COVID-19 information

At CNO, we are working as quickly as possible to help support Ontario’s health care system during the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing our best to get you the support you need. We are prioritizing our efforts to ensure as many nurses as possible are available to deliver the care needed while keeping you, your patients and your colleagues safe.

COVID-19 update: Standard of care and nurses’ accountabilities 

CNO acknowledges that it is an unprecedented time in health care. We understand that you are stressed and may be concerned about being able to maintain standards of nursing practice. We want to assure you that the standard of care is always considered in context. The standard of care can evolve with the dynamic nature of the pandemic, including that resources may become scarce or absent.

Working within a quickly evolving environment can be challenging and distressing. In this situation, it will be important to make reasonable efforts to comply with any direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and your workplace policies and procedures pertaining to COVID-19 management. While CNO will continue to receive complaints and reports during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will assess all information with consideration to the circumstances in which nurses are working.

During these difficult and challenging times all nurses are being asked to do more than ever before. We know and are grateful for the important role nurses are playing on the frontlines of this unprecedented event. You are the heart of our health care system, and you continue to demonstrate your dedication to your patients and their families every day.


Latest Information

  • COVID-19: How to register: Contains information on registering in the Emergency Assignment Class. You can register in this class if you are: 
    • a new graduate who recently completed a PN diploma program or BScN program in Ontario 
    • a CNO member in the Non-Practising Class who has practiced within the last three years 
    • a resigned or expired CNO member who has practiced within the last three years  
    • a nurse currently registered in good standing as an RN or RPN/LPN and practicing in another Canadian or U.S. jurisdiction
  • COVID-19: Practice Resources
    • This page contains a variety of COVID-19-related information for nurses, including information about:
      • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
      • Accountabilities of nurses during a pandemic
      • Information for Nurse Practitioners 

Physical (social) distancing 

  • It is part of a nurse’s professional accountability to role model and follow public health directives that keep their patients safe. We expect nurses to uphold public health guidelines on physical distancing.

Important resources

  • The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: dedicated COVID-19 website for health care professionals that includes directives, memorandums and other resources
  • In addition, the Ministry of Health is looking for experienced health care providers who can help prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Visit their recruitment page for more information.
  • Public Health Ontario has also curated a resource page for health care providers. 


Mental health support for nurses

During these challenging times, when nurses are being asked to do more than ever before, remember to keep your own health and well-being a priority. The following resources offer mental health support:


Report individuals being tested 

  • Health care providers  must contact  their local public health unit about all individuals being tested for COVID-19.
  • To find your local health unit, see the Ministry of Health PHU Locator. If you are considering testing a patient for COVID-19, you can contact Public Health Ontario’s Customer Service Centre for advice and support. 
  • Health care workers and health sector employees can call the Ministry of Health’s Healthcare Provider Hotline for more information: 1 866 212 2272.



Your accountabilities

Nurses are accountable to all standards of practice.

If you have questions about your accountabilities when caring for patients affected with the new coronavirus, email us:

Important resources 

Guidance and best practices 

How New Grads can help during COVID-19

The Emergency Assignment Class has been authorized for the sole purpose of allowing individuals to assist in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a new Ontario graduate, you can apply for the Emergency Assignment Class if you:

  • have recently completed a PN diploma program or BScN program in Ontario
  • have not failed the registration exam (NCLEX or CPRNE)
  • are not already registered in the Temporary Class. (You can apply to the Emergency Assignment Class when your Temporary Class registration expires, if you have not failed the registration exam and for as long as the declared provincial emergency remains in effect.)

Features of the Emergency Assignment Class

  • There is no fee to register
  • No jurisprudence exam is required for this class
  • You can apply to this class without having an offer of employment
  • Registration lasts for 60 days and may be extended to meet the needs of the health care system during the pandemic.

To apply for the Emergency Assignment Class

Step 1: Download the Emergency Assignment Registration Form 

Step 2: Read the instructions that apply to you, and complete the form.

Step 3: Email the form to

Once we receive your application, we will send you an email about the status of your application and next steps.

When the provincial health emergency is over:

  • all Emergency Assignment Class registrations will expire
  • you may consider applying to the Temporary Class if you have not written the registration exam
  • you may complete your registration in the General Class after you have written and passed your registration exam.

Scheduling registration exams

  • If you have already registered in the Emergency Assignment Class, you can still apply to write a registration exam.
  • If you fail a registration exam while registered in the Emergency Assignment Class, your Emergency Assignment Class registration will expire at the end of the 60-day period and will not automatically be renewed.

If you are still in a nursing program and want to help …

  • contact a nursing association or a local health facility (long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals) to offer support. 
  • In addition, the Ministry of Health is looking for experienced health care providers — including learners who have begun, but not yet completed professional training, who can help prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Visit their recruitment page for more information.

Guidance information


For answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, such as what the risks and symptoms are, how it spreads, and how you can protect yourself, read the Government of Canada’s FAQ page.

You can also find information about how to protect yourself from the virus, what to do if you’re sick and how to recognize possible symptoms on the Ministry of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 web page

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.


Status Reports 

To learn more about the virus, visit the World Health Organization’s info page and the government of Canada's FAQ page

Page last reviewed April 28, 2020