At CNO, we are working as quickly as possible to help support Ontario’s health care system during the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic.

During these difficult and challenging times all nurses are being asked to do more than ever before. We know and are grateful for the important role nurses are playing on the frontlines of this unprecedented event. You are the heart of our health care system, and you continue to demonstrate your dedication to your patients and their families every day.

We are doing our best to get you the support you need. We are prioritizing our efforts to ensure as many nurses as possible are available to deliver the care needed while keeping you, your patients and your colleagues safe.

From all of us at CNO … thank you.


We have a dedicated COVID-19 FAQ page for nurses. On this page you’ll find answers to COVID-19 questions such as: 

  • How can I move from the non-practising class to the general class?
  • What are my accountabilities when providing care to a patient diagnosed with (or suspected of having) the coronavirus?
  • What are my accountabilities as a nurse manager during an outbreak on our unit?
  • Can I refuse to work with an infected patient?          

 Read our COVID-19 FAQs for nurses.

Important resources

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has created a dedicated COVID-19 website for health care professionals. It contains important info and resources such as:

  • up-to-date information about the virus
  • guidance documents for various health care sectors
  • case definitions, and more.  

In addition, the Ministry of Health is looking for experienced nurses who can help prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Visit their recruitment page for more information.

Public Health Ontario has also curated a resource page for health care providers. It contains resources such as:

  • Best practices for infection prevention and control of novel respiratory infections
  • Comprehensive instructions for specimen collection, specimen requirements, specimen handling, testing methods and turnaround times.
  • A daily scan of selected national and international public health organizations providing links to COVID-19 guidelines, position statements and situational updates, and more.

Report individuals being tested
Health care providers  must contact  their local public health unit about all individuals being tested for COVID-19. This is a critical part of containing COVID-19 so it should be clearly communicated to the entire health care team who will take on this responsibility, ensure it is documented, and any advice given by the public health unit is implemented.

To find your local health unit, please see the Ministry of Health PHU Locator. If you’re considering testing a patient for COVID-19, you can contact Public Health Ontario’s Customer Service Centre for advice and support.

You can also contact your public health unit to:

  • coordinate treatment of suspected cases that may need hospitalization
  • coordinate, plan and/or provide direction for discharging a patient who is under investigation and has lab results pending but does not need hospitalization
  • find up-to-date information, including case definitions, best practices or other information
  • identify local testing sites
  • To provide contact number to patients, if they develop symptoms/meet case definition to contact local public health unit first before coming into a health care facility (if not an emergency)

If you have a patient who is symptomatic but does not need hospitalization, or who is asymptomatic but has travelled to an affected area and is concerned about a possible COVID-19 exposure, you can refer them to their public health unit as well.

Health care workers and health sector employees can call the Ministry of Health’s Healthcare Provider Hotline for more information: 1 866 212 2272.

Guidance and best practices 


Your accountabilities

Nurses are accountable to all standards of practice.

If you have questions about your accountabilities when caring for patients affected with the new coronavirus, email us:

CNO’s role

CNO’s mandate is to protect the public—but patient safety is a responsibility we all share. Our role during the novel coronavirus outbreak is to support your ability to provide safe and competent care and help you understand your accountabilities.

If you have questions about your accountabilities when caring for patients affected with the new coronavirus, please contact us. One of our Advanced Practice Consultants can help identify the appropriate practice standards and guidelines to guide your decision-making and help you understand your accountabilities.


For answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, such as what the risks and symptoms are, how it spreads, and how you can protect yourself, read the Government of Canada’s FAQ page.

You can also find information about how to protect yourself from the virus, what to do if you’re sick and how to recognize possible symptoms on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s public website.


Status Reports 

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, call your local health care provider or public health unit for more information.

How Students/New Grads can help during COVID-19

As a student, you can apply for the Temporary Class if you …

  • have completed your nursing program, even if you have not written the registration exam (NCLEX-RN or CPNRE), and
  • have an offer of employment.

For more information, please visit Applying to the Temporary Class.

To apply for Temporary Class

  • You can apply to Temporary Class through CNO’s Maintain Your Membership portal (this is in addition to the RN or RPN General Class application you already made).

To check your applications status

Registration validity

  • Your Temporary Class registration will be valid for up to 6 months. 

If you are still in a nursing program and want to help …

  • you may consider seeking volunteer opportunities in your community.

To learn more about the virus, visit the World Health Organization’s info page and the government of Canada's FAQ page

Page last reviewed March 27, 2020