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For applicants | For organizationsGeneral questions


For applicants
Please review the information for applicants before reviewing the FAQs, there you will find the information you need to know about the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program including:
  • How to start
  • Program expectations
  • Accountabilities while in the program
  • Details on how to complete the program

How many hours do I have to practice nursing to meet the supervised practice experience requirement?

You must participate in a supervised practice experience for a minimum of 140 hours. This time may be extended based on your learning needs, previous experience, knowledge and skill level.

Will this be a paid supervised practice experience?  

Once a match has been determined, the applicant and employer will discuss payment for the supervised practice experience as part of the hiring process.

Are my learning needs reviewed and approved by CNO to ensure they are appropriate? 

No, CNO does not assess or approve the learning needs you identify for your practice experience. Applicants are responsible for reflecting and determining their own unique learning needs based on a variety of factors, such as experience, education, practice setting, time in or away from the role, etc.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program?

Applicants are eligible if they have met all their registration requirements except for:

  • Evidence of Practice, or
  • Evidence of Practice and Language Proficiency 

Read the information for applicants web page to learn more about program eligibility and details.

My evidence of practice expired three years ago, am I eligible to participate in this program?

Individuals with expired evidence of practice may still be eligible to participate if the expiry date is no more than 5 years before applying to the program. If your evidence of practice expired more than 5 years ago, you are not eligible.

What are my options if my evidence of practice is expired more than 5 years?

CNO will notify applicants whose Evidence of Practice expired over 5 years ago about steps they need to take to move forward in the application process.

CNO also is partnering with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to help identify individuals to take on unregulated health care roles in response to the pandemic. If you’re interested in this opportunity your can contact the Ministry of Health

Where can I find out which registration requirements I have outstanding?

Check the Applicant Portal to see what requirements you have outstanding to determine if you are eligible.

I think I am eligible but have not received a message from CNO, who do I contact?

Please check your registration status on the Applicant Portal. Eligible applicants will be notified on the portal and we are reviewing eligibility on a continual basis. If you’re still uncertain about your eligibility, contact us at

Is the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program specifically for internationally educated nurses?

All applicants, including internationally educated nurses, who meet the eligibility requirements can apply to the program.

I currently have an open application with the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) and have not yet been able to apply to CNO, can I participate in the SPEP program?

No. You must have an open application with the CNO and meet the eligibility criteria before you are able to participate in the program.

Do I have to do the placement in Ontario?

Yes, the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership placement needs to be completed in an Ontario practice setting.  This is to ensure applicants have the knowledge, skill and judgement to practice according to Ontario laws and CNO’s standards.

What is the timeline for the whole process?

There are many factors that impact these timelines for each individual applicant. Some of these factors may include:

  • the time it takes match you with an approved organization,
  • the agreed number of hours a week you will work per week with the approved organization. A minimum practice of 140 hours is required.
  • the time it takes for the organization to complete and submit the program completion form
  • the time it takes for CNO to review documents to ensure you have met the requirements to complete your registration in the general class.

I am applying for registration as an RN and RPN.I received a message indicating that I am eligible for the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program for my RN application.If I participate in the program, will this also meet my RPN evidence of practice?

Yes. If you complete an SPEP relevant to practising as an RN, then you will meet Evidence of Practice for both.

I have received a message from CNO advising that I am eligible for the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program. Only my RPN application number is listed in this message; however, I also have an open RN application. Am I eligible to complete the supervised practice experience for my RN application as well?

No. If you only received an eligibility message with your RPN application number, you must complete the Supervised Practice Experience at the level of an RPN.

I am applying for registration as an RN and RPN, I received an eligibility for the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program for both applications, which one should I do?

If you complete an SPEP relevant to practising as an RN, then you will meet Evidence of Practice for both.

For organizations

Are organizations expected to participate in the supervised practice experience partnership?

No, the decision of an organization to participate in the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership is voluntary. CNO does not mandate or require organizations to participate.

What is the organization accountable for when the applicant has completed the supervised practice experience?

The organization is accountable to complete the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership Completion Form. This form confirms the applicant has met the requirements of the supervised practice experience. It is CNO’s responsibility to make the determination whether the applicant has met the requirements to register in the General Class.

What resources are available for organizations to support applicants?

Organizations can provide resources similar to what is given to new staff members during orientation, but this also depends on the needs of the individual applicant.

Applicants can complete a supervised practice experience in a variety of practice settings. Therefore, the organization is in the best position to identify the appropriate resources to support the applicant.

If you are looking for resources to help applicants understand CNO standards and how to apply them to their practice, you may refer to CNO’s Standards & Learning page

Does CNO have specific requirements for nurse preceptors?

No, organizations are in the best position to identify appropriate preceptors to guide and support applicants during the supervised practice experience.

