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FAQs: Increase to fees

Between March and June, we consulted with nurses, applicants and other stakeholders on proposed changes to four of the College's fees: for renewing membership, applying to the College, taking the PN exam and cancelling the PN exam.

Below, we address the feedback we received by providing answers to your most frequently asked questions. This includes information about what membership fees pay for; why all nurses in Ontario pay the same membership fee; and why your fee doesn’t include professional liability protection.

My fees have increased twice over the past two years. Why has the College implemented a 35 per cent increase to membership fees?

The previous fee increases implemented for 2017 and 2018 were based on information we had available at the time the fee changes were proposed in early 2016. Since then, we have experienced significant changes to the College’s role, work volumes and expectations beyond what was projected. For example from 2015 to 2017, we experienced a 93 per cent increase in complaints and reports, and the duration of calls to customer service have almost doubled in length, resulting in long wait times on hold and, in some cases, a complete inability to get through.

In addition, the nursing profession in Ontario is experiencing major legislative changes, which require more College resources to manage and implement. 

To meet these growing demands, we need more resources such as a new telecommunications system and the automation of our processes to help us handle members’ and applicants’ requests faster and provide more self-service options to you. 

The College’s budget for 2018 contains some of these additional resources and we will run a deficit this year as a result. If we do not increase fees, the College will be in debt (borrowing money to operate) by 2020.           

What do my fees pay for?

The College implemented increases to four types of fees. Below is a description of what each fee pays for. 

The annual membership renewal fee is paid by nurses. It covers:

  • resources to help nurses apply the practice standards to their practice, as well as other documents and resources created by the College for the benefit of members, applicants, employers and the general public.
  • administering the (QA) Program that assures the public that nurses demonstrate their commitment to continuing competence and continuing quality improvement
  • assessing concerns about the conduct and competence of nurses
  • other regulatory work, such as developing and implementing policies and regulation changes that affect nursing practice

 The application fee is paid by applicants seeking to become nurses. It covers:

 The Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination fee pays for the vendor’s costs and for administering the exam. 

The cancellation fee for the practical nurse examination pays for the cost charged to the College every time an applicant registers for the exam and then cancels after a specific timeframe or does not show up. The cancellation fees may be waived in extenuating circumstances. 

The College talks a lot about protecting the public. What about protecting nurses? What does the College do for me in return for the fee I pay?

As the regulator of the nursing profession in Ontario, the College’s sole mandate is to protect the public and the reputation of the profession, and ensure the public trusts nurses. 

All regulatory organizations exist for this same purpose of public protection, while unions exists to advocate on work issues and professional associations exist to advocate for the professions’ interest. 

Paying your fees to be registered with the College makes you a participant in the various aspects of nursing regulation and public protection. This is why we always seek nurses’ feedback before Council makes decisions about changes to by-laws, regulation and standards of practices. 

Together, we protect the public by ensuring:

  • those wanting to become nurses in Ontario meet requirements
  • nurses have standards that inform them of their accountabilities to provide safe, competent and ethical care
  • nurses engage in continuous improvement of their practice
  • we take appropriate steps when there are concerns about nurses' conduct, competence and health
  • we amend standards and regulations whenever government updates laws or passes new ones

We also develop new programs and approaches to continually improve nursing regulation in Ontario. Here are a few examples of programs we are currently working on (or have recently worked on):

Why do RPNs and RNs pay the same membership renewal fee if their incomes are not similar?

It costs the College the same to regulate all nurses. The College’s processes such as membership renewal, handling complaints and reports, online practice support or developing practice standards require the same resources regardless of whether it’s for RNs, RPNs or NPs. 

Why does my fee not include Professional Liability Protection or association fees?

Since the College’s role is to protect the public, it would be a conflict of interest to get involved in the business of providing or facilitating professional liability protection. For example, it would be a conflict if the College has to administer a discipline penalty against a nurse and then cover the nurse’s liability claim. 

Unions and professional associations such as ONA, RNAO, RPNAO or NPAO are organizations that exist to represent nurses’ interest, including providing them with access to professional liability protection. 

Note: In some provinces where the same organization acts as both professional association and regulator, these organizations usually provide professional liability protection to its members. When we compared fees with other jurisdictions, we excluded this type of fee in order to provide a fair comparison. 

Page last reviewed December 10, 2018