Learn about CNO Committees

You can make a difference by joining a CNO committee. It is an opportunity for nurses to contribute to regulatory processes that protect patients.

Every year, we invite RPNs, RNs and NPs to apply to participate in any of CNO’s five committees. 

If you are considering getting involved, these educational videos will help you decide if committee work is right for you. This playlist of six videos will take about 15 minutes to watch.

 

Committee descriptions

The Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committees share the same membership.

We are looking for nurses who

  • understand standards and how a nurse’s practice and behaviour impacts patient safety
  • can make decisions
  • can apply legal criteria (with legal counsel support) when making decisions
  • have experience protecting patients’ rights
  • act in their patients’ best interests
  • are committed to safety for patients and communities
  • have prior board or committee experience (for example, through professional experience or volunteerism)  
  • have excellent clear-writing skills

To work well on a College committee, you must be someone who

  • seeks understanding and communicates clearly
  • is self-aware and can manage emotions when faced with conflict
  • is helpful to others and able to build relationships
  • has unquestioned integrity
  • is able to develop and apply learning
  • has professional judgement and is a critical thinker
  • is comfortable using information technology and web-based applications (committee work is paperless):
    • to review material in an online format,
    • to collaborate with other committee members on shared documents
    • to collaborate effectively in virtual meetings
    • to use MS Office applications

You will need to

  • comply with the Conduct By-Law for Council and committee members
  • commit up to four days each month
  • participate in virtual meetings in an area that ensures confidentiality and no interruptions
  • carefully read large amounts of information about a nurse’s health
  • contribute to the discussion and decision-making at meetings and hearings
  • participate in orientation and ongoing education

About the Discipline Committee’s work

The committee holds public hearings, at which evidence is tabled. From the evidence, the committee decides whether a nurse is incompetent or has committed an act, or acts, of professional misconduct.

If so, it determines the appropriate action, including:

  • reprimanding a nurse
  • imposing terms, conditions and limitations on a nurse’s practice, or suspending a nurse
  • requiring a nurse to pay a fine
  • revoking a nurse’s registration

Following a hearing, the committee writes its decision and reasons.

Members of the committee may be asked to take on additional roles, such as pre-hearing Chair, panel Chair or decision writer. These roles involve additional time commitments.

About the Fitness to Practise Committee’s work

The committee reviews and approves agreements between the College and a nurse about the actions the nurse will take to ensure their health condition does not affect patient care. Where no agreement is possible, the committee conducts a hearing and reviews evidence and arguments presented by both sides. Fitness to practise hearings are not public.

From the evidence, the committee decides if a nurse has a health condition that could impact the nurse’s ability to practice safely and, if so, the appropriate action to take, including:

  • imposing terms, conditions and limitations on a nurse’s practice, or suspending a nurse
  • revoking a nurse’s registration

Following a hearing, the committee writes its decision and reasons. Members of the committee may be asked to take on additional roles, such as panel Chair or decision writer. These roles involve additional time commitments.

The College

  • provides regulatory expertise and advice
  • delivers orientation, education and ongoing support
  • provides legal counsel to support the committee
  • schedules all meetings and hearings in advance
  • pays a daily honorarium and covers expenses

We are looking for nurses who

  • understand standards and how a nurse’s practice, behaviour and health impacts patient safety
  • can make decisions
  • can apply legal criteria (with College support) when making decisions
  • have experience in protecting patients’ rights
  • act in their patients’ best interests
  • are committed to safety for patients and communities
  • have prior board or committee experience (for example, through professional experience or volunteerism)

 To work well on a College committee, you must be someone who

  • seeks understanding and communicates clearly
  • is self-aware and can manage emotions when faced with conflict
  • is helpful to others and able to build relationships
  • has unquestioned integrity
  • is able to develop and apply learning
  • has professional judgment and is a critical thinker
  • is comfortable using information technology and web-based applications to review material in an online format (committee work is paperless) and to collaborate effectively in virtual meetings

You will need to

  • comply with the Conduct By-Law for Council and committee members
  • attend one full-day meeting (virtually or in Toronto) once per month
  • attend occasional virtual meetings as needed
  • participate in virtual meetings in a space that ensures confidentiality and no interruptions
  • carefully read large amounts of information about complaints and reports before each meeting (expect to spend two to three days preparing for each meeting)
  • contribute to the discussion and decision-making at meetings
  • participate in orientation and ongoing education

About the committee’s work

The committee reviews complaints and reports about nurses and uses legal criteria to determine how to respond. This may include:

  • investigating a complaint or report
  • approving an alternate dispute resolution agreed to by the person who complained, the nurse and the College
  • requiring a nurse to participate in remediation, such as an oral caution or continued education
  • requiring a nurse to undergo a health assessment to determine if they have a health condition that impacts their ability to practice nursing safely
  • imposing terms, conditions or limitations on a nurse’s certificate of registration
  • suspending a nurse’s certificate of registration 
  • referring specified concerns to the appropriate adjudicative committee (Discipline or Fitness to Practise)

The College

  • provides regulatory expertise and advice
  • delivers orientation, education and ongoing support
  • schedules all meetings in advance
  • pays a daily honorarium and covers expenses

We are looking for nurses who

  • understand standards and how a nurse’s practice and behaviour impacts patient safety
  • can make decisions
  • can apply legal criteria (with College support) when making decisions
  • have experience in protecting patients’ rights
  • act in their patients’ best interests
  • are committed to safety for patients and communities
  • have prior board or committee experience (for example, through professional experience or volunteerism)  

