Becoming an LPN in Canada

Becoming an LPN in CanadaIf you’re considering becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Canada, your path will, for the most part, be similar to the one taken by your U.S. counterparts.

Nonetheless, there are several differences that you should be aware of. This guide will cover the key points and provide you with a step-by-step guide to gaining licensure in Canada.

About Practical Nursing in Canada

Practical nursing (i.e. LPN) is one of three types of nursing groups regulated at the national level, along with Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN). The national overseeing body for this group is the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators (CCPNR), which is responsible for supporting the growth and standardization of processes and guidelines for Licensed Practical Nurses in all 10 Canadian provinces and the territories.

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada

There are four main steps required to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada. In the order they must be completed, these are:

  1. Complete the written and verbal nursing and language exams required for admission to your program
  2. Undergo an evaluation of your practical nursing skills and educational background through the appropriate provincial regulator (see above)
  3. Pass a criminal background check and a screening for past disciplinary actions if you previously worked as an LPN elsewhere
  4. Complete the required number of training hours and pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE)

It should be pointed out that residents of Quebec will have slightly different requirements for the CPNRE and certain provincial prerequisites. To review these in detail, please visit the website for the Ordre des infirmieres et infirmiers auxiliaires du Quebec.

LPN Programs in CanadaLPN Programs by Province

When choosing an LPN program in Canada, it is imperative that you look for accreditation by the appropriate provincial regulating body. In order to make this process easier, we have provided the following resource pages which include contact information for all regionally-accredited practical nursing programs in each province.

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LPN Programs in Alberta

LPN Programs in B.C.

LPN Programs in Manitoba

LPN Programs in New Brunswick

LPN Programs in Newfoundland

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LPN Programs in Nova Scotia

LPN Programs in Ontario

LPN Programs on P.E.I.

LPN Programs in Quebec

LPN Programs in Saskatchewan



Provincial Requirements

Most provinces have their own unique educational and employment requirements for practical nursing professionals in addition to those spelled-out by the CCPNR.

To find out about the specific requirements in your province, we’ve provided the following list of the main provincial regulators across Canada:

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Alberta – CLPNA

British Columbia – CLPNBC

Manitoba – CLPNM

New Brunswick – ANBLPN

Newfoundland – CLPNNL

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Nova Scotia – CLPNNS

Ontario – CNO

Prince Edward Island – LPNA

Quebec – OIIAQ

Saskatchewan – SALPN



The Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE)

The final step in becoming an LPN in any Canadian province is passing the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination, or CPNRE. The exam itself is made-up of seven different sections – each of which tests for entry-level competency in a specific discipline of the practical nursing profession.

The following sections are contained within the CPNRE:

  1. Professional Competencies
  2. Ethical Issues
  3. Understanding of Legal Obligations
  4. Patient Assessment
  5. Planning & Implementation of Treatments
  6. Evaluation of Ongoing Treatments
  7. Collaborative Practice

Test Format

The CPNRE is administered at test centers across the country affiliated with Assessment Strategies Inc. and generally consists of 180 to 200 multiple-choice questions. The examination is timed, and students are given a total of four hours to complete their work.

Passing the Exam

The exam is scored solely on a “pass-fail” basis where those students who post a score above the minimum threshold are notified that they have passed, and those who scored below the threshold are notified that they have failed. Students who fail the exam are eligible to retake it, and may also challenge the results through an appeals process with their local regulatory authority if they feel that a mistake has been made.