Filipina nurse gains right to work in Manitoba

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An internationally educated nurse has won the right to be registered to work in Manitoba after she became certified elsewhere in Canada.

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An internationally educated nurse has won the right to be registered to work in Manitoba after she became certified elsewhere in Canada.

Ronna Sigua, who was educated in the Philippines, won her appeal to the Council of the College of Registered Nurses following her July 26 hearing. On that same day, the provincial government issued a compliance order under the Labour Mobility Act that instructed the college to remove the clinical assessment requirement “effective immediately.”

The college was violating domestic trade agreements by not allowing Sigua to work unless she completed additional assessments.

Sigua tried to register as a nurse in Manitoba in 2013, but the college informed her she needed additional education, and that the type of education she needed wasn’t available in Manitoba. Refresher courses in the province that are designed for international nurses wouldn’t suffice, Sigua was told, according to the panel’s written decision. In 2017, Sigua completed an international-nurses bridge program in Quebec and passed Quebec’s professional nursing exam. She was registered as a nurse in Quebec, and later in Ontario through mobility legislation. But when she applied again to Manitoba’s college in March 2021, she was told she couldn’t be registered until she completed a clinical competency assessment, even though she was registered elsewhere in Canada.

Lawyers for the college argued the regulator was entitled to make sure Sigua didn’t need remedial education. The panel ruled unanimously in Sigua’s favour and ordered the college to ensure she’s registered as a nurse.

“Of course, Ms. Sigua is pleased she was successful in her appeal, but notes that for her this litigation has been time-consuming, stressful, expensive, and in her opinion, completely unnecessary. Further, while the college was fighting this case, the province has been deprived of the much-needed services of a number of fully qualified registered nurses,” stated Sigua’s lawyer, Evan Edwards.

The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba maintains the decision will affect a small number of nurses.

In a statement, the college said it will comply with the two July 26 orders that force it to stop requiring clinical competency assessments for nurses who were certified to work in other provinces.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

Katie May

Katie May
Reporter

Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.

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