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CARE Centre’s IEN Connector Winter 2018

Dear Friends and Members of CARE Centre,

It’s that time of year when we reach out to our shared community in the cause of IENs to thank everyone for their continuing commitment. To our partners, thank you for your collaboration in preparing IENs for nursing career success. To our Pre-Arrival Supports and Services members, and to our CARE Centre member IENs, thank you for your passion for nursing in Canada and for working with our Case Managers to achieve your dreams. Please enjoy our winter edition of The IEN Connector. We wish everyone safe, relaxing and happy holidays, and wish you all the best in 2019!

From All of Us at CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses

2018 Joan Lesmond IENs of the Year

Left: Novlette Delisser-Francis; Right: An Na Ke

In the seventh edition of the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards, the selection committee once again had a field of highly deserving nominees to consider. This year’s winners are Registered Nurse Novlette Delisser-Francis,  an IEN from Jamaica now working in acute  care for Eastern Health in Newfoundland, and Registered Practical Nurse An Na Ke, an IEN originally from the Philippines who practiced nursing in Taiwan for many years, now working at the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto. “I am truly humbled at receiving the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award in the RN category,” said Delisser-Francis. “I was surprised that I was selected knowing that the other nominees are very much as capable as I am in such a noble profession. Nursing is my calling and my passion.”

“Winning the Joan Lesmond award is a huge recognition and a great honor for an IEN who struggled to fit in and be able to achieve professional goals in such a competitive environment,” said Ke. “Being an awardee makes me feel special and blessed. It motivates me to continue giving inspiration to my fellow IENs and to continue spreading love to my patients.”

“CARE Centre is grateful to all the members of the selection committee for their commitment to celebrating IENs in Ontario healthcare, especially the long-serving chair, Ella Ferris,” said Executive Director Ruth Lee. Along with Dr. Lee and last year’s winners Derrick Ntungwe and Gaynor Quieros, nursing leaders Doris Grinspun , Lesley Hirst, Shannon Holcomb, Pat Martin, Elaine Santa Mina, Annette Weere (substituting for Dianne Martin) and Lucia Yiu served on the 2018 committee.

PASS Participation Increases

The Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) team has prepared a half-year report for the funder, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and it has been a period of substantial enrollment and results. In the last six months, 195 IENs joined the online program on their journey to nursing in Canada. The majority of referrals to PASS come through the federal government’s overseas Prepare for Canada offices. The majority of clients are emigrating from The Philippines, followed by India and Nigeria. IENs from all over the world, from Mauritius to Macedonia, Nepal to Norway, are benefitting from PASS’ customized offerings. “It’s incredibly gratifying to be part of these nurses’ edification as they get ready to build a new life in Canada,” said Meghan Wankel. “Getting to know them as a case manager, I can attest to how much Canadian patients and families are going to benefit from their knowledge and skills when they return to their nursing careers.” The Canadian Nurses Association mentorship program is very popular with PASS member nurses. Featured in the photo are Jeannie Hare, an Alberta-based mentor who is a champion of rural nursing, and PASS mentee Oneikah Richards, a nurse from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who completed her PhD and was a nursing professor in St. Vincent. They are celebrating Richard’s new RN position in the far north of Alberta. 

Learning from Leaders at CAMH

CARE Centre staff and member IENs recently had a tour of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, learning about the history of the institution and its storied buildings, and finding out about the significant expansion currently underway. A recognized world-leader in addictions and mental health care and research, CAMH also sets standards for workplace diversity and inclusion. Dr. Rani Srivastava, CAMH Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice, delivered a presentation to the tour group and CAMH staff members on Cultural Competency in the Healthcare Workplace. CAMH is one of CARE Centre’s Observational Job Shadowing Partners. Read more about the program in the next story!

OJS Partners Offer IENs Insight

One of CARE Centre’s cornerstone programs is Observational Job Shadowing (OJS), giving member IENs the chance to share several shifts with expert nurses in a variety of nursing settings. “For all of the studying and clinical practicing our nurses do, OJS is the real eye-opener for them,” said OJS Lead and Hamilton Case Manager Lourdes Vicente. “It’s invaluable for them to witness first-hand how the Canadian healthcare system works in real time.” CARE Centre’s OJS partners include acute and long-term care employers, as well as community nursing organizations. CARE Centre is grateful to partners such as Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre that have supported numerous OJS placements. Pictured are Expert Nurse Tanya Rahim-Juttlah and member IEN Raya Balagtey at the Dorothy Macham Home site. Find out more about the OJS program and partners on our website at

CARE Centre’s New Brampton Location

CARE Centre has moved to a new location in Brampton very close to Main and Queen Streets. Our new location is at 12 Church Street East on the third floor inside the Fortis Law Practise building. CARE Centre also sees clients in Peel Region at the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, 5510 Mavis Road, Mississauga. CARE Centre has two case managers serving IENs in the region: Grace Felix and Natolina Marius-Springer  (pictured). To attend an information session at Brampton’s Centre for Education and Training or other locations, visit the events section of our website.

