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Modernizing Standards

CNO is working on modernizing practice standards to reflect the evolving health care needs of patients and the dynamic nature of the nursing profession.

Refer to this page regularly to be notified about ongoing work on the Modernizing Standards project.

Why is CNO modernizing standards?

CNO’s practice standards exist to promote safe nursing practice. With constant changes to the health care needs of patients and the nursing profession, our practice standards need to be modernized to better reflect current practice realities, public expectations and societal values.

A comprehensive review to modernize standards will:

  • reduce duplication
  • address gaps in content
  • promote consistency
  • increase accessibility
  • align with CNO’s strategic plan, and
  • ensure they are contemporary and relevant to complexities and risks of nursing practice 

What will modern standards look like?

Modern standards will:

  • target risk by identifying specific and relevant risks of harm
  • be evidence-informed by leveraging insights from current data from sources such as literature, jurisdictional scans and stakeholder perspectives.
  • reflect current health care needs, nursing practice, health system environment and societal values (for example, including diversity, equity and inclusion principles).
  • be consistent with legislative requirements
  • move away from detailed clinical standards
  • focus on outcome-oriented standards and principles relevant to regulation, be clear and easy to understand by nurses, employers and the public
  • be easily accessible to nurses, employers and the public by leveraging current technology

Current work

On June 8, 2023, Council approved CNO's modernized Scope of Practice Standard. This practice standard  will take effect, July 1, 2023.

As part of our modernization, we review existing standards and guidelines and integrate relevant content within modern standards.

Since key information and principles from other exiting practice standards and guidelines are integrated into both the Code and the Scope of Practice Standard, Council has approved the retirement of the following existing standards:

  • Professional Standards
  • Ethics
  • Decisions About Procedures and Authorities

To align with Council’s decision, CNO will retire the following guidelines:

  • Authorizing Mechanisms
  • RN and RPN: The Client, the Nurse and the Environment

Next steps

CNO is updating resources to support the Scope of Practice standard and the retirement of other practice standards and guidelines.

Additional information

CNO Strategic Plan 2021-2026 Outcomes 




To request an accessible version of any document on this page, please contact us.

Page last reviewed June 05, 2023