Ontario Consulting on Expanding Role of Nurse Practitioners

TORONTO — The Ontario government is starting consultations with the College of Nurses of Ontario and other health care partners on expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Allowing nurse practitioners to better use their training, skills and education will help Ontarians connect to more convenient care and help free up more time for physicians to spend caring for patients with more complicated needs.

“Our government is continuing to use every tool in our toolbox to ensure people have access to the care they need, when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By considering changes to allow nurse practitioners to provide more care to their patients, we will connect more people to convenient primary care, while reducing the need for referrals to other providers.”

Proposed changes include:

  • providing faster care for someone in cardiac arrest by allowing nurse practitioners to order and apply a defibrillator, which provides an electric shock to help restore a person’s regular heartbeat.
  • making it faster for people to receive care if their heart isn’t beating regularly by allowing nurse practitioners to order and apply cardiac pacemaker therapy.
  • help people with skin conditions and lesions such as skin tags get them removed faster by allowing nurse practitioners to order and perform electrocoagulation.
  • complete and sign mandatory blood testing forms for specific infectious diseases.

The government is also consulting on changes that would improve the end-of-life experience for families after the death of a loved one by allowing nurse practitioners to certify death in all circumstances, as well as allowing registered nurses to certify death when the death has been expected. This will help ensure deaths are certified in a timely manner to preserve dignity for the deceased and their families.

As part of the Your Health plan, the Ontario government is making it easier for highly skilled, regulated health care professionals, including nurse practitioners and registered nurses, to work to the full extent of their training and expertise to better serve the needs of people in a connected and convenient manner.

Quick Facts

  • The College of Nurses of Ontario will continue to support patient safety and quality of care by providing practice standards and setting training and education requirements, to ensure nurse practitioners and registered nurses in Ontario have the knowledge, skill and judgment needed to deliver safe patient care.
  • Since 2018, Ontario has seen a record-breaking number of new health care professionals join the workforce, adding 80,000 new nurses with another 30,000 nurses currently studying at Ontario colleges and universities.
  • Since expanding the role of registered nurses to prescribe medications, 122 registered nurses have been authorized to prescribe, after meeting specific requirements, with close to 900 others in the process of meeting education requirements for RN prescribing.


“CNO’s purpose is to protect the public by promoting safe nursing practice for all nurses: Registered Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners. Our role includes communicating to nurses and others the professional accountabilities for safe patient care, and CNO is pleased to be a key partner in ensuring that any changes to nursing practice are implemented safely. We encourage the public and system partners to take part and share their perspectives on this important consultation.”

– Silvie Crawford
Registrar/Executive Director & CEO, College of Nurses of Ontario

“NPAO applauds the government’s initiative to expand nurse practitioners’ scope of practice. These changes will enhance our ability to provide timely and comprehensive care, improving access for all Ontarians. By leveraging the full extent of our training and expertise, nurse practitioners can play a crucial role in ensuring a more integrated health system in Ontario.”

– Dr. Michelle Acorn
CEO of the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO)

“Efforts to expand the scope of practice of nurse practitioners (NPs) are both welcome and necessary. We’re pleased the government is acting on RNAO’s advice because as NPs we want and we can do more to help Ontarians with their health needs. With over two million people lacking regular access to a primary care provider, we have the education and the experience to close access gaps and deliver quality care.”

– NP Lhamo Dolkar
President, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)

“These changes will lead to a better functioning health system, faster care, and improved outcomes for persons in primary care, in long-term care, and anywhere else NPs work. An expanded scope for NPs and RN prescribing are game changers for Ontarians.”

– Dr. Doris Grinspun
CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)

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