To work well on a College committee, you must be someone who

  • seeks understanding and communicates clearly
  • is self-aware and can manage emotions when faced with conflict
  • is helpful to others and able to build relationships
  • has unquestioned integrity
  • is able to develop and apply learning
  • has professional judgement and is a critical thinker
  • is comfortable using information technology and web-based applications to review material in an online format (committee work is paperless) and to collaborate effectively in virtual meetings

You will need to

  • comply with the Conduct By-Law for Council and committee members
  • participate in one full-day meeting (virtually or in Toronto) per year
  • participate in two- to three-hour virtual meetings every other month
  • participate in virtual meetings in an area that ensures confidentiality and no interruptions
  • carefully read and consider assessments of nurses’ practice prior to each teleconference (expect to spend two hours preparing for each teleconference)
  • contribute to the discussion and decision-making at meetings
  • participate in orientation and ongoing education

About the committee’s work

The committee considers assessments of nurses’ practice and determines if they nurse demonstrates satisfactory professional knowledge, skill and judgement. If it finds practice inadequacies, the committee:

  • requires nurses to address these inadequacies through specific actions (for example, continuing education)
  • imposes terms, conditions and limitations on a nurse’s practice if the nurse demonstrates unsatisfactory knowledge, skill or judgement, or fails to complete the action to address these
  • refers serious concerns about a nurse’s conduct, competence or capacity to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee

The College

  • provides regulatory expertise and advice
  • delivers orientation, education and ongoing support
  • schedules all meetings in advance

pays a daily honorarium and covers expenses

We are looking for nurses who

  • understand standards and how a nurse’s practice and behaviour impacts patient safety
  • understand the post-secondary educational system and its relationship to the College’s registration processes
  • can make decisions
  • can apply legal criteria (with College support) when making decisions
  • work with diverse populations
  • have experience in protecting patients’ rights
  • act in their patients’ best interests
  • are committed to safety for patients and communities
  • have prior board or committee experience (for example, through professional experience or volunteerism)

To work well on a College committee, you must be someone who

  • seeks understanding and communicates clearly
  • is self-aware and can manage emotions when faced with conflict
  • is helpful to others and able to build relationships
  • has unquestioned integrity
  • is able to develop and apply learning
  • has professional judgement and is a critical thinker
  • is comfortable using information technology and web-based applications to review material in an online format (committee work is paperless) and to collaborate effectively in virtual meetings

You will need to

  • comply with the Conduct By-Law for Council and committee members
  • attend full-day meetings (virtually or in Toronto) every other month
  • participate in virtual meetings in a space that ensures confidentiality and no interruptions
  • carefully read large amounts of information about applicants (expect to spend one to two days preparing for each meeting)
  • contribute to the discussion and decision-making at meetings
  • participate in orientation and ongoing education

About the committee’s work

The Registration Committee reviews applications from people who want to become nurses in Ontario and determines if the evidence applicants provide meets registration requirements. The committee uses evidence and applies legal criteria to decide if an applicant:

  • can be registered
  • must complete an exam or additional education to be registered
  • can be registered with terms, limits or conditions
  • cannot be registered

The College

  • provides regulatory expertise and advice
  • delivers orientation, education and ongoing support
  • schedules all meetings in advance
  • pays a daily honorarium and covers expenses

 

Do I have to travel to Toronto for committee meetings?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, committee meetings and hearings have been held virtually. We anticipate holding most of our meetings virtually for the foreseeable future. If travel is required in the future, CNO covers expenses.

CNO is committed to ensuring a safe environment for committee members, guests and staff. We will communicate with committee members when we plan a return to face-to-face meetings.

To participate effectively in virtual committee meetings and hearings, you will need to join these meetings from an area that ensures confidentiality and no interruptions. CNO will provide you with access to a secure online portal through which you will receive committee information. You will also be given the necessary hardware and training to use the portal.

 What type of compensation do you provide committee members?

Serving on a committee is a volunteer commitment. CNO provides a daily stipend for services provided on the committee, including time spent preparing for and attending meetings.

For more information, please read the stipend and expense policies.

How much time will I need for committee work?

The time commitment depends on the committee you join. The details are provided in the description of each committee in the accordion tabs above.

What does it mean when it says that committee members must comply with the Conduct By-Law?

The Governance Principles and Conduct By-Law set out expectations for the behaviour of committee members, including specific expectations around conflict of interest and confidentiality. All committee members are expected to comply with all the requirements set out in the Code under the Conduct By-Law.

The Code identifies that it is a conflict of interest for committee members to:

  • work for CNO;
  • work for, or be in a leadership position with, any provincial, national or international organization that advances the interests of nurses (for example: professional associations or nursing unions); or
  • work for any provincial organization that has policy making responsibilities for nurses or oversees the regulation of nurses (for example the Ministry of Health).

As a final step in the appointments process, candidates who are asked to provide reference checks will be asked to review and reflect on the Conduct By-Law and complete a form confirming that:

  • they have read and understand the by-law;
  • if appointed, that they will follow the By-Law; and

that they:

  • do not hold one of the positions identified as a conflict; or
  • hold a position that is identified as a conflict and commit to resign from the position if they are appointed to a committee.

Wondering what it’s like being on a committee? Read our interviews with three committee members who comment on their experience.

Page last reviewed October 20, 2020