WHAT SHOULD EVERY REGISTERED NURSE, PRACTICAL NURSE, OR NURSE PRACTITIONER IN ONTARIO KNOW ABOUT THE REGULATION OF THEIR WORK?
As a registered nurse, practical nurse, or nurse practitioner practicing in Ontario, your professional activities are governed by the Nursing Act, 1991, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), and the regulations and by-laws made under those Acts, and overseen by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), a regulatory body charged with protecting the public interest by, among other things, investigating complaints against its members. Information about the CNO can be found here.
What if a Complaint has been made against you?
If a complaint has been made about you to the CNO, you will receive a written copy of the complaint and have the opportunity to make written submissions to CNO’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). Your written submissions will be provided to the individual or organization that filed the complaint to respond if necessary. You may have an opportunity to make additional submissions if the CNO receives any further information from the complainant in response to your submissions. The ICRC can make a range of decisions, from taking no action against you to referring the matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. The ICRC’s decision can have a significant impact on your career and reputation, depending on what action is taken against you, if any. The ICRC’s decision may also be published on the College’s website and your personal profile. Any complaint should be taken seriously.
What is a Report of Investigation?
In contrast to a complaint, an individual or organization may provide information to the CNO about your practice or about allegations of professional misconduct without submitting a formal written complaint. When the CNO receives information in that manner, it can appoint investigators to investigate your practice and determine if you have committed any acts of professional misconduct.
Like a complaint, you will have an opportunity to make written submissions to the ICRC, which will determine what action, if any, will be taken against you. Ideally, written submissions to the ICRC should be drafted by lawyers with experience representing nurses in order to protect your rights and interests and take all possible steps to prevent the ICRC from taking action against you. Similar to a complaint, the ICRC has a number of options available when determining the appropriate outcome. The ICRC can take no action, offer advice or recommendations, issue a caution, order that you take remedial educational courses, or refer your matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. If the ICRC takes any action other than offering advice or recommendations, the decision may be posted publicly on the CNO’s website and on your profile.
Matters before the Discipline Committee of the College of Nurses of Ontario
If your matter has been referred to the CNO’s Discipline Committee, you will be served with a Notice of Hearing that will outline the allegations of professional misconduct against you. A hearing before the Discipline Committee is like a trial. If you are found guilty of professional misconduct, the Discipline Committee has broad powers to impose penalties, many of which can put your career at risk. The Discipline Committee can impose penalties such as a fine, suspension or revocation of your licence, or impose terms, conditions and/or limitations on your certificate of membership. The Discipline
Committee can also order a public reprimand or require that you complete remedial courses or work with an expert or mentor who will supervise your practice at your place of employment or within the community.
Hearings before the Discipline Committee are open to the public. Any decision or order made against you may be made public and posted on the CNO’s website, as well as on your public profile. There are often requirements that you report the decision against you, or penalties imposed to your current or potential employers for a period of time following your hearing.
AS A REGISTERED NURSE, PRACTICAL NURSE, OR NURSE PRACTITIONER IN ONTARIO, HOW CAN FRANKLIN LAW’S REGULATED PROFESSIONALS LAWYERS HELP YOU?
Whether you are a nursing professional who is facing discipline, whose capacity is in question, or who is at risk of being subject to other sanctions or conditions, it is crucial to have a trustworthy and experienced lawyer in your corner to defend your rights, licence, and professional reputation. Franklin Law’s professional regulation lawyers are well-positioned to advise you about, assist you in navigating, and representing you in all aspects of the CNO’s complaints, disciplinary, fitness to practice, and review processes. If you are in such a situation, Franklin Law wants to consult with you today.