Language Proficiency Policy Changes

Pausing changes to English-language proficiency policy

Please be advised that the College has paused, effective November 13, 2019, the implementation of planned changes to the College's English-language proficiency policy, which would have required, as of January 1, 2020, that new graduates demonstrate English-language proficiency by achieving the minimum required scores on the IELTS test to be eligible to write the NCLEX-RN exam.

More information can be found below, and updates will be posted to this page as they become available.


October 23, 2020

English Language Proficiency Working Group Interim Report

The Working Group has met a total of ten times from September 2019 to September 2020. In the course of the meetings, the following activities were accomplished:

  • Review of several English Language Proficiency Tests
  • Meetings with English Language Proficiency experts: Dr. Alistair Cumming and Anne Senior
  • Meeting with an English Language Proficiency Test Provider: IELTS
  • Meeting with the Department of Education’s Provincial English Language Arts Test expert: Ryan Muirhead

The issues discussed have included:

  • The impact of English language proficiency on patient safety
  • Validity and reliability of language proficiency tests primarily used to assess English as a second language for a predominantly English speaking population
  • Alternative measures of English language proficiency, and their measures of validity and reliability
  • National work being conducted by Canadian nurse regulators to re-establish appropriate cut scores for English language proficiency for IENs and to establish appropriate measures of English language proficiency in the Canadian-born English dominant population
  • Potential impact of English language proficiency requirements on potential applicant pools and students in the programs
  • The time required for academic programs to adjust entry-level requirements.

The Working Group has formulated five (5) recommendations, some of which require further measurement and analysis. Click here to read the interim report.


June 29, 2020

English Language Proficiency Working Group process update

The English Language Proficiency Working Group has met every six weeks, except for March 2020. To date, two recommendations have been drafted for refinement and review. The working group’s original timeline was to meet until June 2020 to provide recommendations to the College, with further evaluation by the College to follow. However, because of the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines have been delayed.  The next meeting is scheduled in early September, with a half day devoted to the final review of the recommendations.

Click here to read a process update and the working group's approved terms of reference.


February 7, 2020

English Language Proficiency Working Group process update

The English Language Proficiency Working Group has been studying, for several months, potential alternative measures to language testing upon nursing program completion, with a goal of ensuring that nursing program graduates possess the minimum standard of English-language proficiency to enter the profession. The working group’s timeline is to meet until June 2020, and to work towards providing recommendations back to the College by the summer of this year, with further evaluation by the College to follow.

Click here to read a process update and the working group's approved terms of reference.


January 22, 2020

Final deadline to apply for IELTS test cost reimbursement

Please be advised that the final deadline to apply for IELTS test cost reimbursement, subject to the criteria outlined below, has been set for February 5, 2020. Any students or recent graduates who have not yet applied for reimbursement are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. You can download a copy of the form today by clicking below:


November 27, 2019

Reimbursement process announced

Manitoba students and recent graduates impacted by the November 13, 2019 announcement pausing the implementation of planned changes to the College's English-language proficiency policy may now apply for reimbursement of IELTS testing costs. Please note that students and recent graduates must meet the criteria to be eligible for reimbursement. Download the form below and ensure that all appropriate documentation is included with your submission:

Criteria
A person is eligible for reimbursement of their IELTS testing fee(s) if they fit the following criteria:

  1. They would have been eligible to apply to write the NCLEX-RN beginning in January 2020;
    AND
  2. Are a student in the final year of their Manitoba nursing education program, OR a recent graduate of a Manitoba nursing education program; AND
  3. Have completed an IELTS test in 2019, OR had an IELTS test date booked in 2019 or 2020 and cancelled it as a result of the College’s announcement on November 13, 2019 (detailed below).

A person is eligible for reimbursement of all IELTS tests completed in 2019, and test scheduled for after November 13th subsequently cancelled. Please submit one form per test booking, with appropriate documentation. 

Please note that for tests scheduled after November 13th, completion of the test is not a requirement for reimbursement. Individuals can decide whether or not they wish to take a previously scheduled test that had been scheduled up to and including December 21, 2019 (during which period, cancellation of a scheduled test may not have been possible).

An IELTS test booking made after November 13th is not eligible for reimbursement.


November 14, 2019

Questions regarding reimbursement of test fees

The College recognizes that some students may have already booked or completed the IELTS test in anticipation of it becoming a requirement to write the NCLEX-RN examination after January 1, 2020.

While students who have already booked their test can decide if they would like to still take it or not, we are not requiring them to take it as part of their application requirements at this time. 

The College will reimburse individuals who have taken the test, had booked a test too late to cancel or where there has been a financial consequence for cancelling the test. 

We have not yet finalized the reimbursement process and criteria, but advise students to save any communication(s) they have received from IELTS with regards to their test fees and/or cancellations as this will be part of the reimbursement process, once finalized.

We appreciate your patience and more information will be made available on this page when the process is finalized.


November 13, 2019

Notice of deferral of policy changes

The College intended to change its language proficiency policy effective January 1, 2020, by requiring new graduates to pass the IELTS English-language proficiency test to be eligible to write the NCLEX-RN exam. This was to respond to concerns that the College had identified in a background paper that showed the completion of a baccalaureate-level nursing program may not be an effective proxy measure for English-language proficiency.

After announcing this change, the College received important feedback from stakeholders, including students, educators, and employers that motivated us to establish a working group comprised of educators and employers to examine whether other potential measures of English-language proficiency exist that align with the College’s regulatory mandate.

Pausing the change to the language proficiency policy allows the working group to complete its important work. The College's goal is to ensure any new measure of English-language proficiency is fair, appropriate, valid, and reliable, and contributes to the provision of safe, competent registered nursing care.

Here are some important points to note:

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  1. No changes to current policy

    There will be no change at this time to the current English-language proficiency policy, which considers completion within the past two years of an approved nursing education program in Canada, where the education was provided in English or where there was an English language requirement for admission to the program, as a proxy measure for English-language proficiency. All programs in Manitoba meet this standard.

  2. Students will be reimbursed (process to be announced)

    Students who took the English-language proficiency test in anticipation of the change in policy will be reimbursed, according to a process that will be communicated in the near future here on the College’s website.

  3. We will keep you informed
    • The College will keep you informed about the progress and recommendations of the working group on English-language proficiency, including sharing the evidence and input we gather that will inform any future decision on this matter.
    • Please check this page often for the most up-to-date information. 

The College remains committed to working with you and all of our stakeholders to deliver on our commitment to protect and serve the public interest.


For more information, please contact:

Registration Services
registration@crnm.mb.ca
204-774-3477 ext. 300


February 7, 2020

English Language Proficiency Working Group process update

The English Language Proficiency Working Group has been studying, for several months, potential alternative measures to language testing upon nursing program completion, with a goal of ensuring that nursing program graduates possess the minimum standard of English-language proficiency to enter the profession. The working group’s timeline is to meet until June 2020, and to work towards providing recommendations back to the College by the summer of this year, with further evaluation by the College to follow.