Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Summer 2017

IEN Connector Stories Summer 2017


Meet Our New CARE Centre Staffers

Ismail El Assaad, RN, Case Manager

Ismail El Assaad, RN, Case Manager

CARE Centre is pleased to announce that two new case managers and an office records coordinator, all nurses, have joined the CARE Centre staff. Member IEN Ismail El Assaad, RN, the 2012 Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award-winner, is the new case manager in the London office. Ismail continues to work as a critical care nurse at London Health Sciences University Hospital. 

Grace Felix, RPN, Case Manager

Grace Felix, RPN, Case Manager

Member IEN Grace Felix was recently working in Atlantic Canada as an RPN, and returns to Ontario as a case manager in the Brampton office. CARE Centre has also received funding to hire Ronelca Joseph as File Management Clerk to assist in digitizing CARE Centre’s records. Ronelca, who also has a nursing background as an RPN, joins front office assistant Vanesta Dieudonne in keeping CARE Centre running smoothly. Welcome All!


CARE Centre’s 2016 – 2017 Annual Report Now Online

Dhan Sahi, RPN

Dhan Sahi, RPN

CARE Centre’s newest annual report is now available to read or download on the website (posted under the “About Us” section). “Having marked its 15th anniversary year and now in its 16th year of service, CARE Centre has served thousands of IENs and has positively affected system-wide change for IENs’ integration to the Ontario healthcare workforce,” said Executive Director Dr. Ruth Lee. “CARE Centre’s case management model is unique in the supports IENs can access in Ontario and is the most client-centred program available. We are delighted to have several IENs working as case managers, some of whom are members who completed their registration with us.” Case managers in the regional offices are available for individual information sessions by appointment.

Deputy Minister Congratulates Latest Cohort of CARE Centre IENs

Case Manager Michelle Gordon, Valedictorian Aaron Antonio, RN, CARE Centre Executive Director Dr. Ruth Lee, Alexander Bezzina, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, 2015 IEN of the Year Kareen Tacderas, RN, and Case Manager Lourdes Vicente.

Case Manager Michelle Gordon, Valedictorian Aaron Antonio, RN, CARE Centre Executive Director Dr. Ruth Lee, Alexander Bezzina, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, 2016 IEN of the Year Kareen Tacderas, RN, and Case Manager Lourdes Vicente.

On June 19th, CARE Centre celebrated the achievement of 113 IENs for passing their nursing registration exams and completing the bridging program. A special guest at the event was Mr. Alexander Bezzina, Deputy Minister for the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, CARE Centre’s government funder. Mr. Bezzina shared his appreciation for IENs and wished them the best for their careers. “Our IENs become members for life when they join CARE Centre, so they are always part of the family as we support them in continuing milestones,” said Executive Director Dr. Ruth Lee. “This year we had graduate Aaron Antonio give the valedictorian speech, and one of last year’s Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award-winners, Kareen Tacderas, also offered words of encouragement and inspiration. IENs overcome incredible barriers and challenges to pursue their dream of nursing in Ontario and we are grateful for the continuing support of the Ministry for funding CARE Centre and sharing our vision of a more inclusive nursing workforce for Ontario.”


It’s a Small World After All

 Lina Hassan

Lina Hassan

Attending a recent Newcomer Expo, CARE Centre Communications Specialist Tina Novotny took part in a group exercise where attendees introduced themselves to the person sitting next to them. Who should Tina meet but Lina Hassan, an IEN recently arrived from Dubai, where she was acquainted with member IEN and former CARE Centre instructor Rola Moubadder, who now teaches in her home country.

Rola Moubadder

“You know, when I first planned to pursue my nursing license in Canada I was confused and feeling lonely, I didn’t know how and where to start,” said Hassan. “I connected with Rola while still in Dubai. Rola gave me a lot of support and information on how to start and told me not to give up. And she said ‘Go to CARE Centre, you’ll be in safe hands!’ CARE Centre staff are people who support others deep from their hearts with a passion to help.” Thanks Rola! Thanks Lina!


