Evidence of Practice

You must demonstrate, no more than three years before the CNO issues your certificate of registration, that you have experience practicing in the category you are applying to.

RN applicants  | RPN applicants | NP Applicants

“Evidence of practice” refers to any information that shows CNO that you have experience practicing as a nurse within the past three years.

The evidence must be relevant to the category or class you are applying to join. For example, an applicant applying to become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) must provide evidence of practicing as an RPN within three years of the CNO issuing a certificate of registration.

What is Nursing Practice?

Nursing practice is diverse and is not defined by your role, title, practice setting or a procedure or activity you may be performing. Practicing nursing is not the same as being employed as a nurse; if you volunteer as a nurse, you are considered to be practicing nursing. However, CNO doesn’t recognize time spent caring for a friend or family member as nursing practice.

The Nursing Act, 1991 defines the practice of nursing as:

The promotion of health and the assessment of, the provision of care for and the treatment of health conditions by supportive, preventive, therapeutic, palliative and rehabilitative means in order to attain or maintain optimal function.

Nursing practice includes both clinical and non-clinical roles. You can be practicing nursing while not providing direct patient care. For example, when working in education, administration, policy or research roles. Nursing is not solely defined as a bedside role and direct patient care.

To practice as a nurse in Ontario, you must be registered with CNO. For your work outside of Ontario to be considered nursing practice, you must be registered, if required, with the nursing regulatory body or authority in the jurisdiction where you were or are currently practicing. For example, if you are using nursing practice in the Philippines as your evidence of recent practice, you must either be, or have been, registered with the Professional Regulation Commission in the Philippines at the time.

Many CNO applicants  meet this requirement by completing a CNO-approved nursing program within the past three years.

Evidence of practice can also be demonstrated by:

  • practice experience as an RN, RPN or NP within the past three years (must be relevant to the category or class to which you are applying)


  • completing other nursing education within the past three years. This includes both theoretical- and clinical-based components relevant to the category to which you are applying. For example, completing a Post Basic Bachelor program in your country of origin, with a clinical component or Masters of Science or Ph.D. in nursing with a research component, may meet the requirement.
  • Some applicants may be eligible to participate in a supervised practice experience in Ontario to meet the evidence of practice requirement. Read the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership for more details about the program and eligibility requirements

If you do not have evidence of practice within this timeframe, you still have options. You can:

  • return to, and practice, in a jurisdiction where you are registered


  • have an evaluation that the Registration Committee approves, and successfully complete any additional training, experience, examinations or assessments the committee identifies. CNO will direct you to complete additional education based on how long it has been since you practiced. 





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Page last reviewed February 14, 2022