May 2022

CNO rises to Ministry challenge in new report

CNO’s commitment to public safety is your commitment, too. In a recent report CNO submitted to the Ministry of Health, you can find details of the ways we all worked to protect patients in 2021.

The Ministry of Health created the College Performance Measurement Framework (CPMF) report, now in its second year, to help improve accountability, transparency and oversight of Ontario’s 26 health regulatory colleges, including CNO. Among the many activities we describe in the report is our role, as a system partner, to address the needs of the health care sector during the pandemic.

“The second iteration of the CPMF, highlights our commitment to continuously evolve our regulatory processes,” says Anne Coghlan, CNO’s Executive Director and CEO when we submitted the report in March. “Over this reporting year, CNO worked hard to meet public expectations and the demands of an evolving regulatory environment.”

In 2021, CNO demonstrated strong relations with system partners to respond to health human resource needs. As a result of this work, we registered 12,449 new nurses as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in 2021. This is the highest number of newly registered nurses since 2018 and the second-highest in a decade. As well, we worked with the Ministry of Long-Term Care to help address staffing in the long-term care sector. We also collaborated with nurses, educators and students to launch a new RPN exam, the Regulatory Exam–Practical Nurse, or REx-PN, which reflects current evidence and best practices.

The CPMF report shows the many ways CNO supported Ontario’s pandemic response. For instance, as you continually adapted to changing work conditions, we helped you understand how changes in legislation affected your scope of practice. We also kept you informed of your accountability to support public health measures and workplace vaccination policies and provided practice resources for supporting mental health.

Self-scoring in seven areas

The report shows the Ministry how well CNO did its job as a public safety regulator in 2021. Every year, each college scores its activities in seven different areas: governance; resources; system partner; information management; regulatory policies; suitability to practice; and measurement, reporting and improvement. According to the Ministry, these are the most critical areas in which colleges effectively serve and protect the public interest.

Within the seven areas are 51 different measures for colleges to report changes and improvements in their practices. These are 13 more measures than in the previous year due to additions for diversity, equity and inclusion; risk assessment; and technology. As part of our report, we note areas in which we performed well, plus areas for improvement and commitments for doing better.

In the 2021 report, CNO attested to meeting or partially meeting 48 out of the 51 measures. We told the government about modernizing our applicant assessment processes. We highlighted our Strategic Plan’s role in informing our annual budget and assessing operational requirements to meet the province’s human resource needs. We also pointed out our public Privacy Policy for managing personal information.

Like last year, CNO reported that we did not meet three of the measures. In these cases, we told the Ministry about upcoming activities to address these. For example, a third-party assessor hasn’t evaluated Council’s effectiveness, which is planned for 2022. (Council is the governing body of CNO — you can learn more about it on our Council page.)

As well, CNO’s current by-laws do not include cooling-off periods — the time for which a Council candidate must stay away from a role that has a conflict of interest with CNO Council business — before applying to become a Council member. In the future, when we implement our Governance Vision, it will include an overall review of by-laws and feature cooling-off periods. In the meantime, we are continuing to advance our diversity, equity and inclusion plan, and develop an evaluation framework for our Council.

In the report, we point out areas where we can improve. When it comes to regulatory policies, CNO will build on existing work modernizing our standards this year. This initiative will support the evolving health care needs of patients and the dynamic nature of the nursing profession. We’re also building a robust performance and evaluation framework associated with our Strategic Plan as we implement our strategic pillars and public-safety outcomes.

See the full 2021 College Performance Measure Report.

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