Windsor-area Member Featured in Magazine

Randa Al Hassani, RN

Randa Al Hassani, RN

CARE Centre member IEN Randa Al Hassani was profiled in a Windsor magazine called Biz X in honour of National Nursing Week 2017. Randa told editor Deborah Jones, “I chose to immigrate to Canada as it is the best country in the world with outstanding education and healthcare systems. Being a nurse here is a great honour to me. CARE Centre supported me by setting up an action plan to successfully complete all the necessary steps to qualify as a registered nurse in Ontario. My case manager helped me gain employment by critiquing my resume, teaching me interview skills and providing a Canadian reference. My employers and co-workers give me great support and being part of a team that improves the quality of life for our seniors every day, I consider that an amazing role.” Read the whole article here. (Article is on page 17.)


PASS Member IENs Bring the Global Village to Canada

Unnati Christian and Ronald Thakor

Unnati Christian and Ronald Thakor

CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS), funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, has released data about international participants since the start of the fiscal year April 1, 2017. In three months there have been 51 new IENs registered with PASS, out of a total of 204 since the launch of the program in January 2016. The greatest number apply from the Philippines, with India the second-spot country. Many of the IENs are heading to Quebec, with Ontario the second-ranked destination province. Although PASS has an extensive referral network of government and private agencies, many IENs find out about PASS by searching out the website or by visiting the PASS Facebook page. The PASS IENs are predominantly female at 75%, but the 25% of male IENs is significantly higher than the ratio of domestically educated nurses, which can be a single-digit percentage or rarely higher than 10 percent. “Nursing is a much-less gendered profession in other parts of the world than in North America,” said PASS Program Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel. “Gender is just another element of the desirable diversity that IENs bring to Canadian healthcare.”

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

IEN Connector Fall 2016 Edition

Meet our New Brampton Case Managers

CARE Centre’s Peel Region office in downtown Brampton now has two full-time case managers serving clients.

Natolina Marius-Springer

Natolina Marius-Springer

Natolina Marius-Springer is a CARE Centre member RPN, on her way to obtaining her RN, who worked as a nursing instructor in St. Lucia. “Having been on the IEN journey in Ontario, I can relate to our clients’ needs on a very personal basis,” said Marius-Springer. “There are many steps in the registration process, and using my knowledge and experience to help others is very rewarding.”

Junlex Doydora

Junlex Doydora

Junlex Doydora is originally from the Philippines where he worked as a bank officer, having later completed his nursing studies and RN registration in Ontario. He has worked as an RN both in Canada and the USA. “Jun” has also experienced coming to Canada as an immigrant shifting careers from banking to nursing. “After a first career I was called to the nursing profession. I started as a PSW, became an RPN and now an RN. I want to spread the message to our clients that through hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, one can succeed.”

The Brampton office holds regular group information sessions. Please visit the CARE Centre website to register:

CARE Centre Member IEN Joins Board of Directors
Hameed Zahedi, RN, BSN

Hameed Zahedi, RN, BSN

We are pleased to welcome Hameed Zahedi, RN, BSN, to the second CARE Centre member IEN seat on the board of directors. Janet Kwanza, RN, is the other IEN member serving on the board. Hameed currently works as a Psychiatric Nurse at the Dundas West Medical Clinic. He was registered with the CNO in 2015 and presented at the CARE Centre’s Conference for IENs that year. He did his nursing education and was licensed in the U.S. and was awarded a Nightingale in Nursing certificate for his achievements. His work experience is in medical-surgical and mental health nursing. Prior to immigrating, Hameed was a university professor in Iran in the field of second language education and linguistics.

