In Depth: Language Proficiency

“Language proficiency” means the ability to communicate and comprehend effectively, both orally and in writing, in either language.

The College reviews your evidence to determine if you demonstrate the ability to read, write, listen and speak at a level that permits you to practise nursing safely in Ontario.

All evidence supporting language proficiency must have been completed within the two years before you receive your certificate of registration from the College. (This timeframe may be extended by the Registration Committee; see below for details.)

Meeting the language proficiency requirement

The majority of applicants to the College meet the language proficiency requirement in one of three ways:

    • by completing a nursing program in Ontario, Canada or another jurisdiction where:
      • theory and clinical instruction was provided in English or French
      • the primary language of the educational institution was English or French
      • the program was not an online or distance education program and
      • theory and clinical instruction was not completed exclusively through PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition)  

    • by holding current registration with the College (or having held registration within the last two years) in the General, Temporary, Extended, or Special Assignment classes

  • by holding current registration with another nursing regulatory body in Canada (or having held registration within the last two years), in an equivalent active and practising class 

Applicants who can’t demonstrate language proficiency through their nursing program, registration status, or a recent language proficiency test must provide other evidence of language proficiency.

Requesting an extension

All applicants have the right to request an extension of the timeframe if their evidence of language proficiency falls outside the normal two-year timeframe (e.g., if you want your program completion date from more than two years ago to be extended to meet the language proficiency requirement). This timeframe may be extended by the Registration Committee.

If your extension request is not granted, then you will have to meet the requirement through another option, such as writing an approved language proficiency test.

Page last reviewed December 20, 2015