June 2016

Registration regulation: Tell us what you think

Update: Aug. 5, 2016

In June, we asked for your input on proposed changes to the registration regulation. The response was remarkable — almost 1,600 people and groups gave feedback, including 190 members of the public. On July 28, after considering this comprehensive feedback, the College of Nurses of Ontario’s Council approved sending the proposed changes to the Ontario government for its review and approval.


The College of Nurses of Ontario is seeking your feedback on proposed changes to the registration regulation. These proposed changes will primarily affect current members and applicants.

To provide your comments, read the summary below and complete the online feedback form. Deadline: Monday, July 11, 2016.


The registration regulation sets conditions that Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) must meet to practise in Ontario.

The proposed regulation changes can be grouped under three areas:

  1. Removing “in Ontario” from the declaration of practice requirements

  2. Changes to examination requirements

  3. Minor corrections

1.   Removing “in Ontario” requirements from declaration of practice

At annual membership renewal, members are asked to declare whether or not they have practised nursing “in Ontario” during the past three years.

Proposed change
Remove the phrase “in Ontario” from this declaration of practice. Instead, members will be asked to declare whether or not they have practised nursing during the past three years.

This proposed change will only affect members because declaration of practice is not an entry-to-practice requirement.

Rationale for the proposed change

  • Since the requirement to declare practice “in Ontario” came into effect on January 1, 2013, we have received feedback from members and stakeholders. This feedback prompted us to review the policy. Council considered member data and an environmental scan, which included an analysis of what had changed since Council first supported this concept in 2009.

  • Council identified that nurses are accountable for meeting standards. Nurses in the General and Extended classes must also comply with quality assurance requirements.  

  • The public register provides stakeholders with information about where a nurse is practising, even if this is outside Ontario.

2.   Changes to exam requirements

The proposed changes related to exam requirements are relevant to anyone applying to become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), Registered Nurse (RN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP). Each Council-approved exam will be a valid and reliable measure of meeting the exam requirement.

The proposed changes are categorized as follows:

a. Number of exam writes
The most significant change relates to the number of exam writes. A new section (8.1) in the registration regulation proposes that Council has the authority to decide if a Council-approved exam should have a limited number of writes (e.g., three or more writes) or no limit on the number of writes as long as an applicant meets other current registration requirements. Any time Council has to make a decision about the number of writes, they would be provided with the evidence to inform their decision (e.g., a literature review, an analysis of case law, a regulatory body review, and an analysis of the test design including psychometrics and test administration policies).

With respect to the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), because the exam is a computerized adaptive test, a work group under the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR) has explored the evidence related to the number of exam writes for the NCLEX-RN exam. Consistent with this national work, if the proposed regulation changes become law upon approval by Council and government, Council will be asked to have no limit on the number of writes on the NCLEX-RN exam.

b. Requirement to complete another program
Currently, nurses applying to the College have several options for meeting the education requirement. However, applicants who do not pass their entry-to-practice exam within the maximum number of attempts do not have the same options; currently they are required to retake a specific nursing program (e.g., an RN must retake a degree program) before they can re-apply to the College and retake the exam. The College is seeking a change that would allow for additional educational options for applicants who failed their entry-to-practice exam within the maximum number of attempts.

Rationale for the proposed changes

  • These changes support consistent application of the regulations for all applicants. The proposed changes make it easier for someone to meet the exam requirement, while still protecting the public interest (for example, an alternative new program option).

  • The proposed regulations gives more flexibility for Council to make evidence-informed decisions related to exam requirements, without having to make changes to the regulation (for example, flexibility to determine an appropriate number of exam writes).

3.   Minor corrections

Proposed changes
a)      Fixes to punctuation, typos and incorrect references.

b)      The practice requirement for temporary class registration will be changed from one to three years. Currently, for temporary class registration, some options to meet this requirement are within one year, others within three years. This change will make the requirement consistent with all other parts of the regulation.


To provide feedback on the above, read the draft copy of proposed changes to the registration regulation and complete the online feedback form. Deadline: Monday, July 11, 2016.

More information about the proposed changes can be found in questions and answers.

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