CARE Centre Welcomes Master’s Student

Jennifer Cheng, RN

Jennifer Cheng is collaborating with CARE Centre Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk as preceptor on a project to complete her Master of Nursing Degree in Health Policy and Education at Ryerson University. Jennifer has been a registered nurse for over five years and currently works full time on the multi-organ transplant unit at SickKids. During her placement, Jennifer will be focusing her research on the Observational Job Shadowing (OJS) Program to gain insight on the program through the lens of the expert nurse in order to expand placements. Jennifer hopes that her findings will allow IENs to have greater opportunities to discover the diverse areas of nursing available and gain workplace experience.  “Once again CARE is pleased to provide a placement opportunity for a Ryerson Masters nursing student,” said Wojtiuk. “This initiative represents a “win-win” partnership affording CARE the opportunity showcase IENs and to gain enhanced program insights while supporting a nursing leader of tomorrow in achieving their educational goal.”

Announcing the 2016 Joan Lesmond IENs of the Year
Viral Pandya, RPN, winner of the 2016 RPN IEN of the Year Award

Viral Pandya, RPN, winner of the 2016 RPN IEN of the Year Award

CARE Centre thanks board member Ella Ferris, RN, MBA, recently retired from St. Michael’s Hospital, who again chaired the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards committee to select outstanding members to be recognized for their achievements. There were seven nominees for each nursing designation, and the committee had a strong field of contenders to consider.

Kareen Tacderas, RN, winner of the 2016 RN IEN of the Year Award

Kareen Tacderas, RN, winner of the 2016 RN IEN of the Year Award

Viral Pandya, who works at ParaMed, is the RPN IEN of the Year. Kareen Tacderas, who works at Humber River Hospital, is the RN IEN of the Year. Both will receive their awards in a November presentation. Many thanks to committee members Dr. Ruth Lee of McMaster University; Dianne Martin, CEO of RPNAO; Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of RNAO, and last year’s award recipients Rupali Krishna, RN, and Alex Lamsden, RPN. CARE Centre Executive Director Dr. Sue VanDeVelde-Coke joined the committee this year.

PASS Attends National Immigration Meeting
Newly arrived PASS participants Salima Mithany and Christina Lehman

Newly arrived PASS participants Salima Mithany and Christina Lehman

On September 27 PASS Coordinator Meghan Wankel attended the Planning for Canada Consultative Conference in Ottawa. Planning for Canada, an amalgamation of the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) and Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) provides pre-arrival services to Canada-bound immigrants in 5 regional and 40 satellite offices across the globe. While attending the conference Meghan connected with two newly-arrived PASS participants, Salima and Christina from Pakistan and the United States, who had recently settled in Ottawa. Meghan had a wonderful time connecting with the IENs to hear about their experiences in PASS and arriving in Canada. Salima Mithany and Christina Lehman were very excited to build their networks in Ottawa as they work towards licensure. As of publication, 100 IENs have accessed services through PASS since January 2016.

CARE Centre Presents at NNAS Conference

CARE Centre Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk and Case Manager (and inaugural IEN of the Year) Loy Asheri

The National Nursing Assessment Service hosted its inaugural conference on October 18th and 19th in Toronto. CARE Centre Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk and Case Manager (and inaugural IEN of the Year) Loy Asheri presented on CARE Centre’s Competency Assessment Supplement (CAS) program, which helps IEN RPN candidates present their clinical qualifications and experience to the College of Nurses of Ontario to fulfill competency requirements. Ruth and Loy joined a roster of speakers examining healthcare human resource policy, change management and nurse leadership.

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

Current Course Offerings at CARE Centre

CARE Centre has collaborated with expert nurses and learning specialists to develop signature programs designed to meet the particular needs of IENs seeking registration in Canada. While some are restricted to CARE Centre members, others are open to all interested candidates. Please see links below for details on current offerings and view the What We Do section of the website for more general information.





CELBAN Preparation Workshop


Competency Assessment Supplement (CAS) Workshop


*NEW* Effective Communication Strategies for Nurses


*NEW* RPN Exam Preparation & Review Course


Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre Case Managers are now available to meet with IENs in the offices of community partners around the Greater Toronto Area!

