Media Room

Welcome to the College of Nurses of Ontario's Media Room. Here, you will find general information about the College, its mandate and public protection function for press use. For information not found here, contact the College's Communications Department at The College will acknowledge media contacts within 24 hours during regular business hours.
Media room

What is the College of Nurses of Ontario?

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the regulator of the nursing profession in Ontario. It is not a school or a nursing association. The College acts in the public interest by:

  •     assessing qualifications and registering individuals who want to practice nursing in Ontario.
  •     setting the practice standards of the profession that nurses in Ontario are expected to meet.
  •     promoting nurses' continuing competence through a quality assurance program.
  •     holding nurses accountable to those standards by addressing complaints or reports about nursing care.

When was the College established?

The College was founded in 1963. By establishing the College, the Ontario government was acknowledging that the nursing profession had the ability to govern itself and put the public's well-being ahead of professional interests.

What is the College's mission?

The College's mission is to regulate nursing in the public interest.

What is the College vision?

The College's vision is to lead in regulatory excellence.

How many nurses are registered with the College?

There are approximately 160,000 nurses registered with the College. Anyone who wants to use a nursing-related title (i.e., Registered Nurse, Registered Practical Nurse or Nurse Practitioner) must become a member of the College. Visit the Statistics section for more information about the College's nurse membership.

How can I confirm whether a person is a nurse? 

Go to Find a Nurse and conduct a search for the nurse. Contact the College if you can't find the person you are looking for.

What information is publicly available about nurses?

All public information available about nurses is posted in Find a Nurse, which contains profiles of every nurse in Ontario. Publicly available information about nurses include their registration history, business address, and information related to pending disciplinary hearings or past findings.

What is an "Unregistered Practitioners"?

Unregistered Practitioners are people who are seeking employment in nursing or holding themselves out as being able to practise nursing in Ontario, but are not qualified to do so. They are not registered members of the College. Only people registered with the College can call use nursing-related titles or perform certain procedures that could cause harm if carried out by a non-registered health professional. The College takes the issue of unregistered practitioners seriously. See Unregistered Practitioners for more information.

Why can't the College reveal details about an investigation?

To ensure procedural fairness for both the patient (or client) and the nurse, the Regulated Health Professions Act requires that information gathered during an investigation remain confidential until the matter is referred to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committees. The College will not disclose any information that could identify patients (or clients) or compromise an investigation. See Investigations: A Process Guide for more information.

When would information gathered during an investigation become public?

Information obtained during an investigation will become public if the matter is referred to a disciplinary hearing. If a complaint is not referred to a hearing, no information will be available publicly.

When are hearings scheduled, and can the public or press attend?

See the College's hearings schedule, which is updated as hearing dates are confirmed. Hearings at the College are open to the public and the press. Email to book attendance at a hearing.

Where are hearing results found?

A summary of allegations and the disciplinary panel outcomes can be found on Find a Nurse, the College's register of members. Full decisions and reasons are also available.

What penalties can be imposed?

Where a disciplinary panel makes a finding of professional misconduct, they have the authority to reprimand a member, and suspend or revoke a member's registration. Terms, conditions and limitations can also be imposed on a nurse's registration, which restricts their practice for a set period of time. Nurses can also be required to complete remedial activities, such as reviewing College documents and meeting with an expert, before returning to practice.

How does the College deal with Sexual Abuse?

For detailed information see the Sexual Abuse section


Page last reviewed October 26, 2016