February 2022

IENs register in record numbers: 2021 New Registrants Report

A new report shows that CNO registered more new nurses in 2021 than in any year since 2018, and the greatest number of new internationally educated nurses (IENs) on record. The boost in registrants comes at a significant moment as the health care system continues to respond to COVID-19.

The New Registrants Report, previously called New Members Report, offers details on the number of nurses who registered with CNO for the first time. It shows that in 2021, CNO registered 12,449 new nurses — that’s a 19% increase from 2020, and more than a 15% increase from 2019. The total number of new nurses registered was about even with 2018, when 107 more nurses registered.

According to Brent Knowles, Director of Analytics and Planning, tracking and analyzing data helps give policymakers and health care leaders information that can support improved health outcomes. “I believe data gives us the ability to frame and understand how the policy decisions we’re making impact both CNO’s work and the system as a whole,” he says.

“Data is foundational,” adds Knowles, characterizing it as a cornerstone to CNO’s approach to serving the public. It’s also a matter of transparency and empowering participants in Ontario’s health care discourse. “Sharing this data publicly allows us to add to the overall health system conversation.”

“Sharing this data publicly allows us to add to the overall health system conversation.”

The growth in the number of new registrants largely came from IENs, whose numbers have been steadily increasing for the past five years. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of new IENs registered increased by 46%, from 2,220 to 3,235. That’s double the number of new IENs registered in 2017, and the highest number of newly registered IENs in any given year on record.  

Beyond IENs, the number of new registrants who trained in Ontario also increased year-over-year, by almost 12%. First-time Nurse Practitioner registrants also went up, going from 291 in 2020 to 425 in 2021, which is a 46% increase.

The information in the report also provides a snapshot of trends in registrants. For instance, compared to previous years, a greater number of registrants were over the age of 25. As well, the top countries of origin for IENs remained India and the Philippines, which combined to make up more than 85% of new IEN registrants.

See all the facts and figures about nurses who registered at CNO for the first time in 2021 in the New Registrants Report.

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