History of LPNs in BC and Canada

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in BC

1951: The Practical Nurse Act was passed by the provincial legislature. It controlled the education, testing, licensing, and regulation of practical nurses in the province.

1965: Although the Practical Nurses Act (the “Act”) was passed in 1951, it did not take effect until 1965. The Act established the Council of Licensed Practical Nurses as the licensing body for practical nurses; the first time that practical nurses were recognized as a self-regulating profession.

1986: Amendments to the Act and the regulations created a Discipline Committee to oversee the conduct of LPNs.

1991: The Council of LPNs in BC was created as a regulatory body of the Ministry of Health.

1992 to 1994: The Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice for LPNs in BC were developed.

1996: The Council of LPNs in BC was designated under the Health Professions Act [RSBC 1996] c. 183, and its name was changed to the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC (CLPNBC). It is now recognized as a professional regulatory organization, and its registrants as health-care professionals.

2008: The Nurses (Licensed Practical) Regulation (BC Reg. 283/2008) was enacted.

History of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in Canada

The first nurses in Canada were religious women who were summoned from France to take care of the sick and to teach children. The first hospital, the Hôtel Dieu in Quebec, was founded in 1639 and staffed by the Sisters of the Order of St. Augustine.

The earliest school for nurses in Canada was opened in 1865 at the General and Marine Hospital in St. Catharines, Ontario. It was patterned after the Florence Nightingale program of training nurses hands-on in a hospital setting for one year.

By the turn of the century, medicine, hospitals, and the public recognized trained nurses as an important part of the health-care team. As early as 1914, the Canadian Nurses Association recognized the value of the practical nurse, specifically in the provision of care to clients at home.

Prior to 1945, "auxiliary workers," as they were known, were employed and trained on-the-job to meet nursing service needs in hospitals and nursing homes. LPNs now receive theoretical and clinical education in one to two-year community college programs. Like Registered Nurses (RNs), all provinces and territories have LPNs who work in a variety of settings.

Today, there are more than 75,000 licensed practical nurses in the country—the second-largest group of nurses in Canada.

Legislation and Regulation

CLPNBC is a regulatory organization established by the provincial government. It is required to operate within the parameters of several legislative structures. The legislation and regulation requirements provide the legal framework within which the CLPNBC, its staff, board, and committees work to protect the safety of the public.

More about the legislation and regulation that govern CLPNBC.