December 2021

What happened at Council?

CNO’s board of directors, which is called Council, meets quarterly to provide oversight, insight and foresight into CNO’s strategic direction. At its December meeting, Council discussed the Strategic Plan, our Professional Conduct processes and three new nursing programs. To see all the agenda items, go to Council Meetings page.

Our Strategic Plan in action

CNO has been working on several key initiatives as part of our Strategic Plan 2021-2024. These include enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), partnering with stakeholders and modernizing the practice standards for nurses.

Diversity, equity and inclusion
We know that inclusive and culturally aware nursing practices lead to better patient outcomes. Earlier this year, CNO committed to embracing DEI. This includes the experience of staff who work with us, nurses and stakeholders who interact with us and the public’s experience of nursing care in Ontario.

We already started to support this commitment in a number of ways. Staff, Council, and committee members participated in DEI training sessions, including additional focused training for those in leadership positions. We have established an internal DEI Advisory Group and hired a DEI Coordinator for the organization.

We continue integrating DEI into our work and initiatives. One way we’re doing this is by modernizing our registration practices so applicants experience processes that are evidence-informed, fair, inclusive and effective and contribute to improved public access to safe nursing care. Additionally, members of our Professional Conduct team received specialized training about inclusive practices for conducting investigations.

Collaborating with system partners
Like all health regulatory colleges, CNO plays an important role influencing patient care in this province. But we don’t do this alone. We partner with a wide variety of stakeholders, policy experts, government decision-makers and everyday Ontarians to protect the public. Throughout the pandemic we have focused on how to keep these important relationships alive, how we can add value and drive better patient outcomes. 

In 2021, CNO collaborated and engaged with stakeholders to work toward our shared purpose of public safety. One example of this is participation in the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s working groups to enhance safe care in the long-term care sphere. We also worked with the Ministry of Health on initiatives to support internationally educated nurses’ integration into the nursing workforce. Partnering with the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives, we are developing NURSYS Canada, a national system for regulators to share regulatory information about registrants.

Collaboration is key to achieving our purpose. In 2021, we collaborated with employers to pilot supervised practice experiences for internationally educated nurses. We also worked with the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, educators and students on the new registration exam for practical nurse applicants, called the REx-PN, which is set to launch in January.

Modernizing practice standards
As we develop modern standards for nurses in 2022, our plans for stakeholder engagement are in the works. We plan to start consultations in January 2022, but will adjust our timelines if COVID-19 affects nurses’ availability for consultation. Topics will include updating the Code of Conduct, topic-specific practice standards, useability and dissemination strategies and DEI.

For more information about our work modernizing the practice standards, go to Modernizing Standards.

Improving Professional Conduct processes

The Professional Conduct (PC) team made changes to their first point of contact for receiving inquiries, complaints and reports. After a process review, we established the goal of creating an intake approach that, when appropriate, achieves early resolution of low-risk matters, actively engages participants and supports continuing nurse competence and patient safety.

As a result of that review, we created a dedicated multi-disciplinary intake team of investigators, who have legal and regulatory experience, and nurses, with backgrounds in long-term care, acute care, public health, pediatrics, mental health and remote practice settings. This team is bringing their combined expertise and dedicated focus to initial risk assessment. Increased engagement with the public and nurses has also allowed the team to support more early resolution of low-risk matters.

For more information about our professional conduct processes, go to Protect the Public

Approving nursing education programs

All nursing programs in Ontario are reviewed annually to ensure graduates are prepared to practice nursing safely. We look at areas like first-time pass rates for exams, student ability to integrate what they have learned into practice and recent graduates’ perceptions of being prepared to practice safely.

Annual reviews
Council granted approval to all the established entry-level nursing programs in Ontario based on their annual review. You can see a full list of approved programs on our Approved Nursing Programs page.

Comprehensive reviews
Council granted approval to programs from several academic institutions based on a comprehensive review. To see the list of programs approved, see pages 55-58 of the Council briefing package.

Each entry-level nursing education program in Ontario undergoes a comprehensive review every seven years. 

Preliminary approval for new programs
Council granted preliminary approval to three new nursing programs: Sault College’s standalone Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program and Brock University’s concurrent Bachelor of Nursing/Master of nursing program.

All new nursing programs in Ontario must receive preliminary approval from CNO’s Council before admitting students. Preliminary approval includes a detailed review of the program’s curriculum. One year after the first cohort of students have graduated, we will review these programs comprehensively.

For more information, check our Program Approval page.

Executive Director update

Modernizing applicant assessment
CNO’s Executive Director & CEO, Anne Coghlan, updated Council on modernizing the applicant assessment process. On Monday, March 7, 2022, CNO will implement changes to its Language Proficiency policy. This is a first step toward realizing improvements in our application process. The changes will give CNO enhanced ability to assess language proficiency evidence in a timely manner. Detailed information on the policy will be available on our website on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

College Performance Measurement Framework
The Ontario government applauded CNO in its recently published College Performance Measurement Framework summary report. The report, which provides an overview of the health care system, mentioned CNO’s “notable practices related to governance and public safety, in particular our collaborative work on the development of a national database, Nursys Canada, to enable the proactive sharing of information about nurses across jurisdictions.” The report notes that this will enhance public safety in a time of increasing labour mobility. It also mentions our work implementing the recommendations of the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry, including sharing resources on intentional harm.

Finance and budget

Council approved the 2022 operating and capital budgets, after the Finance Committee advised these budgets provide the resources we need to meet our regulatory role, implement our Strategic Plan and support our long-term financial viability.

To read the reports of the Finance Committee and learn more about the new budget and policies, see the Council briefing package.

Committee appointments

Council voted to confirm Sylvain Leduc, NP, as a Council member to fill a vacant seat.

You can see a list of all Council members, and members of our statutory Committees, on our website.

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