CARE Centre’s Holiday Hours

Please be advised that CARE Centre will be closed for the holiday period from Tuesday, December 25th through Tuesday, January 1st. We wish all our member nurses and colleagues the very best of the festive season and hope you have a safe and happy holiday with your family and friends. Join us in 2019 for a new slate of programs and workshops and the re-launch of our website with many new features. Happy New Year too!

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Summer 2018

CARE Centre’s 2017 – 2018 Annual Report is Now Available

CARE Centre’s annual report includes the latest data on member IENs, highlights of the year and lots of smiling faces! In her Message from the Executive Director, Dr. Ruth Lee thanked the wider community supporting internationally educated nurses as CARE Centre’s partners: “We are grateful to all the organizations we work with and who provide opportunities to our member IENs: the employers, regulators, professional associations, academic institutions, settlement agencies, local immigration partnerships and others. When we share our strengths in the cause of IEN advancement, everyone benefits.”



Convention and Conference Update

Executive Director Ruth Lee attended the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) convention in Ottawa mid-June focusing on the theme: From Insights to Impact: It Starts with Nursing. Pictured are CARE Centre member IEN Adela Belisario, RPN, a complex continuing care nurse at Baycrest Health Sciences, who presented at the conference, and former CARE Centre case manager, Norma Tomlin, now a Professional Practice representative at the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario. Earlier in the year, Ruth attended the Partners in Education and Integration of Internationally Educated Nurses conference in Montreal, where she presented with Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) Coordinator Meghan Wankel on PASS’ mentorship program with the CNA, pairing newcomer IENs with CNA member nurses across the country.

Member IEN featured in Mental Health Awareness Campaign


Congratulations to our Hamilton-area member IEN Sashani Brown-Gowdie, RN, the “poster nurse” for her employer St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s #GETLOUD campaign in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week in May. As the largest health centre serving the communities of west Toronto, St. Joseph’s Health Centre has a comprehensive range of supports and services for thousands of people living with mental illness. St. Joe’s Mental Health and Addictions program has grown to include both inpatient and ambulatory services for patients of all ages. Brown-Gowdie works in the Youth Wellness Centre with the Youth Mobile Team. Find out more here.

CARE Centre in the Media


CARE Centre thanks the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario for including the organization in it magazine RNAO Journal. In broadcast news, Executive Director Ruth Lee and London-area member IEN Rebecca Leung appeared on OMNI TV’s Chinese-language (Mandarin and Cantonese) news magazine in a two-part report discussing CARE Centre and IENs’ contributions to nursing in Ontario, particularly in the face of an increasing nursing shortage in the province. Watch part one here. Watch part two here.

Deadline or Submissions to the 2018 Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards is September 15th


There is still plenty of time for CARE Centre member IENs to complete a nomination form for the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards, where one RN and one RPN is recognized for their outstanding dedication to nursing. Candidates must have been employed at least one year, and may self-nominate, receive a nomination from workplace colleagues or families and patients, or other supporters. CARE Centre founded the award in 2011 for its 10th anniversary, named for the late nursing leader who championed IENs. So far, 11 member nurses have received the honour. More information is available at



CARE Centre’s Language Programming



CARE Centre has a new video on YouTube about Language and Communication for Nurses (LCN) programming, including iCELBAN assessments and CELBAN exam preparation. Instructor Cara Malla is a language specialist who hosts the video and oversees LCN curriculum at CARE Centre. “CARE Centre’s LCN courses offer opportunities for nurses from all over the world to develop their communications skills and build confidence in the way they communicate,” says Malla. Nurses in the Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) program can access these nursing-specific language courses and have a huge advantage in re-establishing their nursing careers.” Watch the video here.

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Spring 2018

CARE Centre has moved in Toronto and Peel Region

Please note that CARE Centre has relocated to three new office spaces. CARE Centre’s head office is now in the Parkdale-High Park area known as the Junction Triangle. Our new address is 128A Sterling Road, Suite 202, Toronto, ON, M6R 2B7. The access door to CARE Centre’s new location is located behind the Henderson Brewery. Other neighbours are the Drake Commissary, House of Anansi Press, and the new Museum of Contemporary Art. Did we mention the Nestlé factory that makes the whole neighbourhood smell like chocolate?

Our Brampton office at Nelson Street West has closed, and we have two new locations to serve IENs in Peel Region. CARE Centre’s new Brampton office is housed in the Regus Offices in the Brampton County Court Business Centre at 2 County Court Blvd., Suite 400. We will also see clients in a new Mississauga location (Wednesday to Friday only) in meeting space in the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care at 5510 Mavis Road.

Please note that both Peel Region locations are by appointment only. Please call 416-226-2800, ext. 221 or toll free 1-866-515-0018.


Executive Director Dr. Ruth Lee Receives RNAO Award

Dr. Ruth Lee and Ella Ferris, RN, MBA

CARE Centre, its member IENs and all of our community congratulate Dr. Ruth Lee on receiving the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is bestowed on long-standing members of RNAO who exemplify outstanding contributions to the profession of nursing in the areas of practice, education, administration or research, at the provincial, national and/or international level.

