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New Scope of Practice standard coming in July

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) protects the public by promoting safe nursing practice. This includes setting and maintaining practice standards and guidelines to ensure all nurses practice safely and competently.

On June 8, 2023, Council approved a Scope of Practice standard that outlines nurses’ legislative accountabilities and other key requirements nurses need to consider when deciding whether to perform an activity for safe client care. The Scope of Practice standard will take effect on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

“The nursing profession is always evolving – nursing regulation, including scope of practice, needs to keep pace. That’s why we prioritized standard modernization work and aligned with proposed regulatory changes to expand nursing scope of practice, such as RPN initiation, RN prescribing and NP scope changes,” says Carol Timmings, CNO’s Chief Quality Officer and Deputy Registrar “This Scope of Practice standard supports safe nursing practice in Ontario and system readiness when changes to nursing scope of practice takes effect.”

Along with legislative accountabilities, the Scope of Practice standard also outlines expectations on the principles of nursing competence and the context in which a nurse works. For example, nurses must also consider whether they have the knowledge, skill and judgment to perform the activity and if the workplace policy allows it in the practice setting.

“The accountabilities in this practice standard are not new. The standard brings together information from legislation and CNO practice standards and guidelines to create a clear and comprehensive document useful to nurses when deciding safe patient care,” says Timmings.           

The practice standard includes information from the Nursing Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. It also integrates key information and replaces CNO’s practice standard, Decision About Procedures and Authority and CNO guidelines; Authorizing Mechanisms and RN and RPN Practice: The Client, the Nurse and the Environment (referred to as the Three Factor Framework).

The Scope of Practice standard is available on our Standards and Learning webpage.  We will also update and share supporting resources when the practice standard takes effect.

Page last reviewed June 14, 2023