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FAQs: Proposed regulation change

On May 15, 2024, CNO Council approved, for submission to government, proposed changes under the Nursing Act, 1991, to amend the education requirement for registration. . The proposed changes will positively impact applicants who are educated internationally. However, these changes will not impact Ontario graduates. Ontario graduates will continue to meet the education requirement and the new Transition to Practice requirement by completing a CNO-approved foundational nursing education program.

These changes are not in effect. The proposed regulations are with the Ministry of Health for their consideration. If the regulation changes are approved by government, information will be shared broadly and CNO will let applicants know about their next steps.  

The following FAQs are intended to help clarify some of the common questions we are receiving about the proposed changes. We recognize there will be many specific questions about these changes related to individual applications.  We will respond to these questions if the regulation receives government approval and once all the details and processes are in place. Please visit this page regularly and stay tuned for updates on cno.org and through our social media channels.

 

What are the proposed changes to meet the education requirement for registration?

If government approves the proposed changes, internationally educated applicants will be required to show they completed a nursing program that is recognized or approved in the jurisdiction where they studied. The program must also qualify them to practice in the same category of nurse (RN/RPN) they are applying to in Ontario.  

RN applicants will meet the education requirement if they have a nursing baccalaureate degree.  If an RN applicant’s education does not meet this requirement, their education will be assessed to determine if it meets the requirement for substantial equivalence.  If it does not meet substantial equivalence, the applicant will be provided with options to fulfill the education requirement.  

RPN applicants will meet the education requirement if they have a nursing diploma.  If an RPN applicant does not meet this requirement, their education will also be assessed to determine if it meets the requirement for substantial equivalence If it does not meet substantial equivalence the applicant will be provided with options on how to meet the education requirement. 

Who will these changes impact?

These changes will impact current and future internationally educated applicants  to CNO. Practicing nurses who hold a certificate of registration with CNO are not impacted. 

I am an applicant currently going through the registration process.  How will these proposed changes impact me?

Currently, the regulation has not changed and the current registration requirements remain in place, including education. If the Ministry approves the regulations, CNO will reach out to you directly to let you know about your next steps.  

Will these changes apply to RNs or RPNs renewing their registration?

No, these changes will not apply to current registrants renewing their registration. 

I am a senior-level practicing RN in Ontario who graduated at a time when diplomas were the minimum requirement for registration as an RN with CNO.  Do I have to go back to school to get a baccalaureate degree?

No. Currently registered nurses who hold a certificate of registration with CNO do not have to obtain additional education to meet the new requirements. These regulations will only impact current and future applicants. 

What does a program approved or recognized in the jurisdiction mean?

This means that the nursing program is approved by a board of nursing, government, or other oversight body within the jurisdiction where the applicant studied and the date on which this occurred. 

What happens if cno cannot confirm that a program is approved or recognized in the jurisdiction in which it was taken??

In jurisdictions where a program is not recognized or approved, CNO will not be able to accept the program as meeting the education registration requirement. This is consistent with the existing law in this province. 

With artificial intelligence in mind, how will CNO ensure the documents are real? 

To address fraud, CNO obtains documents directly from the primary source, for example the school, employer or board—not the applicant. If we receive information or have reason to believe that the information provided in support of an application is intentionally misleading, false or in any way a misrepresentation there is an investigation and action can be taken. 

How long will it take for these changes to be approved? 

The timelines for approval are not known, however as information becomes available, we will share updates on cno.org. 

What is the new transition to practice requirement? 

The Transition to Practice requirement is a new requirement for all CNO applicants. To meet this requirement, applicants will need to complete a course that focuses on competencies unique to the Canadian context of practice. These competencies are and will continue to be included in foundational nursing programs approved in Ontario. Therefore, Ontario graduates will meet this requirement through their nursing programs. International applicants can meet this requirement by completing a CNO approved Transition to Practice course. 

Will NNAS still be required? 

If the new regulation is approved by government, we will engage in an end-to-end review of our registration process, including the role of third-party vendors.  

Are these changes intented to recruit nurses from other jurisdictions? 

CNO does not recruit individuals from other provinces/territories or international jurisdictions to practice nursing in Ontario. We have never engaged in this practice. Individuals who choose to work in Ontario do so independently and decide to apply to CNO on their own accord. The proposed changes will positively impact applicants who are educated internationally and want to practice nursing in Ontario by streamlining the assessment processes.

Page last reviewed July 08, 2024