Changes to Nursing Programs will Expand Profession

Minister Greg Rickford speaking at Confederation College
Minister Greg Rickford speaking at Confederation College

THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Government is making changes to permit colleges and universities to offer Bachelor nursing degree programs on a stand-alone basis. During a visit to Confederation College today,Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs said the 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.

“This new policy will allow Ontario colleges to have greater autonomy and flexibility over their programming, while maintaining excellence in nursing education,” said Minister Rickford.“Colleges and universities will be able to choose whether to deliver their programs collaboratively or on a stand-alone basis. For colleges, this will be the first time they would be able to offer the Bachelor nursing degree independently of a university partner.”

This new change will allow colleges and universities the ability to 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

“We commend the government of Ontario for recognizing the long history colleges have in providing quality nursing education,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “Confederation College is proud to have played an important role in laying the foundation for many successful nursing careers through the exceptional education we provide. The province’s decision will add new opportunities for nursing degree education for college students and support our commitment to meet the needs of employers in northwestern Ontario.”

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

“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 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.”


  • 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.


Ontario Colleges

Ontario Universities

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