Is there a required applicant to preceptor ratio?

No, it is up to the organization to assess and determine the appropriate applicant to preceptor ratios to ensure patient safety. This will be determined through considering the needs of the applicant and organizational resources.  For the purposes of this program, CNO requires a preceptor as the organization’s point of contact.

Can applicants complete their practice experience part-time?

It’s up to the organization to determine practice experience work hours with their assigned applicants. CNO requires applicants to complete a minimum of 140 hours of practice experience. This may be more depending on the applicant’s learning needs. It doesn’t matter if the practice experience is completed by working full-time or part-time hours.  

What if I have a concern about an applicant who is participating in the supervised practice experience partnership?

You can read more about what and when to report your concerns to CNO from our Reporting Guide

CNO requires applicants to complete a minimum of 140 hours practice experience. Is 140 hours enough to determine competence?

The supervised practice experience is not intended to be a competency assessment. Applicants will have already demonstrated competence at the entry to practice level by meeting both the Education requirement and successfully passing their registration exam.

The purpose of the supervised practice experience is for applicants to obtain their Evidence of Practice requirement. CNO identifies 140 hours as the minimum requirement for applicants to demonstrate application of practice standards and to allow for the varying individual learning needs of an Ontario, Canadian or IEN applicant. An organization can extend these hours to accommodate individual learning or organization needs.

What can I expect of these applicants once they are registered with CNO?

Once applicants complete the program and are fully registered with CNO, the new nurse (RN or RPN) is fully accountable to CNO. This accountability includes engaging in quality assurance activities and continuing to identify learning needs. As with any nurse entering practice, they will continue to require support and can work with the employer organization to identify opportunities to address practice competency needs.

Do participating applicants have access to controlled acts?

Yes, applicants fulfilling the requirements to become a member of a health profession has access to the controlled acts under the supervision or direction of a member of the profession. However, these applicants are prohibited from delegating controlled acts

General questions 

How does the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program help the current nursing shortage?

This new initiative safely integrates applicants into the workforce during the pandemic adding much needed human health resources during this challenging time.  Working in partnership with approved organizations helps applicants to obtain the requirements needed to registered as a practicing nurse, and organizations gain competent, qualified practicing nurses.  

What is CNO doing to make the registration process easier?

CNO is modernizing its applicant assessments to streamline and reduce delays in becoming a registered practicing nurse in Ontario. The goal of updating registration requirements is to:

  • implement efficiencies on how CNO assesses applicant information,
  • update relevant policies associated with the process, and
  • reduce the length of time it takes for an applicant to be registered.

Why can’t CNO allow applicants licensed in other jurisdictions or those who have not met their education requirement to practice as nurses during the pandemic?

CNO’s mandate is very specific: to protect the public by promoting safe nursing practice. Assessing applicants is part of our commitment to the public that nurses who practice in Ontario have the knowledge, skill, judgment and character to practice safely an ethically.  We acknowledge that there is room for improvement in our registration processes and we are currently working on modernizing our processes to ensure efficiencies, while also protecting public safety.

Nurses are so busy, how can organizations preceptor a new hire?

We acknowledge this is a challenging time for nurses, and the program is a voluntary opportunity for organizations who are able to meet the requirements.  To protect public safety, these applicants require the support of an assigned preceptor to guide their practice experience.  The organization will be in the best position to determine if they have the capacity and nursing resources to provide preceptorship before volunteering as a program partner.

The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) is a time-consuming step.  Does CNO have a role in this process?

No, CNO is not directly involved in the NNAS process.

Some of the systems and processes currently in place to help me complete my registration are time intensive. What is CNO doing about it?

We recognize there are inefficiencies in the process and are working towards updating them.  As we review our modernizing our applicant assessment process, we will be looking into all areas impacting the applicant’s journey to registration.

Will IENS be able to practice under their own license? If not, how come?

Any individual wanting to practice nursing in Ontario, must be registered with CNO. CNO’s primary responsibility is to protect the public. This includes ensuring that all applicants, regardless of where they were educated, have the knowledge, skill, judgment to practice according to Ontario laws and CNO’s standards. Only members registered with CNO have access to the protected titles; “Registered Nurse” for members registered as RNs or “Registered Practical Nurse” for members registered as RPNs.

This is unfair. I’m already in the applicant process with CNO so why do IENs get to jump the line?

The Supervised Practice Experience program is open to any applicant who meets eligibility criteria. CNO  reviews all applicant  documents based on the date of receipt and will update applicants of their status and next steps through the Applicant Portal.

What about bridging programs? Will you be increasing access to them?

CNO is responsible for monitoring, evaluating and approving entry-level nursing educational programs in Ontario to ensure graduates are prepared to practice nursing safely.  We do not have oversight of educational funding for bridging programs or increased access to them.

Page last reviewed January 20, 2022