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Academic Reference Group

The Academic Reference Group is made up of educators and representatives of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) who share information and collaborate on nursing regulatory issues of mutual interest and concern.

The goal of the group is to provide an opportunity for discussion and collaboration on regulatory issues of importance to both educators and the College of Nurses of Ontario.

The group includes 12 Ontario nursing educators who have volunteered to represent all nursing programs in the province. 

Renee Berquist
St. Lawrence College

Annie Berthiaume
Collège Boréal

Mariève Chartrand
Collège La Cité

Wendy Ellis 
George Brown College

Lisa-Anne Hagerman
Conestoga College

Kathryn Halverson
Brock University

Erin Kennedy
Western University

Kumaran Mahathevan 
Centennial College 

June Raymond
Cambrian College

Alison Thompson
Lakehead University

Katherine Trip
University of Toronto

Neshma Dhanani
College of Nurses of Ontario


Donna Rawlin
College of Nurses of Ontario

Nathalie Peladeau
College of Nurses of Ontario

Irene Wu-Lau
College of Nurses of Ontario

Terms of Reference


The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) values engagement with stakeholders to promote safe nursing practice. Collaboration between Academia and the CNO will enable a common goal to ensure nursing graduates are able to practice safely, competently, and ethically in any Ontario health care context.

The reference group provides one mechanism for CNO and educators to engage, share information and collaborate with each other on strategic and operational matters of mutual interest. Information collected will be used to inform nursing regulation (for example, planning, evaluation etc.), and support nursing educators so they are informed and prepared to support any related changes to nursing regulation.

The Academic Reference Group (ARG) represents all practical nursing (PN), baccalaureate (BN), and nurse practitioner (NP) programs that provide entry level nursing education in Ontario, as well as CNO staff. The ARG allows information sharing and collaboration about regulatory related topics of mutual interest.


The main objectives are to:

  • Collaborate and share perspectives and experience about strategic and operational matters related to regulation of entry level nursing education and practice.
  • Exchange information and provide input that supports the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of regulatory and nursing education policies and initiatives.
  • Propose recommendations for consideration related to education program, as applicable.

Roles and responsibilities

All reference group members will actively and constructively participate in meeting discussions in a professional manner. The group will be chaired by the CNO Manager Education Program.

The Chair will:                       ­­

  • Prepare the meeting agenda, supporting materials and report outcomes to CNO.
  • Foster an environment where all feel welcome, respected, and have opportunity to participate.
  • Facilitate an evaluation process.
  • Post Academic Reference Group ‘News to Use’ newsletter on cno.org following each meeting.

All participants will:

  • Contribute agenda items and prepare for meetings.
  • Identify any conflict of interest.
  • Participate in meeting evaluations.


Participation in the group is voluntary and will be advertised openly.

The desired number of nursing program participants (for example, educators/administrators) for the reference group is 12 (no alternates).

CNO is committed to ensuring a diverse representation of Ontario’s nurses and aims to provide a space where a variety of viewpoints and experiences can be shared related to matters of patient safety and safe nursing practice in Ontario.

The CNO Manager Education Program and Director Professional Practice as well as members of the CNO education team will support the group.

Membership is a three-year term, with an option for a 1-year renewal (staggered to ensure knowledge transfer).

Applicants will be required to provide their application form and will be considered based on criteria outlined below. If applicant is a nurse, member must be in good standing with CNO.

Selection of Participants

Aggregate characteristics of the group will reflect:

  • A range of knowledge and experience of nursing education from PN, BN and NP programs.
  • Geographical diversity across province
  • Language representation (French and English)
  • Administrative and educator (faculty) representation
  • Unique perspectives from diverse members of the academic community


The committee chair will facilitate evaluation and achievement of committee objectives, informally through group discussion at the end of each meeting and formally when annual Terms of Reference and Committee Membership is reviewed.


ARG will meet quarterly by teleconference (using supportive technology, such as Zoom). The chair may call ad hoc meetings as required.

Sharing of Information

Members are encouraged to share key messages with their colleagues and stakeholder networks. Certain items shared (such as draft documents) may require confidentiality and will be restricted from circulation beyond the ARG until approved for distribution.


ARG will annually review Terms of Reference, updating as required.





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Page last reviewed January 22, 2024