Ruth was born in China and came to Canada to attend nursing school and to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Throughout her career, she has witnessed the challenges immigrant nurses face, and is passionate about supporting colleagues who are facing cultural and linguistic barriers. Ruth is pictured with long-serving CARE Centre board member Ella Ferris, RN, MBA, who has chaired the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards Committee since their inception.


Celebrating our Graduates at RNAO Health Professionals Expo

CARE Centre held its graduation celebration in partnership with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) during its Health Professional Expo in Toronto on May 11th during Nursing Week.

“It’s a great fit for our organizations, since our member IENs who have passed their exams get to shine in the spotlight, and they can also network with exhibiting employers,” said Program Manager Joanne Roth. There are 163 member IENs who passed their registration exams in 2017-2018. 

Guest speakers included Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Assistant Deputy Minister Michael Reid and new RNAO President Angela Cooper Brathwaite, who delivered a speech The Overcomers: Cultural Adaptation from One Country to Another.

Valedictorian Folakemi Afolabi was the very first member of CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Service Program (PASS), and has now completed the CARE Centre bridging program to obtain her RN license as well – congratulations to all! 


Call for Nominations for the 2018 Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards

The 2018 Call for Nominations for the Joan Lesmond IEN RN and RPN of the Year was announced at CARE Centre’s member celebration on May 11th with an inspiring speech by 2017 RPN recipient Derrick Ntungwe. “CARE Centre brings IENs together to know that we are not just people, we are professionals who are on a journey with many hurdles,” said Ntungwe. 

“The Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award is very important to shine a spotlight on all the positives that IENs bring to nursing in Ontario. I was so honoured to receive the award in 2017, and I was promoted to a supervisory position shortly thereafter.” The RN recipient in 2017 was Gaynor Quieros. The award is now in its seventh year and was established in 2011 on CARE Centre’s 10th anniversary to honour the late nursing leader who championed diversity in nursing.

The nomination kit is available on the website at www.care4nurses/ienaward.


CAMH Nursing Leader Shares Insights on Cultural Competency

Dr. Rani Srivastava

In early April CARE Centre invited Dr. Rani Srivastava to speak to staff and members on “Cultural Competency in the Healthcare Workplace”. Dr. Rani Srivastava RN, MScN, PhD, is Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Assistant Professor at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto and Adjunct Professor at York University.

The interactive session was seen globally by PASS members and a full audience at CARE Centre’s Toronto office who wanted to learn about navigating a multicultural society and work environment, and how one’s personal and professional culture affects nursing practice. Dr. Srivastava shared insight on how to nurse efficiently and competently in a multicultural and multilingual setting.

Staff also received mental health capacity training from CAHM Recreation Therapist Craig Currah in March. Thanks Craig and Rani! (Caption: Dr. Rani Srivastava)


PASS Membership Continues to Climb

Year-end results of the PASS (Pre-Arrival Supports and Services) program are in! March was an impressive month for enrollment in CARE Centre’ PASS with 32 new IENs joining PASS. The total for the past fiscal year was 290, and a total of 443 IENs became PASS members before arriving in Canada.

“Although the vast majority of our PASS clients are coming from the Philippines followed by India, it’s exciting to be providing service to nurses in places like Czech Republic, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan, Korea – the list goes on!” said PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel. “With PASS, these IENs will have a significant advantage in the entire process of resuming their nursing careers in Canada.”

PASS pairs IENs with Canadian Nurses Association members in destination provinces and CNA member nurses have also participated in webinars.

Visit the PASS website for more information:





Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Winter 2017

CARE Centre Thanks Outgoing Board Chair Saleem Hall

Saleem Hall

Vice-Chair Jean-Jacques Rousseau

CARE Centre’s long-serving board member, Saleem Hall, has resigned as Chair to start “a new life adventure up North in Huntsville Ontario, where I have accepted a position with a local not-for-profit.” Saleem previously worked for one of CARE Centre’s founding organizations, WoodGreen Community Services, and had been a board member since (2008). Executive Director Ruth Lee said, “On behalf of the CARE Centre team, our heartfelt gratitude to your unfailing support and commitment to CARE over the years. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your guidance, wisdom, dedication, kindness, and great sense of humour since I assumed my role in CARE.” Vice-Chair Jean-Jacques Rousseau has assumed interim Chair duties. He stated, “Saleem inherited an organization in transition and helped it build on a solid track record, leaving CARE in a strong position to face the challenges ahead. “Being on the Board at CARE Centre has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” said Hall. “I will leave with a quote from my favourite bear: ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ – Winnie the Pooh. Happy (ski) Trails, Saleem!

2017 Joan Lesmond IENs of the Year

Gaynor Quieros, RN

Gaynor Quieros, RN

Two outstanding members have been chosen as the 2017 RN and RPN IENs of the Year. Both served as valedictorians for their respective graduating years, going on to impress the selection committee of nurse leaders with their successful nominations. RN recipient Gaynor Quieros is from Wales, and passed the NCLEX exam 33 years after obtaining her RN in the UK. She currently works in telemedicine community mental health nursing and her daughter has recently graduated with her BScN.

