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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Apr 24, 2020

Nursing in the Time of COVID-19

By Lindsay Kantor
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Navigating relationships with a self-regulatory body can be difficult even during “normal” circumstances. It is already trite to say that the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves are anything but “normal”. This is particularly the case for frontline healthcare workers who are working tirelessly to protect the public while simultaneously ensuring that their own personal and professional needs are met.

There  are currently over one hundred thousand (100,000) nurses in Ontario, many of whom are the face of the fight against COVID-19. If you are a Registered Nurse (“RN”), Registered Practical Nurse (“RPN”), or Nurse Practitioner (“NP”) in Ontario, or hope to become one, here are a few things you should know.

  • The College of Nurses of Ontario (the “CNO”) is very much “open” for business. Though the CNO building is currently closed to the public, all departments of the CNO remain operational, and staff can be contacted by telephone or e-mail.
  • Registration applications are being expedited. The CNO has acknowledged that the nursing profession is critical in helping prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. As such, we have been advised that the CNO is expediting the processing of new applications, including applications to transfer from one category of licensure to another (ex. from RPN to RN).
  • A new Emergency Assignment Class (“EAC”) of registration has been created. If you are a new Ontario graduate, or are currently a registered RN or RPN in another jurisdiction in Canada or the United States, you may be eligible for this new temporary class of registration. EAC registration lasts for sixty (60) days and may be extended to meet the needs of the health care system during the pandemic. There is no fee to register, no jurisprudence examination is required, and individuals can apply to this class without having an offer of employment. All EAC registrations will expire when the provincial health emergency is over.
  • Applications may be delayed due to professional conduct concerns. It is important to note that even though the CNO is expediting many registration applications, the processing of an application will still likely be delayed if there is an ongoing investigation regarding a registrant’s professional conduct.
  • Accommodations are being given to members who are the object of a complaint or formal investigation. The CNO has acknowledged that its members are facing significant pressures at this time, and that supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is its highest priority. As a result, many nurses who are already the object of a complaint or formal investigation are being told that they need not file formal responses until further notice.

Ensuring that proper steps are taken to achieve your goals is more important now than ever. If you are an RN, RPN or NP in Ontario, or are trying to become one, and have questions about any aspect of your practice, we are here to help. 


If you have any questions about COVID-19 and your practice, please contact a member of our team. For more information about dealing with COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.