Cardiovascular perfusion students Aaron Ballard and Madison Howatt talk with Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Health Minister Sylvia Jones in a simulated operating room at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN during a visit on Thursday as UHN President & CEO Dr. Kevin Smith and Professor Constantine Dalamagas look on. (Photo: UHN)

The Ontario government is investing more than $4.6 million in The Michener Institute of Education at UHN to remove financial barriers for nurses wanting to upskill to work in critical care.

Premier Doug Ford came to Michener on Thursday to announce the funding, which will provide free tuition for students and all college and hospital costs, including backfilling their current roles to ensure continuity of care, and allow nurses to train to work in critical care areas in hospitals.

By spring 2023, close to 600 registered nurses will have completed their upskilling education through The Michener Institute and will be ready to support critical care in hospitals across Ontario.

"For over 60 years, the primary mandate of Michener has been to partner with the Ontario government to graduate much needed health care professionals who move seamlessly into environments where they become invaluable members of health care teams providing high quality and timely patient care," said Dr. Harvey Weingarten, Principal of The Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

"Never in its history has this mandate been more significant, which is why Michener is on an ambitious program of expansion to help fill the health human resource shortages being faced in Ontario and all of Canada."

Prior to the funding announcement, Premier Ford and Deputy Premier and Health Minister Sylvia Jones toured a fourth floor operating room cardiovascular perfusion simulation set-up at the Michener.

"While there is still more work to do, our plan to expand Ontario's health workforce is adding thousands of new nurses, with nearly 14,000 new nurses registered to work in the province so far this year," the Premier said.

"We're breaking down barriers for internationally educated nurses to work here in Ontario and are providing more opportunity for all nurses to grow in the job. It's all hands on deck as we use every tool we have to get more nurses working in Ontario right now."

Premier Doug Ford made the funding announcement at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN on Thursday along with, (L to R), Deputy Premier and Health Minister Sylvia Jones, Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN President & CEO, and Dr. Harvey Weingarten, Principal of The Michener. (Photo: UHN)

UHN President & CEO, Dr. Kevin Smith, thanked the provincial government for its support.

"As Canada's premier academic hospital, UHN prides itself on finding solutions to the most difficult health questions – for our patients, for the wider system and for policymakers," said Dr. Smith. “The Michener Institute is essential to that strategy."

In addition to The Michener Institute, the government also announced it is investing more than $9.4 million to support accelerated critical care nursing at Centennial College, Conestoga College, George Brown College, Laurentian University, Mohawk College and St. Lawrence College.

"With a record number of new nurses registering in Ontario this year, our plan to bolster our health care workforce and ensure high quality health care is there for patients when they need it is working," said Deputy Premier and Health Minister Jones.

"We will continue to invest in programs to recruit, retain and train more nurses as we build a stronger, more resilient health care system for generations to come."​


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