Derrick Ntungwe, RPN

Derrick Ntungwe, RPN

Derrick Ntungwe is an RPN from Cameroon who was nominated by his employer Saint Elizabeth Health Care, where he is a community nurse. Derrick is now pursuing his RN designation and also works at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. During his IEN journey to registration, Derrick struggled to bring his wife and three children to Ontario during the West African Ebola epidemic. “Once again the selection committee was incredibly impressed by the determination and resilience of the nominees to overcome many challenges to practice as nurses in Ontario,” said Ella Ferris, Committee Chair and CARE Centre Board Member. “Their dedication and professionalism are truly inspirational.”

New Curriculum and Courses at CARE Centre

LCN participant and 2017 graduate Jisha Shaji with case managers Maria Krumov and Jun Doydora

LCN participant and 2017 graduate Jisha Shaji with case managers Maria Krumov and Jun Doydora

Former Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk, RN, MEd and former Case Manager Anaar Shariff, RN, BScN retired from their CARE Centre staff positions last summer, but continue to bring their professional acumen to the organization. Wojtiuk has prepared a new preparation course for the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE, or IENCAP) to be piloted this fall.

Part of the OSCE Prep Course is a section on relaxation techniques in the form of a four-episode video series contributed by Shariff, a certified yoga teacher. CARE Centre also has a new video to promote updated Language and Communication for Nurses offerings, including iCELBAN assessments and CELBAN exam preparation. Instructor Cara Malla has been teaching internationally educated professionals for many years, and has helped evolve the LCN curriculum through CARE Centre member feedback and advances in the field.

CARE Centre Program Manager Joanne Roth said, “As the nursing regulatory environment continually changes, we are focussed on staying ahead of trends and developments to offer the best supports to our member IENs for registration success.”

CARE Centre for IENs on OMNI TV’s New Canadians

Executive Director Ruth Lee appears in the video, featured here with 2017 graduate and valedictorian Aaron Antonio)

CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, was featured on NEW CANADIANS on OMNI TV stations across the country at the beginning of 2017, and now we’ll start out 2018 with an episode featuring CARE Centre’s services in Ontario. CARE Centre is funded by the Ontario Government through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. NEW CANADIANS is a rich and informative web and TV show produced by New Horizons Media, and hosted by Gerard Keledjian and Rachel Lee.

The magazine-style presentations showcase settlement, education, employment and small business resources available to newcomers to help them maximize their chances of success and ease their integration into the Canadian workforce. “For 16 years CARE Centre has been a leader in customized programs and one-on-one case management support for internationally educated nurses,” said producer Keledjian. “It’s exciting to profile an organization that was one of the first to offer bridge-training to a specific group of international health professionals, and that has continued to innovate to meet regulatory requirements.” Both the PASS and CARE Centre episodes will be online at Further announcements will be made for the OMNI TV broadcasts.

PASS and CARE Centre Member IEN Success

Executive Director Ruth Lee, PASS Member IEN Pamela Campos, PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel, PASS Member IEN Cristina Giron, Case Manager Michelle Gordon and PASS Assistant Nicholas Ghadiri.

CARE Centre promotes membership for life (with a one-time fee of $150!), and everyone speaks of the CARE Centre “family”. Recently our case managers shared updates from clients who shared some milestones in their Canadian nursing careers. Featured in this holiday photo (third from right) is member IEN Novlette Delisser-Francis. Her case manager Michelle Gordon recounted that she “went to a job fair in Toronto and was offered a temporary position as an RN in Newfoundland which led to a full-time job in the Medicine Unit. “Just want to say thanks to you, CARE Centre and Ontario for all the assistance given to me while trying to secure my RN license,” said Novlette.

Case Manager Lourdes Vicente shared this visual sent by member Rittiya Augustine, created by her proud husband congratulating her for passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Pre-arrival Supports and Services (PASS) Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel and others in the office were excited to meet two PASS member IENs who are settling in Ontario. Cristina Giron and Pamela Campos met in a Planning for Canada information session in Manila, and went on to become active PASS members through online webinars and chat rooms. and case managers Michelle Gordon and Maria Krumov.

CARE Centre Conference Presentations and Posters

Jennifer Cheng, RN and a PIE-IEN conference delegate

Jennifer Cheng, RN and a PIE-IEN conference delegate

This fall there’s a lot to round up for CARE Centre’s presence at nursing and immigration conferences in 2017. CARE Centre and PASS have become recognized leaders in both theory and methodology in the success of IENs in Ontario and Canada. The Partners in Integration and Education of IENs (PIE-IEN) was held in Halifax in April, with a presentation on PASS by Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel and a poster presented by Observational Job Shadowing Lead Lourdes Vincente and Master of Nursing student Jennifer Cheng. In May, Executive Director Ruth Lee and PASS Assistant Nicholas Ghadiri attended the Conference Board of Canada annual Canadian Immigration Summit in Ottawa examining innovations to build an even stronger immigration system. PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel and CARE Centre Program Manager Joanne Roth presented at the 12th Metropolis World Congress in Montreal in June under the theme “Global Challenges: Major Cities in Action”. In October Dr. Lee and Meghan presented at the 2017 Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation Conference in Halifax and later in the month Dr. Lee presented a poster at the Conference of the Transcultural Nursing Society in New Orleans. Another poster presentation at the Pathways to Prosperity conference in Toronto was facilitated by Meghan Wankel and Michelle Gordon.

