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Nursing Statistics

Highlights from the 2018 pan-Canadian statistics on regulated nurses from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI):

Nursing supply

In 2018, there were 431,769 regulated nurses with an active licence. The distribution of nurses by licence type is as follows:

  • 303,146 registered nurses (RNs), including nurse practitioners (NPs) — a growth of 0.71% from 2017.
  • 5,697 NPs — NPs saw the highest growth rate of 8.02% between 2017 and 2018.
  • 122,600 licensed/registered practical nurses — 3,656 more than the previous year, representing the greatest growth by number among all nursing designations (3.07% growth rate from 2017 to 2018).
  • 6,023 registered psychiatric nurses — a growth of 1.45% from 2017.

The overall growth rate of the regulated nursing population was approximately 1%, which closely follows the trend in population growth of Canada. (Population growth rate is based on 2016-2017 data.)


Practical nurses are the youngest group of nurses, with an average age of about 41 years; RNs, NPs, and RPNs all had an average age of around 44 years. As a group, the nursing workforce is becoming younger, with average ages among each licence type either remaining the same or decreasing slightly over the past year. Since 2009, the average age of nurses in each designation has decreased by at least one year and the average age of registered psychiatric nurses has decreased by three years (from 47.6 to 44.6 years).


In 2018, there were 389,648 female regulated nurses and 37,636 male regulated nurses in Canada. Male nurses were 9.5% of the nursing population and accounted for 32% of the increase in regulated nurses between 2017 and 2018.


  • 93.3% of regulated nurses were employed in the profession at the time of registration
  • 56.7% of the workforce was employed full time
  • 32.5% were employed part-time
  • 10.5% were employed on a casual basis
  • 0.3% had an unknown employment type

Visit CIHI’s website for the full report, including data tables and provincial breakdowns.