College of Nurses of Ontario

nrs_child.jpgCollege of Nurses of Ontario

The CNO is the governing body of registered nurses, nurse practicioners, and registered practical nurses in Ontario. It is responsible for setting requirements and standards for becoming and practicing as a nurse (CNO, 2009). It was founded in 1963 and has been promoting self-regulation of nurses since(CNO, 2009). The CNO's purpose is to ensure quality nursing practice through continual competence (CNO, 2009). It also investigates all reports and incidences recieved regarding a nurse from either colleagues, employers, or the public (Ontario Nursing Jobs, 2005). The CNO is in partnership with educators, employers and government to collaborate and provide the benefits of quality nursing services to the whole of Ontario (CNO, 2009).

The Mission and Vision of the CNO is to independently regulate guidelines for nursing to ensure that the public is getting quality nursing care (CNO, 2009). Complimentary to this mission, the vision of the CNO is to obtain the best possible nursing practices in Ontario (CNO, 2009).

The CNO is the regulating body for nursing in Ontario (Rodgers, 2000). It regulates both registered nurses and registered practical nurses under the same Nursing Act (Rodgers, 2000).Yet, it does not represent them as each are represented by their own professional association (Rodgers, 2000). The mission statement was changed in 1999 to include that effective public protection could only be achieved through proper self-regulation (Rodgers, 2000, p.260). The CNO regards self-regulation as bringing about safe, ethical nursing care by requiring accessible and equitable processes (Rodgers, 2000, p.260). Many processes are required in order to facilitate self-regulation such as establishing entry to practice requirements, designing standards of practice, registering competent practitioners and ensuring ongoing competence in care (Rodgers, 2000, p. 260).

Investigations and hearings

Nurses are required, under the Nursing Act, to report any personal criminal background information to the CNO (CNO, 2009). This includes any criminal convictions or any disciplinary proceedings (CNO, 2009). Nurses are not required to report each other to the CNO if they know or suspect that another nurse has been convicted (CNO, 2009).
The Investigations and Hearing Department also provides nurses with information on the complaints and investigation procedures so that preventative measures can be learned to avoid complaints against them (CNO, 2009). It educates them about professional misconduct and incompetence by publishing the hearing decisions in an online magazine in which the general public also have access to (CNO, 2009). If ever situations occur where nursing standards are not met, the CNO will protect the public by investigating the practice of its members (CNO, 2009). The Discipline Committee decides whether or not allegations are accurate or not (CNO, 2009). If the committee determines that the allegations are accurate, they administer the appropriate penalty (CNO, 2009). The maximum penalty may result in the revocation of a nurse’s certificate of registration (CNO, 2009). If a nurse’s certificate and registration are terminated and they are no legally able to practice, their name is posted on the CNO website for public safety reasons (CNO, 2009). Imposters are also listed on this site (CNO, 2009).
Employers have the obligation to report the college member they terminate, or are planning to terminate, according to the Regulated Health Professions Act (CNO, 2009). The college addresses patterns of behavior and other similar concerns based from the employers reports (CNO, 2009).

Standards and Professional Conduct:
The CNO has established seven standards of nursing, that assist Ontario nurses in providing safe, ethical professional and effective care (CNO, 2009). Ontario nurses are accountable for practicing in accordance with these standards as well as participate in the College’s Quality Assurance Program (CNO, 2009). The College’s Quality Assurance promotes ongoing competence and quality practice through continuous learning (CNO, 2009). All seven standards are interconnected and have equal importance (CNO, 2009). The standards are accountability, continuing competence, ethics, knowledge, knowledge application, leadership and relationships (CNO, 2009). Each nurse is accountable and responsible for the public and must ensure that his/her practice meets the standards of the profession and legislative requirements (CNO, 2009). Nurses show continuing competence by participating in the CNO’s Quality Assurance Program (CNO, 2009). Each nurse must work in accordance with CNO’s Ethics practice standard with understanding and promotion of the values and beliefs (CNO, 2009). This includes confidentiality, privacy and maintaining commitments (CNO, 2009). Nurses must possess knowledge through basic education and continuous learning that is relevant to his/her professional practice (CNO, 2009). Nurses must also be able to apply this knowledge in the performance of clinical skills (CNO, 2009). By providing, promoting and facilitating the best possible service/care to the public, the nurse is able to demonstrate his/her leadership (CNO, 2009). This standard of leadership involves participation and effective communication techniques (CNO, 2009). The last standard involving relationships requires nurses to establish and maintain respectful, collaborative, therapeutic and professional relationships (CNO, 2009).


College of Nurses of Ontario (2009). About the College of Nurses of Ontario. Retrieved December 4, 2009, fromR

Matalino, A. (2009, December 3). How a nurse meets the standard of knowledge set by the CNO [Video file]. Retrieved from

Ontario Nursing (2005). College of Nurses of Ontario. Retrieved December 4, 2009, from

Rogers, J.S., (2000). The role of nursing theory in standards of practice: A canadian perspective. Nursing Science Quarterly, 13, 260-262.