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 Winter 2016 Edition

Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards 2016

CARE Centre had the pleasure of being hosted by two different employers for the 2016 IEN of the Year Awards to celebrate our very deserving RN and RPN winners.

Dr. Vanessa Burkoski – Chief Nursing Executive at Humber River Hospital, Kareen Tacderas, RN, Barb Collins - President & CEO Humber River Hospital

Dr. Vanessa Burkoski – Chief Nursing Executive HRH, Kareen Tacderas, RN, Barb Collins – President & CEO HRH

On November 18th Kareen Tacderas’ colleagues filled the Humber River Hospital (HRH) auditorium for her presentation ceremony. Kareen is an ICU RN at HRH and a summa cum laude graduate (and valedictorian) of the York University BScN program. HRH President and CEO Barb Collins and Chief Nursing Executive Dr. Vanessa Burkoski spoke at the event, along with CARE Centre board member and chair of the Joan Lesmond Awards selection committee Ella Ferris and Executive Director Sue VanDeVelde-Coke. The event concluded by sharing some refreshments with Kareen’s on-duty colleagues on the ICU unit.


Samantha Thomson Brown, Client Service Supervisor - Clinical Nursing with Viral Pandya, RPN.

Samantha Thomson Brown, Client Service Supervisor – Clinical Nursing with Viral Pandya, RPN.

On November 22nd a reception was held at ParaMed, employer of our RPN IEN of the Year, Viral Pandya.  ParaMed is Ontario’s largest private sector provider of home health care with 22 offices across the province and a 40-year record of serving clients in the community. Pictured with Viral is his nominator, Samantha Thomson Brown, Client Service Supervisor – Clinical Nursing. Along with his ParaMed office colleagues, many CARE Centre member IENs attended Viral’s presentation, some of whom are serving as fellow ParaMed community nurses. The event was made even more special with Viral’s family members and friends present as guests, along with all of his community care team.


Board of Directors Drafts New Strategic Plan 2017 – 2019

PASS client Precious Obah, PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel and Hamilton Case Manager Lourdes Vicente.

On December 19th, CARE Centre’s Board of Directors drafted a Strategic Plan for 2017-2019 that will strengthen the organization’s position as a national and international leader in the education and integration of internationally educated nurses. The plan’s renewed vision, mission and values, and re-focused strategic priorities and objectives, will enhance CARE Centre’s role and reputation as an exemplary provider of customized services to IENs through its case management model. “We are confident that as we move forward together, CARE Centre will continue to provide the unique suite of services and dedication to our clients that has made the organization so outstanding in the bridge training sector,’ said Saleem Hall, Board Chair. “We will continue to keep CARE Centre member IENs, operational partners and stakeholders updated as we enter into our new programing year for 2017-2018.” Also coming in early 2017, CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Services program (PASS) will be featured on OMNI TV’s New Canadians show.

Brampton Members Learn Dementia Care

Karen Phair with CARE Centre Brampton Member IENs.

Case Manager Natolina Marius-Springer and Karen Phair with CARE Centre Brampton Member IENs.

CARE Centre’s Brampton office recently delivered a workshop on Dementia and Alzhiemer’s presented by Karen Phair, Public Education Coordinator with the Alzheimer Society of Peel. Phair explained various kinds of dementias including the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and shared communication strategies for caregivers, using her own experience as a front-line community worker in day programs for dementia sufferers. Member IENs felt much better prepared for interactions with patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

CARE Centre Staff Updates

Dr. Ruth Lee, Ruth Wojtiuk, RN, Professional Practice Lead and Dr. Sue VanDeVelde-Coke, Executive Director


It is with greatest thanks and best wishes that CARE Centre announces Ruth Wojtiuk’s retirement in early 2017. As an RN Ruth has had a distinguished career in community nursing, management, teaching, and policy and program development. Along with her many years at CARE Centre as a case manager and more recently Professional Practice Lead, Ruth has been a sessional instructor at Ryerson University’s School of Nursing and currently teaches at George Brown College.

Also leaving CARE Centre at the end of January 2017, Executive Director Sue VanDeVelde-Coke will be taking a new position as President and CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services. CARE Centre is grateful for Sue’s stewardship through recent organizational change and transition, and the staff and board wish her all the best in her new role.

CARE Centre welcomes Dr. Ruth Lee as Interim Executive Director. Dr. Lee is Associate Clinical Professor of the Graduate Faculty at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University and Affiliated Member, Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement. She recently served as Chief of Nursing Practice, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). Her previous work leading the Hamilton Health Sciences IEN Integration Project makes her a great fit for our organization. We are also pleased to announce that Board Member Ella Ferris will be acting as Board Policy Liaison with Ruth as she transitions into her new role.

