June 2023

Celebrating 60 years of CNO

This year marks the College of Nurses of Ontario’s (CNO’s) 60th anniversary. Since 1963, we have been protecting the public by promoting safe nursing practice.

We have a proud history of producing innovative regulatory and process outcomes that have changed health care in Ontario for the better. This trend continues today.

“Our anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the leadership and experiences that will guide us in advancing safe patient care,” says Silvie Crawford, Executive Director and CEO of CNO. “We are grateful to the nurses of Ontario and all our partners in safety for their contributions and collaboration.”

To help commemorate this anniversary, we are sharing highlights of our history and key milestones in the promotion of safe nursing practice.

“CNO is a leader in safe nursing practice, thanks to the efforts of the past 60 years,” says Crawford. “We look forward to continuing our work with nurses and our partners in safety to promote the highest standard of care for the public.” 


  • CNO was established in 1963 with 43,000 registered nurses. We are now the largest health care regulator in Canada, with over 190,000 registered nurses.

  • We launched our first membership magazine, Communiqué, in 1969. This printed magazine was mailed to every nurse in Ontario, and was the only way to share information about nursing regulation across the province. The Communiqué later became The Standard, which is now online and emailed to members. 

  • Today we’ve expanded our reach to nurses by using social media, with over 285,000 social media engagements last year alone. 

  • In 1976, we became the first nursing regulator in Canada to establish practice standards for nurses, setting the standard of care. 

  • In 1997, CNO became the first nursing regulator and Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate Nurse Practitioners. 

  • We also developed the Quality Assurance Program in 1997, to help nurses reflect on their practice and be lifelong learners. 

  • In 1998, we launched our website, cno.org, and the Customer Service centre. In 2022, the Customer Service team answered 23,000 calls and responded to 36,500 emails. 

  • In 2007, we introduced the online Annual Membership Renewal process. Now, nurses can renew their membership online, without having to mail in their forms and payment or visit the CNO office in Toronto to renew in person. 

  • In 2009, we launched our online public Register, Find a Nurse. This was a new, easy way for the public to find information about a specific nurse’s practice. 

  • In 2014, we welcomed a new online version of The Standard.

  • Starting in 2020, CNO responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with agility and resilience. That included communicating practice standards and accountabilities at a critical and challenging time.

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