Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Search for Occupational Projection Summaries (2022-2031)

The 2022 COPS exercise was developed using the 2016 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The 2016 NOC has 500 occupations. However, many of these occupations are small in terms of employment. Such occupations were combined into broader groupings according to the specific tasks of each occupation. By grouping small occupations with similar tasks together, 293 occupational groupings were obtained. Although NOC already has a more recent version (2021), the model’s input data were only available in the 2016 version of the NOC at the time of the development of the projections.

For more information on the 293 occupational grouping used in COPS, please visit the COPS Occupational Groupings' Definition.

Search Result : Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)

Occupational Outlook
SHORTAGE: This occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2022-2031 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.
Occupations in this Group
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
Skill Type
Health occupations
Skill Level
Occupations usually require university education.
Employment in 2021
Median Age of workers in 2021
40.4 years old
Estimated Median Age of Retirement in 2021
63 years old

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2022-2031) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2022-2031. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions. It is important to note that COPS does not identify imbalances that may temporarily appear during specific years, unless they will persist over the longer run.

Over the 2019-2021 period, employment in this occupational group increased at a higher rate than the average for all occupations. The unemployment rate remained very low and stable, limiting employment growth opportunities due to the lack of available workers. At the same time, the number of job vacancies more than doubled, which also increased the job vacancy rate. As a result of the very low unemployment rate (and limited number of unemployed workers) and a high and growing number of job vacancies, there was consistently less than one unemployed worker per job vacancy, extremely limiting the ability of employers to fill vacancies. The difficult working environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the burnout of many medical professionals. Moreover, the rapid spread of COVID-19 left many health care practitioners out sick or in isolation, creating substantial bottle necks in the health system. Hence, the analysis of these and other key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill all job openings in this occupational group.

Over the period 2022-2031, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses are expected to total 155,400, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 143,700.

As job openings and job seekers are projected to be relatively similar over the 2022-2031 period, it is expected that the shortage between labour supply and demand seen in recent years will continue over the projection period. Job openings are projected to arise from both employment growth and retirements. Employment growth is expected to be much higher than the average of all occupations, accounting for more than 50% of all job openings. As the Canadian population ages, the demand for health services and consequently the need for health care professionals is projected to increase. Moreover, the commitment made by some provinces to reduce wait times in emergency rooms, for treatments, and for surgery is expected to contribute to the increase of labour demand for workers in this occupation. Also, nurses who have received the proper training are now allowed to complete tasks that they were previously not authorized to do, such as using a collective prescription to adjust medications, initiating diagnostic and therapeutic measures, and prescribing contraceptives. Moreover, retirements are projected to account for about 35% of job openings. Pressures resulting from these departures are expected to be near the national average, as workers in this occupational group have a similar age structure to that of other occupations.

With regard to labour supply, school leavers are projected to represent the vast majority of job seekers. Net mobility is expected to be negative for this occupation, resulting from the high educational requirements and the departure of many workers for supervisory roles, notably nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (also expected to face strong demand). Finally, given the strict regulations in place to practice in nursing fields, immigration is expected to account for 13% of all new workers in this occupation.

Projection of Cumulative Job Openings and Job Seekers over the Period of 2022-2031

This table contains data related to Projected Job Openings.
Level Share
Expansion Demand: 85,200 55%
Retirements: 55,100 35%
Other Replacement Demand: 7,500 5%
Emigration: 7,600 5%
Projected Job Openings: 155,400 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 157,600 110%
Immigration: 23,300 16%
Other: -37,100 -26%
Projected Job Seekers: 143,700 100%
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