Thank You for Your Donations!

Rupali Krishna, 2015 RN Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year.

Rupali Krishna, 2015 RN Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year.

CARE Centre’s Giving Tuesday campaign to raise funds for our lending library of essential nursing textbooks received great support from members and stakeholders. Thanks to everyone who donated and for those who are still looking for a way to give back during the holiday season and receive 2016 charitable donation tax receipts, CARE Centre for IENs is a registered charity (#84420 5948 RR0001.) Please consider helping IENs achieve their dream of registering to practice in Ontario. Over 3,500 nurses from more than 140 countries have accessed services and supports at CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses since 2001.

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

IEN Connector Summer Edition

New Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese

New Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese

CARE Centre for IENs has a new minister at the helm of our funder, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The Hon. Laura Albanese was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2007 as the MPP for York South-Weston. She was re-elected in 2011 and 2014 and has extensive experience in several ministries as a Parliamentary Assistant. Prior to entering politics Ms. Albanese was a producer/broadcaster with OMNI TV. Ms. Albanese was born in Italy and moved to Canada in 1981. CARE Centre is grateful for the letter of congratulations she sent to be read on the occasion of CARE Centre’s 15th Anniversary and 2016 Graduation.

15th Anniversary and 2016 Graduation a Happy Occasion

Searle Schonewille, Director, Policy Development and Government Relations, RPNAO; Daniel Lau, Director of Membership and Services, RNAO; Member IEN and Valedictorian Derrick Ntungwe; CARE Centre Executive Director Sue VanDeVelde-Coke; Daniela Beckford, Project Manager, Hamilton Health Sciences; Ella Ferris, CARE Centre Board Member and Guest Speaker; Ruth Lee, McMaster University, Faculty of Health Science

On June 27th CARE Centre board members gathered for the Annual General Meeting, followed by a celebration at the Daniel’s Spectrum for CARE Centre’s 15th anniversary and the graduation of our most recent cohort of IEN clients. Derrick Ntungwe shared a moving speech about his journey to registration as valedictorian, and five past Joan Lesmond IENs of the Year attended to offer further inspiration. CARE Centre friends, staff and supporters enjoyed an evening of reminiscence while IEN grads shared their time in the spotlight with family guests. A total of 109 IENs passed their exams in the last fiscal year 2015-2016; many were registered as RPNs and/or RNs and hired in various nursing sectors.

Best Wishes to Board Member Ella Ferris on her Retirement from St. Michael’s Hospital

Ella Ferris and CARE Centre Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk

Board Member and Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards Committee Chair Ella Ferris will continue her governance work with CARE Centre but is retiring from her role at St. Michael’s Hospital as Executive Vice-President of Programs and Chief Executive, Nursing and Health Disciplines Executive. As guest speaker at the anniversary event, Ella shared her story of deciding to be a nurse as a child, and achieving her goal over a 43-year career at St. Mike’s. Ella did her nurse education at the prominent Toronto hospital, worked as a front-line RN, became a clinical nurse manager, was promoted to Director of the Heart and Vascular Program, became an Assistant Professor of Nursing at University of Toronto and eventually rose to St, Mike’s top executive ranks. CARE Centre is thankful for Ella’s continued involvement on the board and wishes her all the best on her retirement.

CARE Centre Membership Criteria Change Approved by MCI

Visit or click on cover visual to view our 2015-2016 annual report.

With the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s agreement, we have changed our admission criteria and are now accepting IENs as members upon the completion of their National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) application. Since the start of the new fiscal year on April 1st we have welcomed 103 new CARE Centre members. All CARE Centre’s open files have recently been reviewed. Since 2001, over 3,500 nurses from more than 140 countries have accessed services and supports at CARE Centre. We now have 1100 active clients divided among all the case managers. A new case manager service delivery model is being developed and implemented.

PASS Clients Arriving in Canada and Joining CARE Centre

Two newly arrived PASS clients! Welcome to Canada! Unnati Christian and Ronald Thakor

Now in its fifth month of operation, Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) has had 72 clients enroll in the program. Of those, 28 IENs have arrived in Ontario; many have joined or intend to join CARE Centre to continue with case management support on their journey to registration. PASS clients participate from home countries all over the world including India, the Philippines, Nigeria, China, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, Syria and Thailand. In another exciting development, expert nurses from the Canadian Nurses Association (senior in their careers or retired) have signed up to mentor arriving PASS clients in provinces across the country, providing a further welcome and on-going support as IENs establish their careers in Canada.

Member IEN Ivory Quimba Recognized by Bayshore Home Health
Ivy Quimba Bayshore Nurse of the Year winner

CARE Member IEN Ivory Evariz Quimba and Bayshore Staff

Member IEN Ivory Evariz Quimba was recognized as Nurse of the Year by Bayshore Home Health at their Mississauga Private Branch. Bayshore is one of Canada’s largest providers of home and community health care, now in its 50th year of service.  Ivory was honoured on May 9th at her workplace at the start of National Nursing Week 2016. Ivory came to Canada from the Philippines in 2009 and was registered as an RPN in 2011. Her case manager Norma Tomlin said, “I am truly happy for her and proud to see a CARE Centre member come out on top!” Congratulations on your nursing career success, Ivory, from all of us at CARE Centre.

