Ontario Expanding Choices for Prospective Nursing Students

St. Lawrence College Launches Independent Degree


The Ontario government is providing a new pathway for nursing education with the recent launch of St. Lawrence College’s new stand-alone four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Details were shared today by Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities who was joined by Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College and Dr. Barb Le Blanc, St. Lawrence College’s Dean of Health and Wellness.

“This is an important day for St. Lawrence College and for postsecondary education in Ontario,” said Minister Dunlop. “By allowing colleges and universities to have stand-alone degrees our government is increasing choice and reducing barriers to access high-quality, local education for our students. I am delighted to see St. Lawrence College become one of the first colleges to offer a stand-alone nursing degree, independent of a university partner.”

The new program builds on Ontario’s recent changes allowing both publicly-assisted colleges and universities to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing to increase opportunities for students to access a high-quality education. This includes stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs offered at universities, colleges, and through collaborative university-college partnerships.

“I’m thrilled to see that the first cohort of stand-alone nursing students have arrived at St. Lawrence College. I had been advocating for this policy change for many years as it’s another important component to strengthening and sustaining our campuses,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This opportunity for local students to receive a world-class nursing education close to home is great news for everyone involved.”

St. Lawrence College welcomed the first cohort of new nursing students in September 2021.

“Ontario’s nurses go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to patients and we are grateful for their continued efforts throughout the pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “St. Lawrence College’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program will provide students with more choices for nursing education, further strengthening our health care workforce as more Ontarians pursue this important career.”

As part of the government’s recently announced $35 million investment to increase enrolment in nursing education programs in publicly-assisted colleges and universities across the province, the province is also providing up to $876,928 to help increase enrolment in nursing education programs at St. Lawrence College, supporting the training of 48 additional practical nursing students and 48 additional Bachelor of Nursing students.

“I want to thank the province for this investment in nursing education and for recognizing the caliber of college nursing programs and faculty,” said Glenn Vollebregt, St. Lawrence College President and CEO. “The ability to grant our own nursing degree brings an important credential to regions where St. Lawrence College is located, and this funding will help us train more nursing professionals at a time when the need is high.”

Quick Facts
To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario), individuals must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Investing in nursing education supports the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan that was launched last year. At the centre of this plan, the hours of direct care for residents in long-term care will be increasing to an average of four hours per day over four years. To implement this initiative, the government will be making overall investments of $1.9 billion annually by 2024-2025.
Additional Resources
Ontario Colleges
St. Lawrence College
Ontario’s new pathway for nursing education
Ontario is investing $35 million to increase enrolment in nursing education programs in publicly-assisted colleges and universities across the province.

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