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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, Temporary, Special Assignment, Extended, Retired and Transitional. For a full description of each class of registration, please visit the CNO website.

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 seven 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 a Ontario 4-year bachelor’s degree in nursing or a practical nursing diploma
  3. Evidence of recent safe nursing practice
  4. Successful completion of the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE) or the Canadian Registered Practical Nurse Exam (CPRNE) administered by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)
  5. Evidence of language fluency in either English or French
  6. Registration or eligibility for registration in the jurisdiction of the completed Nursing Program
  7. Good character and suitability to practice

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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