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – Spring 2016

CARE Centre Executive Director Sue VanDeVelde-Coke

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke, RN, MA, MBA, PhD, has been meeting with organizations in the settlement and healthcare communities since becoming CARE Centre’s Executive Director at the beginning of the year. An established nursing leader, Sue has been renewing existing relationships with healthcare employers and nursing professional organizations and has been attending conferences related to immigration and internationally educated professionals’ integration to the Canadian workforce. She observed the delivery of the IENCAP OSCE at Touchstone Institute to gain deeper understanding of the process for CARE Centre’s RN candidates and is meeting with CARE Centre’s members and their case managers to explore how CARE Centre can improve and enhance services. “These first months in the job have been extremely interesting gaining more insight into the IEN journey to registration,” said VanDeVelde-Coke. “It’s wonderful to experience how our case managers are dedicated to helping IENs in Ontario relaunch their nursing careers.” Sue welcomes input via email at, or as she likes to say, “The telephone still works!” 416-226-2800, ext. 226.

We Love It When Our Members Keep in Touch!

Hello! This is Kareen Tacderas. I am an IEN from the Philippines. Since I came to Canada in 2012, I have been a CARE Centre member. I recently graduated Summa Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian of York University’s BScN for IENs Batch 2014-15. After graduation, I have been hired as a full-time ICU RN at Humber River Hospital – Wilson site. I would like to thank your organization (especially Lourdes Vicente who was once my case manager) for guiding IENs like me and helping me reach my dreams. If there’s anything I can do to give back to CARE, please do not hesitate to contact me. More power to CARE Centre! (Editor’s note: Member IENs, please let us know about your career updates. Email with your nursing news!)

CARE Centre Celebrates 15 Years of Service in 2016

On May 29, 2001, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities formally announced the launch of CARE Centre for IENs. CARE Centre grew out of a committee of concerned individuals and organizations who received a grant from the Maytree Foundation to develop a proposal to create Ontario’s first government-funded bridge training program. The consortium included nursing associations, employers and settlement agencies, as well as an IEN champion at the College of Nurses of Ontario, Brenda Lewis. CARE Centre is now funded by the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade through the Labour Market Integration Unit. Over 15 years CARE Centre expanded offices and services across Southern Ontario, assisting thousands of IENs on their journey to registration. Stay tuned for plans to celebrate CARE Centre’s members and the organization’s achievements later in 2016. (Photo above: Brenda Lewis with guests at the Hamilton office opening in 2005)

PASS Clients Well-Prepared When They Arrive in Canada

CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) program offers case management, webinars and online learning for IENs around the world as they progress through the Canadian immigration process. The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has made it possible for IENs to get well ahead of the registration process while still in their home countries. Many clients have been referred through the Canadian Immigration Integration Project (CIIP) and Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA), two federal agencies that have joined under the name  Planning for Canada. “It’s really exciting to present live webinars and be connected to IENs in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Ireland and the Philippines, all at the same time,” said Case Manager and PASS Co-ordinator Meghan Wankel. “I’ve already had a husband and wife pair of IENs land in Toronto since we started, and IENs tell me that PASS is helping them enormously.” Visit the website at for continued updates. (Photo: PASS Program Coordinator Meghan Wankel and Program Assistant Nicholas Ghadiri)

IENs Help Create New Horizons for Senior Immigrants

Kababayan Community Services, one of CARE Centre’s founding organizations, recently collaborated with CARE Centre member IENs to reach out to elder citizens to talk to them about their challenges living in Toronto as senior immigrants, and to ask what kind of programs and services would improve their lives. The resulting report is called Benefits and Challenges of Aging in Canada: A Sharing Discussion Between Seniors and Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs). One IEN summarized, “We are now more aware of their needs, emotions and feelings of being senior. Our challenge is how we can make a home for them away from their homes.” Another IEN stated, “The project has made me more sensitive about being able to validate seniors’ needs.  I found at that they were hopeful and motivated to talk about their conditions.” A video about the project that will be shared on CARE Centre’s YouTube channel is currently in production.  (Photo: The cross-cultural group of participating seniors and IENs)

Master’s Research on the IEN NCLEX Experience

CARE Centre has an on-going tradition of working with graduate nursing students and supporting their research into various fields and topics. Meet our latest academician. “Hello, my name is Monica Romanescu and I am an IEN with nursing experience in Romania and in Canada. My passions include supporting Internationally Educated Health Professionals in their transition to practice in Ontario.  As a graduate student at Ryerson University, I am doing my clinical placement with the CARE Centre. During my clinical project my main focus has been on resources used by IENs in preparation for their NCLEX-RN exam.”


Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

CARE Centre’s IEN Connector – October 2015

CARE Centre Says Farewell to Executive Director Zubeida Ramji
Zubeida Ramji

Farewell to Zubeida Ramji, a leader, mentor, friend and individual dedicated to the cause.

