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IMPORTANT UPDATE: New provincial orders – change to scope of practice in hospitals

Dear nurses,

A new order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 1990 (EMCPA) authorizes health care professionals, including nurses, to provide patient care services outside their regular scope of practice and enables hospitals to employ, contract, appoint or otherwise engage regulated health professionals from out of province. You can read the new regulation here: Ontario Regulation 305/21 Regulated Health Professionals, made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 1990.
Under this new order, health professionals from Ontario or out of province, including nurses, are authorized to engage outside of their regular scope of practice provided that doing so is necessary in order for the health care professional to respond to, prevent, or alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The services provided must also be consistent with the duties that have been assigned or the privileges that have been granted by the hospital.
This new order applies only to nurses working in hospitals whether registered with CNO in the general, extended, non-practising, temporary, special assignment or Emergency Assignment class. While this order allows nurses to work outside of scope, nurses are still required to work within their knowledge, skill and judgment. The order does not permit nurses to practice outside of scope while they are working outside a hospital.
Nurses authorized to practice in other Canadian jurisdictions may be employed by Ontario hospitals under this new order. These nurses do not have to register with CNO and are not permitted to work in settings outside a hospital.
The Ministry of Health made CNO aware of these changes yesterday. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our website (www.CNO.org) with any new information that becomes available.
You are encouraged to speak with your employer to further understand any implications to your practice.

Earlier this week, I expressed my appreciation to Ontario’s nurses. Thank you for the commitment you have demonstrated to do your very best to keep patients safe in these challenging times.


Anne Coghlan, RN, MScN
Executive Director and CEO

Page last reviewed April 23, 2021