meeting with the Ontario nurses association
In May, we had a fascinating meeting with Doug Anderson of the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA)! The ONA, one of our great sponsors, represents over 68,000 registered nurses and healthcare professionals as Ontario’s nursing union. It has been a busy year for the ONA, with the nurses they represent working tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, much of our discussion focused on the pressing, pandemic-related issues facing the nursing profession in Ontario. This includes issues such as ensuring adequate PPE and PPE directives, fighting for fair compensation and wage increases for nurses, and advocating for improved conditions and more full-time staff in long-term care homes.
Prior to our meeting with the ONA, I’d always been curious about the different functions of the three major nursing-related bodies in Ontario: the ONA, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), and the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). Mr. Anderson explained to us the CNO is the regulatory college, acting to protect the public, and RNAO is the professional body, and the ONA is the labour union. Mr. Anderson explained that Ontario is unique from most other provinces in that the professional body and the labour union are separate organizations.
We also discussed another pressing issue: scope of practice. In Ontario, we have three designations for nurses: Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Registered Practical Nurses. Each level of licensing requires different lengths of training and certification. The challenge for the ONA and other nursing organizations in Ontario is navigating the varying scopes of practice that come with each of these designations.
Thank you to Mr. Anderson for taking the time to meet with us and discuss the nursing profession in Ontario, and to the ONA for their continued, generous support of the OLIP program!