|Welcome to the College of Nurses of Ontario's Media Room. Here, you will find general information about the College, its mandate and public protection function for press use. For information not found here, contact the College's Communications Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. The College will acknowledge media contacts within 24 hours during regular business hours.|
What is the College of Nurses of Ontario?
The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the regulator of the nursing profession in Ontario. It is not a school or a nursing association. The College acts in the public interest by:
- assessing qualifications and registering individuals who want to practice nursing in Ontario.
- setting the practice standards of the profession that nurses in Ontario are expected to meet.
- promoting nurses' continuing competence through a quality assurance program.
- holding nurses accountable to those standards by addressing complaints or reports about nursing care.
When was the College established?
The College was founded in 1963. By establishing the College, the Ontario government was acknowledging that the nursing profession had the ability to govern itself and put the public's well-being ahead of professional interests.
What is the College's mission?
The College's mission is to regulate nursing in the public interest.
What is the College vision?
The College's vision is to lead in regulatory excellence.
How many nurses are registered with the College?
There are approximately 160,000 nurses registered with the College. Anyone who wants to use a nursing-related title (i.e., Registered Nurse, Registered Practical Nurse or Nurse Practitioner) must become a member of the College. Visit the Statistics section for more information about the College's nurse membership.
Go to Find a Nurse and conduct a search for the nurse. Contact the College if you can't find the person you are looking for.
All public information available about nurses is posted in Find a Nurse, which contains profiles of every nurse in Ontario. Publicly available information about nurses include their registration history, business address, and information related to pending disciplinary hearings or past findings.
Illegal practitioners are people who are seeking employment in nursing or holding themselves out as being able to practise nursing in Ontario, but are not qualified to do so. They are not registered members of the College. Only people registered with the College can call use nursing-related titles or perform certain procedures that could cause harm if carried out by a non-registered health professional. The College takes the issue of illegal practitioners seriously. See Illegal Practitioners for more information.
To ensure procedural fairness for both the patient (or client) and the nurse, the Regulated Health Professions Act requires that information gathered during an investigation remain confidential until the matter is referred to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committees. The College will not disclose any information that could identify patients (or clients) or compromise an investigation. See Investigations: A Process Guide for more information.
Information obtained during an investigation will become public if the matter is referred to a disciplinary hearing. If a complaint is not referred to a hearing, no information will be available publicly.
Where a disciplinary panel makes a finding of professional misconduct, they have the authority to reprimand a member, and suspend or revoke a member's registration. Terms, conditions and limitations can also be imposed on a nurse's registration, which restricts their practice for a set period of time. Nurses can also be required to complete remedial activities, such as reviewing College documents and meeting with an expert, before returning to practice.
For detailed information see the Sexual Abuse section