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Code of Conduct FAQs

What changes were made to the code?

The revised Code now reflects

  • Revised principles to support the reorganization of enhanced statements
  • A new principle focused on providing inclusive and culturally safe care by practicing cultural humility
  • Integration of key concepts throughout the Code (for example, empathy and advocacy)
  • Action-oriented and measurable statements
  • Enhanced alignment with professional misconduct regulation (for example, clarity around acts of professional misconduct such as cooperating with CNO, misappropriation)
  • Embedded links to other practice standards.

What resources are available to support the revised code?

CNO has developed a series of resources to support the revised Code’s application. They include

  • An introductory video that describes the key changes to the Code
  • A learning module focusing on Principle 2 of the Code
  • webinar to help understand the key features of the Code and a review of broad-based questions that helps describe how to apply the Code into practice
  • Ask practice resources to address nurses and other stakeholder inquiries

Please continue to monitor this webpage for future resources.

How is this code different from the canadian nurses association’s (CNA) code of ethics?

CNO’s Code is a provincial document and that reflects the legal framework and healthcare climate in Ontario.

How is the code different from other practice standards?

The Code is CNO’s overarching  practice standard  all nurses in Ontario are accountable to. It summarizes the expectations from other practice standards. Other CNO practice standards , such as Therapeutic Nurse-Client Relationship, Revised 2006 and Documentation, Revised 2008, support the Code and provide guidance to nurses’ practice.

How does the code align with other practice documents?

Practice guidelines, such as Conflict Prevention and Management and Independent Practice, provide guidance on specific practice-related issues related to these topic areas. Nurses are expected to guide their practice using the Code with other standards, guidelines and educational tools.  

My employer has a Code of Conduct. As a nurse, which code am I accountable to? 

You are accountable to both CNO and your employer. You are responsible for ensuring your practice and conduct aligns with standards of practice set out by CNO and accountabilities and expectations set by your employer(s).  

If you have questions about your specific role and your employer’s Code of Conduct, consult with your employer to clarify. If you have questions about CNO’s Code of Conduct, send us your question. 

What does this statement mean in the code? 

“CNO considers the Code in regulatory processes and in reviewing the practice of nurses such as in Quality Assurance and Professional Conduct processes. Nursing practice is considered in its working context and circumstances.”

The Code is a practice standard. The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 requires nurses to adhere to standards in carrying out their professional responsibilities. CNO places these expectations to ensure nurses provide responsible, safe and quality patient care. Breaching, contravening or failing to meet these standards is considered professional misconduct. CNO will assess the information considering the context nurses are working as outlined in the Standard of Care and will determine what action should be taken, if any. To learn more about the types of conduct that are defined as professional misconduct, read the Professional Conduct: Professional Misconduct reference document. 





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Page last reviewed June 05, 2023