Bernice Redmon was born in Toronto, Ontario, but was not allowed to become a nurse there, or anywhere in Canada. Black students were not allowed to enroll in Canadian nursing programs until the late 1940s, so Redmon had to leave the country to get her education. She graduated with a nursing diploma from St. Phillip Hospital Medical College in Virginia, U.S.A. in 1945, and returned home to Canada that same year.
Upon returning, she became the first Black nurse to practice in public health when she secured a position in the Nova Scotia Department of Health. On top of that, she was appointed to the Victorian Order of Nurses in Canada—the first Black woman to do so. Thanks to her barrier breaking career and the work of organizations and advocates for the rights of Black Canadians, Black women began to be trained and employed in Ontario hospitals in the late 1940s and 1950s. In 1948, just a few years after Redmon came back to Canada with her diploma, Ruth Bailey and Gwennyth Barton earned their nursing diplomas from a Canadian school, becoming the first Black women to do so.