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Entry to Practice Requirements

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the regulatory body for nursing practice in Ontario.

The CNO regulates nursing to protect the public interest and sets requirements to enter the profession, establishes and enforces standards of nursing practice, and assures the quality of practice of the profession and the continuing competence of nurses.

In Ontario, nursing is categorized in two groups: Registered Nurse (RN) and Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

There are six classes of registration: General, Extended, Temporary, Special Assignment, Emergency Assignment and Non-Practicing.

Registration Requirements

To practise nursing as an RN or RPN in Ontario, internationally educated nurses (IENs) must hold a current General Certificate of Registration with the CNO. To become eligible for General Class Registration, IENs will need to meet the following eight registration requirements:

  1. Proof of Canadian citizenship, Permanent Residency or authorization to work in Canada.
  2. Completion of a nursing program that is equivalent to an Ontario 4-year bachelor’s degree in nursing or a practical nursing diploma.
  3. Evidence of nursing practice in the category for which the IEN is applying within the 3 years prior to issuance of a Certificate of Registration.
  4. Successful completion of the NCLEX-RN for those applying for RN, or the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE) for those applying for RPN.
  5. Successful completion of the RN/RPN Jurisprudence Examination.
  6. Evidence of language proficiency in either English or French.
  7. Report past offences, findings and other specified matters.
  8. Meet College requirements related to health and conduct.

For further details, please visit the College of Nurses of Ontario website.

How the Access Centre Can Help

The Access Centre within HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency can assist internationally educated nurses on their path to practise by providing one-on-one advisory services including:

  • information sessions
  • supportive counselling by appointment via telephone, in-person or Skype, and
  • on-site reference materials


If you have previously registered as a client of the Access Centre and are seeking services offered to registered clients or have questions regarding any aspect of the licensure process, please call 416-862-2200 ext 1 or toll free 1-800-596-4046 ext 1 or e-mail AccessCentre@HealthForceOntario.ca.

If you are not a registered client of the Access Centre and would like detailed information on the licensing process for internationally educated nurses, please register online.

Information Sessions

Information sessions bring together groups of internationally educated health professions with a common goal. These sessions focus on various aspects of the registration process. Learn more.

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