CARE Centre Case Managers are now available to meet with IENs in the offices of community partners around the Greater Toronto Area. These co-located offices are listed below. For information on service hours and to speak with a case manager to book an appointment, please call CARE Centre’s main phone number at 416-226-2800.


3100 Rutherford Road


c/o Kababayan Multicultural Centre
1313 Queen Street West, Suite 133

c/o Touchstone Institute
902-80 Bloor St. West


c/o Access Employment
Dorset Park Hub
1911 Kennedy Road, Suite 105




Safe Practice Opportunity

Practice Experience Description:
CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (CARE Centre) in collaboration with University Health Network (UHN) announces an opportunity for member IENs to meet their outstanding safe practice requirement and complete their RN/RPN registration. This experience is not designed to complete the competency gap requirement. It is an enhanced supervised experience intended for IENs who have completed all RN/RPN registration requirements but for whom their “Evidence of RN/RPN Nursing Practice” expired after February 2020. Upon successful completion interested participants will have the opportunity to apply for a full time position with UHN.

To be included ALL the following mandatory criteria must be met:
o CARE Centre member
o Not enrolled in a bridging program
o CNO letter “Evidence of Safe Practice has expired”
o ALL other registration requirements met – no exceptions
o Available to work full time hours (400) for 3 months starting immediately.
o Professional Liability Insurance
o Vulnerable person police check
o COVID 19 vaccination – if not vaccinated must access through UHN
o Attend information session

Date : April 21, 2021 Time – 10:00AM to 11:00AM

Zoom link :

Meeting ID: 811 6735 9328 Passcode: 224133


CARE 20th Celebration Webinar

CARE CENTRE is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. 
Topic: Live Webinar – Board Members
Time: Mar 24, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
Join Zoom Meeting 
Meeting ID: 829 3783 8773
Passcode: 527717


Research Study on Ethnic Minority Nurses & UCPs

Hi everyone, a Ryerson University team is seeking ethnic minority nurses & UCPs to participate in a one-time short online survey. We would like to understand your experiences facing stigma and discrimination while also working on the frontlines against COVID-19. Participants will be eligible to win a $150 e-gift card  should they provide their personal information to enter a draw. Here is the survey link:


IEN’s challenges and opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic

疫情下當局加速認證海外註冊護士 — Sep 16, 2020 (ON)
新冠疫情令前線醫護人員人手持續緊張, 加上省府宣布調派500名護士到各學校協助防疫工作, 令護士人手更見不足. 究竟在疫情下, 省府或監管當局有否放寬或加速吸納持有海外資歷的註冊護士, 以解燃眉之急呢? 專訪協助海外受訓護士獲取本地專業資格的國際受訓護士中心行政總監李濃歡博士。


A message from CARE Centre’s Executive Director, Dr. Ruth Lee

Dear Valued CARE Centre Members,

Happy Nursing Week!

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of the 200th anniversary of the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale’s birth. The theme of this year’s National Nursing Week (May 11 – 17) is Nurses: A Voice to Lead — Nursing the World to Health. During this very challenging time of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are once again demonstrating heroism in nursing the world to health. I am writing with utmost respect and highest regard for your courage, expertise, and commitment to nursing and care to our community in this unprecedented time.

At CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses, we endeavour to support you on your journey of integration into the Canadian Health Care system and excel in your career. We take pride in your success, as your success is our success!

To allow you access to reliable information related to COVID-19, we have created a special section on our website to provide you with official websites and resources that you may find helpful. You will also find profiles of many of your peers who are currently at the frontline of combating COVID-19. With generous support from many outstanding nursing leaders, we are pleased to bring you a series of free online professional development webinars, and clinical skills related workshops with nominal cost. Our members only job board also features multiple career opportunities in all sectors of healthcare services in Ontario. I invite you to visit our new and refreshed website to find out more.

Take care, stay safe, and keep in touch – together we’ll overcome!

With admiration and gratitude,

Ruth Ruth Lee, RN, MScN, PhD
Executive Director