare. But the first step to stabilize the situation is to focus on retention and providing ample support in the workplace, says the CFNU report. Expect the recruitment of internationally trained doctors and nurses to ramp up as well to help fill the gap. 


Get More Insights From Our Healthcare Recruiters

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Kayla Vangorkum Healthcare Recruiter author

Kayla Vangorkum

Kayla Vangorkum is a Director, Client Services within the Healthcare and Life Sciences team at IQ PARTNERS. She has helped connect thousands of candidates and hiring leaders over her 7+ years in the recruitment industry and is fluent in both English and French. Kayla specializes in executive search and recruitment for all roles across the health sciences industry; her areas of expertise include Healthcare, Digital Health, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Device, Pharmacy, Nursing, Dental, and Sciences. She has experience with recruiting across a range of environments, including CSO, Corporate, Start-up and Consulting.

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