CARE Centre’s loss is academia’s gain, when (now former) Executive Director Zubeida Ramji resigned to concentrate more fully on her PhD research and dissertation and left the organization at the end of August. Zubeida was one of the original members of CARE Centre’s founding committee, who created Ontario’s first government-funded bridging program after receiving seed money from the Maytree Foundation. On August 24th CARE Centre staff, board members, instructors, partners and member IENs gathered to honour Zubeida to convey thanks for her five years of service. As expressed for everyone by RN Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Ahmad Baki, “I am pretty sure we can still turn to you for help and I am also very sure that your heart and mind will still be with CARE. We hope to see you at the 2nd Conference for IENs in November!” The conference schedule is now posted and registration open; Conference-Schedule


Conference Board of Canada Reports on Value of IENs
Measuring Returns. Valuing investments in Internationally Educated Nurses

Measuring Returns.
Valuing investments in Internationally Educated Nurses

CARE Centre is pleased to announce the release of a new Conference Board of Canada Report. Measuring Returns: Valuing Investments in Internationally Educated Nurses. It follows a 2012 Conference Board profile of CARE Centre in their Organizational Excellence library as a “best practice” model. The return on investment report is part of the past research program of Conference Board of Canada’s Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration. The research found that investment in bridge training to help IENs become registered and find employment yields significant returns for government, and for internationally educated nurses themselves. The report’s conclusions highlight the value of bridging programs in helping address Canada’s skills gaps and labour market challenges. It can be purchased through


Workplace Transition Program Developed
Workplace Transition Program

Workplace Transition Program

CARE Centre continues to expand on enhancing employment outcomes for members by creating a Workplace Transition Program for both employers and IENs. Employer Engagement Lead, Hossein Khalili, RN, PhD, has been working with nursing, language and education experts to construct the program elements including Facilitating IEN Talent Recruitment; Nursing Readiness Assessment Tool for Newly Hired IENs, Effective Communication Strategies for Nurses (ECSN): 4 modules, 15 hours each and a Transition Supports Package for IENs. The Workplace Transition Program is being developed with the guidance of an advisory committee and CARE Centre thanks the participants for their sector expertise. The program has been piloted to a group of CARE Centre members and will also have pilot delivery with employers in the months ahead. Contact Hossein at


OJS Puts IENs in the Canadian Healthcare Workplace

Occupational Job Shadowing; brings IEN’s closer to their aspirations.

CARE Centre’s Observational Job Shadowing (OJS) is a unique learning opportunity for member IENs to be partnered with an expert nurse and observe first-hand the nursing profession in Ontario. One of the most popular of CARE Centre’s programs, it increases IENs’ understanding of the role and scope of practice of nurses in a particular health care setting, and gets them more acquainted with the language and culture of the Canadian healthcare workplace. CARE Centre has multiple OJS partners in the hospital, long-term care, and community settings. Pictured are member IEN Tejas Patel and Molly Garcia, an Expert Nurse from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “The OJS experience was very helpful to me,” said Patel. “I observed and learned many new things in nursing practice. Even better, I got good contact opportunities and one more plus for my resume!” Anyone interested in taking part in the program should contact OJS Lead Lourdes Vicente via email at


The 2nd annual Conference for IENs November  20th in Toronto
Lilli Johnson, Founder of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario

Lilli Johnson, Founder of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario

Keynote speaker Josephine Etowa will open the proceedings, followed by the presentation of the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award, recognizing one RN and one RPN for exemplary nursing practice.

Digital Media Specialist and RN Rob Fraser

Digital Media Specialist and RN Rob Fraser

After the panels, poster presentations and concurrent sessions, delegates will be treated to closing speaker Lili Johnson, an IEN in her 90s, educated in Jamaica and the UK, founder of the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario, Order of Ontario recipient and recent Pan Am torch bearer – whew! Who can keep up! Don’t miss this incredible gathering: early bird rates have been extended to October 14th.

CARE Center for IENs is Moving!
Maria and Mercy

Maria Krumov ( Left ) and Mercy Varghese ( Right)

As of November 1st, CARE Centre’s head office in Toronto will be moving to 620 Wilson Avenue, Suite 200, at Dufferin Street. The TTC subway stop that is closest is the Wilson stop on Line 1, the western arm of the Yonge-University line running north-south between St. Geroge/Spadina and Downsview stations. In staffing news, CARE Centre is pleased to welcome two of our member IENs as case managers, Mercy Varghese, who started in the Brampton office with Norma Tomlin and now works part-time in Toronto, and Maria Krumov, who will be working in both Brampton and Toronto.

New CARE Office

New CARE Centre Office

Maria was recently working as a Director of Care in a long-term care setting.  Mercy works as a   critical care nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital. CARE Centre is grateful to WoodGreen Community Services    for an on-going program that provides the organization with a digital media specialist to work in communications, and welcomes Tim Matharu to the position. Also, we were sad to say goodbye to Farjana Diba, our front office coordinator, but are happy to welcome Robina Iqrar as the new smiling face at reception.



View past editions of CARE IEN Connector online