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Nurses’ Health Program available

A program is now available that enhances public safety while providing treatment for nurses in Ontario with substance use and/or mental health disorders.

The Nurses’ Health Program was developed by CNO, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN). This voluntary bilingual program encourages nurses to seek treatment for substance use and/or mental health disorders that could affect their ability to practice nursing safely.

CNO’s mission is to protect the public, and NHP helps do that. Research indicates that voluntary and confidential professional health programs are highly effective in both protecting the public and aiding recovery. Such programs are highly effective in achieving earlier detection and removal from practice, decreasing risk of harm from relapse, and have the highest rates of sustained recovery.  

NHP offers a proven approach to the assessment and treatment of substance use and/or mental health disorders. It recognizes these disorders as illnesses and takes a non-punitive approach that reduces stigma and focuses on recovery.

We believe that with the right support and opportunity for education, treatment, and recovery, nurses can continue or return to safe nursing practice.

The program is in addition to CNO’s current Fitness to Practice (FTP) regulatory process. We use FTP when it is determined that a nurse’s physical or mental health is affecting their ability to practice safely. When necessary, CNO can restrict a nurse’s ability to practice or have them surrender their certificate of registration until certain conditions are fulfilled.

Page last reviewed March 16, 2020