What is the College of Nurses of Ontario?
The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the regulator of the nursing profession in Ontario. It is not a school or a nursing association. CNO acts in the public interest by:
- assessing qualifications and registering individuals who want to practice nursing in Ontario.
- setting the practice standards of the profession that nurses in Ontario are expected to meet.
- promoting nurses' continuing competence through a quality assurance program.
- holding nurses accountable to those standards by addressing complaints or reports about nursing care.
When was CNO established?
The College was founded in 1963. By establishing the College, the Ontario government was acknowledging that the nursing profession had the ability to govern itself and put the public's well-being ahead of professional interests.
How many nurses are registered with CNO?
For the latest information, please see our Nursing Statistics page.
Anyone who wants to use a nursing-related title —Registered Nurse (RN), Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) must become a member of CNO.
How can I confirm whether a person is a nurse?
Go to the public Register, Find a Nurse, to conduct a search for the nurse. Contact us if you can't find the person you are looking for.
What information is publicly available about nurses?
All public information available about nurses is posted in the public Register, Find a Nurse, which contains profiles of every nurse in Ontario. Publicly available information about nurses include their registration history, business address, and information related to pending disciplinary hearings or past findings.
What is an "Unregistered Practitioners"?
Unregistered practitioners are people who are seeking employment in nursing or holding themselves out as being able to practice nursing in Ontario, but who are not qualified to do so. They are not registered members of CNO. Only people registered with CNO can use nursing-related titles or perform certain procedures that could cause harm if carried out by a non-registered health professional. CNO takes the issue of unregistered practitioners seriously. See Unregistered Practitioners for more information.
Why can't CNO reveal details about an investigation?
To ensure procedural fairness for both the patient (or client) and the nurse, the Regulated Health Professions Act requires that information gathered during an investigation remain confidential until the matter is referred to the Discipline Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee. CNO will not disclose any information that could identify patients (or clients) or compromise an investigation. See Investigations: A Process Guide for more information.
When would information gathered during an investigation become public?
Information obtained during an investigation will become public if the matter is referred to a disciplinary hearing. If a complaint is not referred to a hearing, no information will be available publicly.
When are hearings scheduled, and can the public or media attend?
See CNO's hearings schedule, which is updated as hearing dates are confirmed. Hearings at CNO are open to the public and the media. For details on how to attend a hearing, contact the Hearings Administration Team.
Where are hearing results found?
What penalties can be imposed?
Where a disciplinary panel makes a finding of professional misconduct, they have the authority to reprimand a nurse, and suspend or revoke a nurse's registration. Terms, conditions and limitations can also be imposed on a nurse's registration, which restricts their practice for a set period. Nurses can also be required to complete remedial activities, such as reviewing CNO documents and meeting with an expert, before returning to practice.
How does CNO deal with sexual abuse of a patient by a nurse?
For detailed information see the Sexual Abuse Prevention section.