WINNIPEG -- The premier and health minister announced steps during a news conference on Wednesday, which allow former nurses to practice again to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cameron Friesen, health, seniors and active living minister, said they will waive or modify registration for the former nurses. He added all fees for registration and application will be waived as well.

Friesen said this will allow the registration process to be expedited.

All nurses who were part of the College of Registered Nurses will be able to apply to start working again.

“We know the pandemic will place additional strain on the health-care system, and we’re making this regulatory change to ensure former nurses can be called upon to bolster the number of nurses in our hospitals, personal care homes and clinics to provide services to patients,” said Friesen in a news release.

Friesen said this new order will remain in place until there is "no longer a serious and immediate threat to public health".

Friesen said they had heard from many former nurses offering support.

“By coming together and taking the right steps, we can make a real difference and help the health-care system be prepared for the hard work ahead,” he said.

Katherine Stansfield, CEO and registrar of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba is thanking the government for its response to this "rapidly evolving" situation.

“This is a great opportunity for former registered nurses to continue to make a contribution to the health of Manitobans during this critical time,” Stansfield said.

Both Brian Pallister and Friesen thanked the health-care workers who have been dealing with the pandemic throughout the province and retired nurses who are offering their help to the health-care system.

Former nurses who are wanting information about temporary registration can visit the College of Registered Nurses website.