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Expanding Nursing Scope of Practice

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) protects the public by promoting safe nursing practice. This includes providing regulatory oversight to ensure changes in nursing’s scope of practice are implemented safely. 

In a letter to CNO, the Ontario government advised they have started the necessary work to advance CNO’s proposed regulations to expand RN and RPN scope of practice. The Ministry also indicated exploring changes to expand NP scope of practice. These changes are intended to increase patient access to timely health care services and reduce barriers to patient care.  

“Nurses are a cornerstone of our health care system and our vision is to ensure that changes to nursing scope of practice will be safe for all Ontarians says Carol Timmings, CNO’s Chief Quality Officer and Deputy Registrar. “Public safety is at the core of everything we do and we will work with health system partners to ensure this broadening of services is implemented in a manner consistent with the safe care Ontarians expect every day.” 

CNO’s proposed regulations permit RNs who meet specific requirements, to prescribe certain medications and communicate diagnoses for the purpose of prescribing. Proposed regulations for RPNs expands the controlled acts RPNs can independently initiate without an order in certain practice settings. 

Supporting safe practice

If government approves the regulations, CNO will communicate the changes and nurses’ professional accountabilities.

RNs who want to be authorized to prescribe medication will be required to complete education approved by CNO Council. Academic institutions interested in delivering RN prescribing education can now submit an expression of interest to CNO.

If the regulations are approved, we will keep you informed about this and next steps on www.cno.org, social media and The Standard.




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Page last reviewed March 13, 2023