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Nurse information added to Register

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, new information began appearing in Find a Nurse. This change is in line with the College’s role of protecting the public, and is part of our move towards becoming more open and transparent. It gives the public the information they need to make informed decisions about who is providing their care.

During 2015, we reviewed feedback from nurses and stakeholders on by-law changes that would make more information about Ontario nurses publicly available. Council approved the final set of changes at its December 2015 meeting.

The following are answers to some questions about the new information on Find a Nurse.

1.      What new information has been added to Find a Nurse?

  • Discipline hearing status 
  • Full Notice of Hearing
  • Findings of guilt under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or other findings that are relevant to a nurse’s suitability to practise
  • Restrictions imposed by a court of law (e.g., bail conditions), if related to or will have an impact on the nurse’s practice
  • Any existing criminal or other charge that is relevant to the nurse’s suitability to practise
  • Health facility privileges (for NPs)
  • Registrations in other jurisdictions
  • Discipline findings by other regulatory bodies
  • Cautions
  • Remedial activity, such as orders to complete education 

2.      How does the College determine if something is “relevant to suitability to practise”?
Sometimes, a nurse’s conduct outside of their professional life can pose a risk to clients and negatively impact the public’s confidence in the nursing profession. To determine if a nurse’s conduct is relevant to practice, the College assesses the linkage between the conduct and nursing practice.

3.      Will the new information remain permanently in a nurse’s profile on Find a Nurse?

The College's by-law allows for removal of information in the following instances:


Discipline hearing status 

Removed when hearing is complete

Full Notice of Hearing

Removed when hearing is complete

Restrictions imposed by a court of law (e.g., bail conditions)

Removed if restrictions are lifted by the court

Criminal charges

Removed when charges are resolved (e.g., charges dismissed or guilty finding)

Health facility privileges (for NPs)

Removed when nurse indicates that privileges are no longer held

Registrations in other jurisdictions

Removed when nurse deletes the registration from their profile


Removed after three years*

Remedial Activities (i.e., orders to complete education)

Removed after three years*



*Unless (1) the original matter relates to sexual abuse or boundary violations or (2) the College has received additional information about the nurse that is of concern. In these situations, the nurse can apply to the Executive Director to have the information removed after the three year period has past.

4.      What are Cautions and Remedial Activities?
The College’s Inquiries, Reports and Complaints Committee (ICRC) decides how to address complaints and reports received by the College. It can order a Caution, which requires a nurse to appear before a panel of nursing peers and members of the public to hear concerns about her/his practice. The ICRC can also order Remedial Activities – specified educational activities that the nurse is required to complete – such as reviewing the standards of practice and meeting with a regulatory expert for guided practice reflection. With either outcome, the goal is to improve the nurse’s practice.
5.      How did the College determine what complaint and report outcomes to post on Find a Nurse?
The College takes every complaint from the public and reports from employers about nurses’ conduct seriously. However, when deciding what information is appropriate for sharing publicly, the College looks at the level of risk the matter poses to the public. The College has divided matters into no/minimal, low, moderate and high risk. The goal is to balance the public's right to know with fairness to the nurse.

The following chart provide details about how minimal, low, moderate and high risk matters are defined: 

For more information about the background and purpose of these changes, read the questions and answers in the Transparency section of the College’s website.


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Self-reporting Obligations Increasing

Misinformation has been circulating about the obligation nurses have to self-report to the College when they are charged with an offence. The following questions and answers provide clarification on nurses' obligations.

Is the obligation for nurses to self-report charges new?
No, since January 1, 2013, nurses have been required to self-report charges against them to the College. This obligation was part of changes made to College regulations. 

Do other professionals have a similar obligation to self-report to their governing bodies?
Yes, nurses are just one group of health professionals that have mandatory self-reporting obligations.  Physicians, for example, must also report charges to their regulator, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. 

Should nurses inform the College about every kind of charge?
Nurses must self-report the following charges: 

  • An offence under the Criminal Code of Canada
  • An offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • Other offences that could be relevant to practice. For example, if a nurse is charged with a provincial offence under the Personal Health Information Protection Act for inappropriately accessing personal health information.

Do nurses have to tell the College if they get a speeding or parking ticket?
Speeding or parking tickets do not have to be reported to the College. As accountable professionals, nurses should use their judgment and knowledge of the nursing profession and the practice standards when considering whether a charge may be relevant to suitability to practice nursing and therefore should be reported.

Does the College investigate every self-report?
No, the College does not investigate every self-report that is received.  The College’s Executive Director reviews the self-report, determines what level of risk may be posed to the public, and makes a decision about an appropriate response.  There are many options available to the Executive Director that do not involve an investigation. For example, a nurse may be advised to review practice standards and in some cases, may be asked to meet with a representative from the College’s professional conduct department to discuss the matter.

Does the College learn about charges only through self-reporting?
No, the College receives information from a wide variety of sources.  Some of these sources include employers, the police, the public, and the news media.

What happens if a nurse does not self-report a charge?
A nurse who does not meet his or her self-reporting obligation could be investigated and may face professional conduct allegations.  

Will the College make the charges public?
Charges that are assessed as being relevant to a nurse’s suitability to practise will be posted on the nurse’s profile on Find a Nurse, the College’s public register.

Visit the Transparency section of the website for more information.

Who should I contact if I have questions about self-reporting?
For assistance or more information on the self-reporting process, email the College at investigations-intake@cnomail.org or call 416 928-0900 ext. 6988 (toll-free in Ontario 1 800 387-5526).

Visit the Self-Reporting section of the website for more information.

Renewal 2016: avoid suspension

The December 31 deadline has passed for nurses to renew their membership for 2016 without incurring additional fees. Nurses can still renew by going to Maintain Your Membership; however, additional fees now apply.

Suspension notice letters were sent on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 to those who have not renewed their membership.

Nurses who do not renew or resign their membership by Thursday, February 18, 2016 will be suspended on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.

NP Update

Tapentadol now a controlled substance
As of January 12, 2016, Tapentadol is a controlled substance and NPs are no longer able to prescribe it.

The College included a notice in the September issue of The Standard to give NPs time to prepare for this change. If you have been prescribing this medication, you should have plans in place for meeting clients’ needs going forward.

It is illegal for NPs to prescribe controlled substances in Ontario. For more information on NPs and controlled substances, read www.cno.org/np.

Q&A: Using the title “doctor”

Q: I’m a nurse with a PhD. Can I call myself “doctor”?

A: It depends on the circumstances. Are you providing health care or not?
Under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), titles such as “doctor” or “nurse” are protected titles. This means there are restrictions about who may use these titles when providing health care to individuals.

Just as people who have not met the legal requirements to become nurses cannot use the title “nurse,” nurses are not allowed to call themselves “doctor” when providing health care to clients. Nurses must use their own protected title of "Registered Nurse" (RN), "Registered Practical Nurse" (RPN) or "Nurse Practitioner" (NP) when practising nursing in Ontario.
However, if you have a doctorate degree, you may call yourself “doctor” when you are not providing health care to clients. For example, when you are being introduced before giving a presentation at a conference, or if you are a professor teaching nursing students.