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COVID-19: Emergency Assignment Class FAQs

What is the Emergency Assignment Class?

The Emergency Assignment Class (EAC) comes into effect when the province declares an emergency and asks CNO to register qualified nurses in the Emergency Assignment Class.

CNO re-enacted the EAC on April 19, 2021 for the purpose of allowing qualified individuals to provide nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the requirements to register in the EAC?

  1. You have successfully completed a nursing program approved in the jurisdiction in which it was taken
  2. You have evidence of practice as a RN or RPN within the past three years, meaning that you have either worked as a nurse or completed a clinical practicum during your nursing program.
  3. You are proficient in English or French
  4. You are able to demonstrate good conduct and character

How can I start the process of applying?

Complete the Emergency Assignment Registration Form and submit it by e-mail to emergencyclass@cnomail.org.

You will receive an e-mail confirming we received your application. CNO will assess the information you provide to determine your eligibility to register in the EAC.

Is there a cost to register?

There is no cost to register for the EAC.

How long will it take to register?

The process will take up to three business days if you meet all the requirements.

How long will my registration be valid?

Unless you fail a registration exam, your registration will be valid until the provincial emergency is over and CNO closes the EAC. CNO will automatically extend all EAC registrations every 60 days if there continues to be a need for EAC nurses in Ontario.

NOTE: The expiry date for all EAC registrations has been extended to Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

I am scheduled to write my registration exam. Can I apply to the EAC without my result?

Yes. If you fail the registration exam while registered in EAC, your registration will expire at the end of the 60-day period and will not automatically be renewed.

If you pass the exam while registered in the EAC, you may consider registering in the General Class and pay the fee to join the class. Otherwise, you can continue to stay in the EAC until the provincial emergency is over.

What happens when the provincial health emergency is over?

All EAC registrations will expire. CNO will notify you and your employer 30 days before the EAC registrations expire. Please make sure you update your employer information on Maintain Your Membership.

If you want to continue practising in Ontario after the EAC is no longer available, you will need to pay a fee to apply in the General Class or Temporary Class. You will need to meet the registration requirements for these classes before you can register.

Are there any other considerations?

Nurses registered with CNO are accountable for maintaining all of the standards of practice, and making sure they have knowledge, skill and judgement to practice nursing. Practicing nurses must have professional liability protection and are encouraged to consult with their employer and/or their professional liability protection provider. If you have additional questions, contact our customer service team at cno@cnomail.org.

I haven’t practiced nursing in the last three years. Can I join the EAC?

No. The three-year limit is to ensure you have up-to-date competencies to practice nursing safely.

If you have not practiced nursing in the past three years, there are other ways you can support Ontario’s COVID-19 response efforts. Please consider supporting the health care system as an Unregulated Health Provider or as a volunteer.

I am an IEN and the only requirement I have outstanding is language proficiency. Can I join the EAC?

All applicants to the EAC must have proof of language proficiency in English or in French.  

If you haven’t met this requirement in your General Class application, then your application to the EAC cannot be processed. However, you can demonstrate your language proficiency by taking and passing the tests offered by the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN), the International English language Testing system (IELTS) or Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). For more information, see accepted language proficiency tests or Examens de compétence linguistique acceptés.

I am a recent Ontario nursing graduate. Should I apply to the EAC or the Temporary Class while I wait to write my exam?  

If you have an offer of employment, you may be eligible to apply for registration in the Temporary Class. The Temporary Class is an option for RN or RPN applicants who have met all the registration requirements for the General Class except the successful completion of a registration examination.

Registration in the Temporary Class is valid for six months from date of issue; the Emergency Assignment Class is valid for 60 days and is only extended every 60 days if there continues to be a need for EAC nurses in Ontario.

Please note, you cannot be registered in the Emergency Assignment Class and the Temporary Class at the same time. Learn more about the Temporary Class.  

If you would like to apply to the Emergency Assignment Class, please complete and submit the EAC application form.

Page last reviewed June 01, 2021