Nurses supporting public health measures

Public health protection measures, such as handwashing, masking, and social distancing are effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With the imminent rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, CNO is taking this opportunity to make its expectations about providing advice on evidence-based public health protection and prevention measures clear to nurses in Ontario.

Nurses are leaders in the community and the public’s trust in nurses may extend to their views on health matters communicated on social media and other forums. Statements made by nurses in public forums have the potential to impact the health and safety of the public.

Nurses have a professional accountability to:

  • use accurate sources of information based in scientific theory and evidence, to inform their professional service and practice[1]

  • support patients and the public to make informed health care decisions, including decisions about public health prevention and protection measures[2]

  • role model and follow public health directives that keep patients and the public safe[3].

CNO’s expectations are outlined in the Code of Conduct and Professional Standards.

CNO’s practice standards do not apply to all aspects of a nurse’s private life. However, when a nurse communicates with the public and identifies as a nurse, they invoke their professional position as a nurse and are accountable to CNO and the public it protects.

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Nurses to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without an order

The Ministry of Health has created an exemption in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to allow RNs, RPNs, and specified pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without an order. The exemption only applies for nurses practicing in certain organizations that have an agreement with the Minister of Health related to administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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We need your input and expertise to modernize the practice standards

As the nursing profession evolves and the health care needs of patients change over time, it is essential to have standards that are evidence informed, reflect contemporary practice, easily accessible to nurses and clearly understood by the public. To help us modernize the practice standards, we’re looking for nurses who are interested in participating in an Advisory Group.

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Don’t miss an important vaccine update — make sure we can reach you

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we can reach you with the latest updates and news quickly. Take a moment to log on to Maintain Your Membership now and check that all your contact info is current, as well as your employment details and other info.

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Building a QA program that works for you

Last year, CNO simplified its Quality Assurance (QA) program because of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked you to focus on reflecting on your practice and unique experiences in the pandemic. We are aware of the ongoing challenges nurses continue to experience and the impact COVID-19 has on your practice. We appreciate your ongoing commitment to patient safety and providing quality care during these unprecedented times.

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Kicking off the new year with a new Strategic Plan!

CNO is excited to release our new Strategic Plan, charting a new course for CNO and transforming how we see the future.


Developing our Strategic Plan 2021-2024 was a valuable and collaborative process. It encouraged us to think more broadly about our role as a regulator and protecting public safety in a rapidly changing heath care environment. The outcome is a robust Strategic Plan that will advance our purpose: to protect the public by promoting safe nursing practice.


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