There is a growing need for health care professionals to help address current and future demand throughout the health care system. Alberta’s post-secondaries play an important role in ensuring there are enough qualified nurses when and where Albertans need them.

Through this funding, internationally educated nurses will have access to an additional 1,221 spaces at post-secondary institutions so they can complete the programs they need for certification in Alberta.

“Investing in more seats in bridging programs helps internationally educated nurses get to work in our communities and meet Alberta’s need for highly skilled and dedicated health care workers. Our post-secondary institutions are valued partners in meeting that need, both in their home communities and across the province.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

This funding is enabling Alberta’s government to create 848 new registered nurse pathway seats and 373 new licensed practical nurse seats over three years to help nurses who were trained in other countries become licensed to practise nursing in Alberta. This builds on the more than 600 new seats for registered nurse and licensed practical nurse bridging programs announced in February.

“Adding additional seats for nurse bridging programs is a vital step towards addressing the growing demand for health care professionals in our province. Internationally educated nurses play a crucial role in meeting the health care needs of Albertans and this initiative will help them integrate more easily into communities across our province.” 

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

“Lethbridge will play a major role in this program, as it is uniquely positioned with two leading post-secondary institutions that will be connected to almost one-quarter of the new seats and will help open opportunities for nurses outside of Alberta’s major centres.”

Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge-East

“The College of Registered Nurses of Alberta supports the announcement of the investment to create additional seats in bridging programs for internationally educated nurses. The college looks forward to seeing the impact this has on strengthening the health care ecosystem in Alberta.”

Joy Peacock, chief executive officer and registrar, College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA)

Alberta’s government is also investing $3 million for planning and design work at University Hall at the University of Lethbridge. Known for its award-winning design and being the first building built on campus, its former lab spaces will be modernized to better suit the needs of the growing university.

“Investments in initiatives that enhance Alberta's health care system are of utmost importance. Access to a high-quality health care system not only promotes individual well-being but also plays a pivotal role in fortifying the resilience of Alberta's communities.”

Digvir Jayas, president and vice-chancellor, University of Lethbridge

“We are always looking for innovative ways to enhance and expand program access for students. This is a great example of collaboration between the provincial government, the Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge.”

Brad Donaldson, president, Lethbridge College

Quick facts

  • The $11 million over the next three years will create 1,221 additional seats for nurse bridging programs at:
  • $2.4 million – University of Lethbridge/Lethbridge College: 100 seats
  • $2.6 million – Lethbridge College partnering with Bow Valley College: 108 seats
  • $0.5 million – Bow Valley College: 96 seats
  • $0.5 million – Northwestern Polytechnic: 96 seats
  • $0.5 million – Portage College: 96 seats
  • $0.5 million – Keyano College: 96 seats
  • $2.4 million – MacEwan University: 364 seats
  • $0.5 million – Keyano College partnering with NorQuest College: 40 seats
  • $0.6 million – Red Deer Polytechnic partnering with NorQuest College: 135 seats
  • $0.4 million – NorQuest College: 90 seats
  • Under Budget 2023, Alberta’s government is also investing $7.8 million annually to fund non-repayable financial assistance for internationally educated nurses.
  • Eligible internationally educated nurses can access as much as $30,000 over five years to offset the costs of nursing bridging programs, including tuition. The bursary is non-repayable for those who agree to live and work in rural Alberta as a nurse after graduation for a period of one year for every $6,000 in assistance provided.
  • Budget 2023 investments at University of Lethbridge:
  • Alberta’s government is investing $3 million in planning funding to improve the facility’s energy efficiency and operating sustainability.
  • The funding will support the next phase of the destination project to repurpose vacant buildings and will look for opportunities to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize energy efficiency – all to better meet the needs of students in the future.
  • Budget 2023 invests:
    • $1 million over three years to create 100 new seats in the bridge to Canadian nursing for internationally educated nurses program in collaboration with Lethbridge College.
    • $0.6 million over three years to create 16 seats in the bachelor of nursing program in collaboration with Lethbridge College.
    • $1.7 million over three years to create 40 new seats in the bachelor of science in computer science program.
    • $0.3 million over three years to create 35 new seats in the graduate certificate in data science.
    • Total: $3.6 million
  • Budget 2023 investments in southern Alberta (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College and Medicine Hat College):
    • Targeted enrolment expansion: $3.9 million to create 169 new seats in high-demand programs
    • Tech talent funding: $2.1 million to create 135 seats in high-demand technology programs
    • Internationally educated nurses:
      • $2.4 million to create 100 new seats in a collaborative bridging program for internationally educated nurses at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.
      • $2.6 million to create 108 new seats in the Bow Valley College practical nurse diploma program at Lethbridge College.
    • Apprenticeship funding: $2.7 million to support seats for apprentices
    • Capital maintenance and renewal funding: $10.9 million to update campus facilities and improve student experiences
    • Total: $24.6 million