Ontario Offering Greater Choice for Nursing Students

Published on February 11, 2020

New Policy Empowers Institutions to Offer Nursing Degrees Independently

The Ontario government is making changes to permit colleges and universities to offer Bachelor nursing degree programs on a stand-alone basis. For colleges, this will be the first time they would be able to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree independently of a university partner.

Today, February 11, 2020, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, was at Georgian College to announce a new nursing education policy that will give students more choice around accessing a high-quality education to pursue a rewarding career in registered nursing.

"Building Ontario's economy means ensuring our postsecondary institutions are training students for the jobs of today and the future," said Minister Romano. "This new pathway for nursing education will offer students greater choice and make it easier for them to pursue rewarding nursing careers."  

Since the collaborative nursing model was implemented in 2000, postsecondary education and health systems have grown and evolved. Many colleges now have experience in offering stand-alone degree programs in other areas of study. And both colleges and universities are able and willing to offer their own degrees independent of a partner institution. This new policy will expand choice for students and give institutions greater autonomy and flexibility over their programming, while maintaining excellence in nursing education. Institutions will be able to choose whether to deliver their programs collaboratively or on a stand-alone basis.

"This will give Ontarians the opportunity for more choices, while ensuring we maintain the highest quality nursing workforce," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Nurses play a vital role in the delivery of health care as we continue to build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of patients."

"This is an important step forward in ensuring communities, such as the ones we serve in central Ontario, have the talented nurses who are so integral to Ontario's health care system," said MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College. "I want to thank the government for making this important policy decision so colleges throughout Ontario can deliver degree nursing programs."

"We have heard that students entering nursing programs wish to complete their studies right here at home," said the Hon. Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. "This announcement is incredibly important to rural areas like Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound to encourage more local students to enter nursing which will also significantly benefit our local hospitals."

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.

Quick Facts

  • To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario), students must obtain a BScN degree.
  • Most institutions in Ontario currently offer nursing programs for future registered nurses through a collaborative partnership.
  • 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, while continuing to equip students with the skills and training necessary to meet the standards of care Ontarians deserve from our health care professionals.

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