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Modernizing Applicant Assessment

CNO is working on updating the way applicants can meet their nursing registration requirements to ensure application assessment processes are informed, fair, inclusive and effective to contribute to improved access to safe nursing care.

Refer to this page regularly to be notified about ongoing work on the Modernizing Applicant Assessments project.

Why is CNO updating application requirements?

CNO is accountable for ensuring that nurses are qualified and safe to practice. For applicants, our processes must be transparent, impartial and fair, regardless of where in the world they begin their nursing journey.

We understand that the application process can be lengthy and complex for many international applicants, with the COVID-19 pandemic only increasing these challenges. We have identified that our applicants are experiencing increased wait times, which has highlighted the need to review our processes, so that we can identify opportunities to make meaningful improvements.

Doing so will improve the applicant experience by streamlining and reducing delays in the application assessment process, which will ultimately improve wait times for applicants to become registered.

What is the goal of the updated requirements?

The goal of updating our requirements is to:

  • Implement efficiencies in how we assess the information for applications,
  • Update our policies related to four registration requirements:
    1. Language Proficiency
    2. Evidence of Practice
    3. Nursing Education
    4. Police Criminal Record Check
  • And, improve the time it takes for you to become eligible to register in Ontario.

Are the requirements changing?

The Language Proficiency, Evidence of Practice, Nursing Education, and Police Criminal Record Check requirements remain in place, however the options that are available to applicants to demonstrate how they satisfy these requirements are being updated. 

How will the new language proficiency (LP) policy be implemented?

The new LP policy will come into effect March 7, 2022. The new policy will only apply to applicants who submit their language proficiency information on or after this date. If you submit information related to the language proficiency requirement prior to March 7, 2022 your application will be evaluated under the existing policy.

All details of the revised policy will be available March 7, 2022. However, an overview of the new policy can be found in the graphic below.

How can I meet the updated language proficiency (LP) requirement?

Once the new policy is in effect, there are seven ways that you can demonstrate that you are proficient in English or French.

If you cannot demonstrate proficiency through one of the seven options, you must achieve the benchmark scores on an approved language proficiency test to satisfy the requirement. These tests are widely available.

You must meet the language proficiency requirement through one of the seven available options, in any category, described below:

Language Proficiency Flow Chart - see image description after image approved nursing education program approved language proficiency tests
Image description

How is this different from the current language proficiency policy?

The college will be assessing evidence that specifically demonstrates that the applicant has used English or French when completing education or working in a health care or health services setting. As a result, the college will be developing new processes and forms to assess language proficiency in the health care setting.

If you do not have this evidence, you will be required to complete one of the college's approved language proficiency tests. If you are registered as a nurse in any Canadian jurisdiction, you already meet the language proficiency requirement.

Next steps

We will continue to work to create efficiencies throughout 2022. Please refer to this page regularly over the next year for new information on the upcoming changes to the application requirements.

Facilitating ways in which applicants can meet their Evidence of Practice requirements is critical to modernizing the applicant registration process. One way is increasing opportunities for applicants to complete a supervised practice experience in Ontario that will provide the opportunity for applicants to apply CNO’s standards of practice and meet the Evidence of Practice requirement.

CNO is partnering with Ontario Health and employers to launch the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership program. This program will provide the opportunity for eligible applicants to meet their Evidence of Practice requirement for registration to practice as a nurse.

Read more about the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership.

Page last reviewed January 10, 2022