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All About CNO Registration for International Nurses

May 4, 2024

The demand for international nurses in Canada has been rapidly increasing through the years. In order to address the constant shortage of nurses, plenty of positions available for qualified candidates who wish to work internationally have opened from different health care institutions. In fact, a news release from Employment and Social Development Canada specified that the Canadian government had helped over 25,000 nurses to immigrate to the country over the past 10 years, which further emphasizes the demand for international nurses in Canada.

In this article, we will tackle everything needed to know regarding CNO registration for international nurses in order to practice and gain nursing experience in a promising new territory. From personal information to the best nursing education requirement, all the way to requisite skills, internationally educated applicants can review and take the needed steps for the CNO registration process from start to finish.

Conditions to Meet for the CNO Registration Process

According to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), those interested in becoming nursing professionals (e.g. registered nurse (RN) or registered practical nurse (RPN) in Ontario) must meet the following conditions

If you are a nursing professional trained outside of Canada, then there's a big possibility that you meet the criteria. However, you must still focus on the criteria set by the accredited institutions, such as nursing societies in each province and territory, for international-trained nurses who want to be registered in Canada.

What Degree Should I Possess to Qualify as a Nurse in Ontario?

Those who have a medical degree may be asking about being a nurse in Canada, and the quick answer to this is no. Medical professionals like medical technologists, midwives, and medical doctors are not allowed to practice as nurses even if they've had far more advanced training. All those who want to be nurses in Canada must (a) go through the proper training first or (b) show sufficient evidence that they have undergone the appropriate training before becoming registered as nurses. For further information, you can visit their official website.

What Registration Requirements Should International Nurses Submit If They Want to Work in Ontario?

Canadian nursing regulatory boards are responsible for setting the requirements for the application process of healthcare professionals, specifically registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN). For a successful application procedure, make sure that you submit all necessary documents and uphold your integrity as a medical professional by submitting all true documents, meaning none of what you submitted was falsified.

According to most registration guides, since most international nurses are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, they have to obtain a work permit to work as nurses in Canada through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which will be discussed further below. International nurses must also provide evidence of language proficiency in either English or French and meet other essential college requirements. For a more in-depth discussion on this, check out our blog post on foreign nurses working in Canada.

Create an account with the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)

The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) is the national organization responsible for gathering paperwork and evaluating international-trained nurses who are applying to work as RNs and RPNs in Ontario. This is done in order for your credentials to be converted to a North American level, and then they once again assess and compare your credentials with the Canadian norm to see if you're good for the position you are applying for. Upon the completion of your NNAS evaluation, you'll be creating an account on the NNAS application website. You must submit the following requirements:

2) Prepare the papers required by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) for verification

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the regulatory body that governs the practice of nursing in Ontario. They are responsible for setting the requirements when nurses are about to enter practice, upholding and enforcing the standards that have been established for practice, and administering a Quality Assurance Program to make sure of this.

Here are the documents that the CNO requires IENs to submit for evaluation if they're fit to practice nursing in Ontario:

3) Wait for NNAS to authenticate and verify the required documents and give you instructions for applying to CNO

NNAS needs time to make sure that the documents sent to them are legitimate and not falsified. Only then will you be given the instructions to proceed with your application. With this being said, below are the duration periods for authentication and verification of required documents:

A list summarizing the steps that IENs should follow when submitting documents for registration in CNO.

Factors that Significantly Impact Registration Speed

There are factors that can either speed up or slow down the registration of applicants. These include, but are not limited to, what are listed below:

Classes of Registration

Upon assessment, international nurses may be classified by the CNO under different classes of registration. These classes are based on a nursing professional's nursing education and type of nursing practice. Learn more about the classes of registration below:

General Class

The general class includes most nurses, such as registered nurses (RNs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs), who fall under this category. There is a list of requirements for registration, especially including the evidence of practice, which is a way to show that the nursing professional has practiced as a nurse within the last 3 years. In the general class, there is an application process, terms, conditions, limitations, and membership obligations, as well as the rules for membership maintenance.

Extended (Nurse Practitioner)

This class includes registered nurses or RNs who are allowed to practice as nurse practitioners or NPs with more educational attainments, more clinical experience, and, therefore, a wider scope of practice. The extended class also has members who are authorized to diagnose, interpret the diagnoses, perform medical operations, and prescribe medications to patients. They also have an application process, their set of terms, conditions, and limitations, as well as membership obligations like the general class.

Non-Practising Class

The non-practising class is for those who want to stay registered as nurses without needing to practice nursing in Ontario currently. Like the last 2 groups, they have terms, conditions, and limitations, as well as membership obligations. For further questions on the non-practicing class, they have a designated FAQ page on the CNO official website.

Temporary Class

This class is for those who have signed up for the general class but have failed to fulfill the requirements for education and registration. The members in this class can practice but will have to do so under certain terms and conditions set by the CNO. They must also duly accomplish an application for the temporary class apart from their application to the general class, secure a certificate of registration in the temporary class, and abide by the membership obligations for their class.

Special Assignment Class

For the special assignment class, registration is time-limited for nurses who have appointments as RNs or RPNs with a facility within Ontario approved by the designated regulatory bodies. Like the temporary class, they can also only practice within the scope of their appointment under a set of particular terms, conditions, and limitations. They also have membership obligations like the previous 4 groups.

Emergency Class

Finally, we have the emergency class, which is government-supported and CNO council-approved and orders emergency certificates for nursing professionals who are qualified enough to obtain them. For further information on the emergency class, you can visit the CNO site, as well as the terms, conditions, and limitations of this class.

A list summarizing the classes of registration of nurses assigned by CNO.

Appealing Registration Decisions

If you happen to disagree with an application-related decision, then you can file an appeal to the Registration Committee. If you still disagree with the decision of the committee, then you can send a handwritten request to the Registration Committee and the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. Note that your request for an appeal can either take place in a hearing or through a review, and the appeal must be sent to the college within 30 days of receiving notice regarding the decision of the Registration Committee.

Examinations Needed to be Taken for International Nurses Wanting to Practice in Ontario

International nurses wanting to practice in Ontario need to take certain exams to meet the registration requirements and practice nursing in Ontario. Here are some of the examinations that IENs must complete and pass to successfully be accepted and allowed to practice nursing in Ontario:

Registration Examinations

All applicants to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) must successfully complete the registration examination approved by the Council for the category to which they are applying:

Jurisprudence Examination

The jurisprudence examination administered by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) evaluates how well an individual who wants to practice nursing in Ontario knows and understands the legal framework, regulations, by-laws, and practice standards of the profession within Ontario. This assessment covers a wide range of topics, including nursing regulation, scope of practice, professional responsibility, ethical practice, and the nurse-client relationship.

Find your ideal nursing job in Ontario as an IEN with Caring Support.

Nursing Jobs Await You at Caring Support

Nothing speeds up the process for you to land your dream healthcare job in Canada than with Caring Support. We offer you the best job opportunities in the healthcare industry with our comprehensive database and our streamlined recruitment process, helping both employers and workers match and onboard faster and easier. Our protocolized systems for assessing competencies, work histories, and profile matches, especially for nursing professionals, make us stand out from the competition.

Caring Support also prioritizes user experience by incorporating a user-friendly interface, personalized job alerts, and responsive customer support. We pride ourselves on having built strong partnerships with reputable healthcare organizations and institutions, ensuring that our users have access to legitimate healthcare jobs. By choosing Caring Support, you can trust that you are working with a reliable service dedicated to connecting talented nursing professionals with fulfilling career opportunities in the healthcare field.

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About The Author
Kate Piamonte
Content Writer

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