Ontario Offering Greater Choice for Nursing Students

Published on February 12, 2020

Ontario Offering Greater Choice for Nursing Students

New Policy Empowers Institutions to Offer Nursing Degrees Independently


Mississauga – The Ontario Government is making changes to permit colleges and universities to offer Bachelor nursing degree programs on a stand-alone basis. This new nursing education policy will give students more choice about where they can access high-quality education to pursue a rewarding career in registered nursing.

Since 2000, a collaborative nursing education policy required that Ontario colleges and universities partner to offer Bachelor degree programs for registered nursing. Since that time, post secondary education and health systems in the province have grown and evolved. Many institutions have experience in offering degree programs in other areas of study on their own. With this new change, colleges and universities can now apply to offer nursing education for future registered nurses as a stand-alone degree, subject to necessary approvals, including the College of Nurses of Ontario and quality assurance processes.

“Safeguarding Ontario’s competitiveness and building Ontario’s economy means ensuring our postsecondary institutions are training students for the jobs of today and the future,” said The Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “That is why Ontario is introducing a new pathway for nursing education, to offer greater choice for students.”

"As a Registered Nurse who has completed a second entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I welcome this announcement! This new pathway gives more choice for nursing students while empowering them to access high-quality education as they enter a very rewarding career and become active contributors to Ontario’s healthcare workforce and economy. I was fortunate to take my own post-graduation emergency room nursing diploma at Humber College and I can attest to the fact that colleges not only offer excellent academic programs, but also hands on practical learning and are centres of employment, economic growth and community."

Maintaining excellence in nursing education continues to be a priority for Ontario. The government will require that all institutions that desire to have a stand-alone nursing program for future registered nurses submit both a joint dissolution plan to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and a separate business case in support of the new program. In addition, colleges would be required to have their proposed new stand-alone program receive Minister’s consent under the Postsecondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000. New programs will also need to be approved by the College of Nurses of Ontario as set out in regulations made under the Nursing Act, 1991.

By having these safeguards in place, Ontario is ensuring we maintain excellence in nursing education, while expanding choice for students and providing greater autonomy to institutions.



  • To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario), students must obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing.


  • Except for Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, which have independent nursing programs, all other institutions in Ontario offer nursing programs for future registered nurses through a collaborative partnership.


  • Since the collaborative nursing education model was implemented in 2000, postsecondary education and health systems have grown and evolved. Many colleges now have experience in delivering and managing degree programs.


  • Successful implementation of this new policy is dependent on the Ministry of Health working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to amend a regulation made under the Nursing Act, 1991.


  • Providing institutions with the option to continue a collaborative partnership or offer a stand-alone program for future registered nurses allows greater flexibility in meeting particular needs in local communities, while continuing to equip students with the skills and training necessary to meet the standards of care Ontarians deserve from our healthcare professionals.



MPP Kusendova and her RN Colleague.

Premier Ford and MPP Kusendova visiting the brand new Emergency Department at Etobicoke General Hospital.

MPP Kusendova with her RN Colleague.






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