Nursing Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 32Skip to content
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Nursing Act, 1991
S.O. 1991, CHAPTER 32
Historical version for the period February 1, 1999 to June 3, 2007.
Amended by: 1997, c. 9, ss. 1-3; 1998, c. 18, Sched. G, s. 37.
1. In this Act,
“College” means the College of Nurses of Ontario; (“Ordre”)
“Executive Director” means the Registrar; (“directeur général”)
“Health Professions Procedural Code” means the Health Professions Procedural Code set out in Schedule 2 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991; (“Code des professions de la santé”)
“member” means a member of the College; (“membre”)
“profession” means the profession of nursing; (“profession”)
“this Act” includes the Health Professions Procedural Code. (“la présente loi”) 1991, c. 32, s. 1.
Health Professions Procedural Code
2. (1) The Health Professions Procedural Code shall be deemed to be part of this Act.
Terms in Code
(2) In the Health Professions Procedural Code as it applies in respect of this Act,
“College” means the College of Nurses of Ontario; (“ordre”)
“health profession Act” means this Act; (“loi sur une profession de la santé”)
“profession” means the profession of nursing; (“profession”)
“regulations” means the regulations under this Act. (“règlements”)
Definitions in Code
(3) Definitions in the Health Professions Procedural Code apply with necessary modifications to terms in this Act. 1991, c. 32, s. 2.
Scope of practice
3. The practice of nursing is the promotion of health and the assessment of, the provision of care for and the treatment of health conditions by supportive, preventive, therapeutic, palliative and rehabilitative means in order to attain or maintain optimal function. 1991, c. 32, s. 3.
4. In the course of engaging in the practice of nursing, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to perform the following:
1. Performing a prescribed procedure below the dermis or a mucous membrane.
2. Administering a substance by injection or inhalation.
3. Putting an instrument, hand or finger,
i. beyond the external ear canal,
ii. beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow,
iii. beyond the larynx,
iv. beyond the opening of the urethra,
v. beyond the labia majora,
vi. beyond the anal verge, or
vii. into an artificial opening into the body. 1991, c. 32, s. 4.
Additional requirements for authorized acts
5. (1) A member shall not perform a procedure under the authority of section 4 unless,
(a) the performance of the procedure by the member is permitted by the regulations and the member performs the procedure in accordance with the regulations; or
(b) the procedure is ordered by a person who is authorized to do the procedure by section 5.1 of this Act or by the Chiropody Act, 1991, the Dentistry Act, 1991, the Medicine Act, 1991 or the Midwifery Act, 1991. 1991, c. 32, s. 5 (1); 1997, c. 9, s 1.
Grounds for misconduct
(2) In addition to the grounds set out in subsection 51 (1) of the Health Professions Procedural Code, a panel of the Discipline Committee shall find that a member has committed an act of professional misconduct if the member contravenes subsection (1). 1991, c. 32, s. 5 (2).
Authorized acts by certain registered nurses
5.1 (1) In the course of engaging in the practice of nursing, a member who is a registered nurse and who holds an extended certificate of registration in accordance with the regulations is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to perform the following acts in addition to those the member is authorized to perform under section 4:
1. Communicating to a patient or to his or her representative a diagnosis made by the member identifying, as the cause of the patient’s symptoms, a disease or disorder that can be identified from,
i. the patient’s health history,
ii. the findings of a comprehensive health examination, or
iii. the results of any laboratory tests or other tests and investigations that the member is authorized to order or perform.
2. Ordering the application of a form of energy prescribed by the regulations under this Act.
3. Prescribing a drug designated in the regulations.
4. Administering, by injection or inhalation, a drug that the member may prescribe under paragraph 3.
(2) A member is not authorized to communicate a diagnosis under paragraph 1 of subsection (1) unless the member has complied with the prescribed standards of practice respecting consultation with members of other health professions. 1997, c. 9, s. 2.
6. The College is continued under the name College of Nurses of Ontario in English and Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers de l’Ontario in French. 1991, c. 32, s. 6.
7. The Registrar shall be known as the Executive Director. 1991, c. 32, s. 7.
Classes of nurses
8. The members shall be divided into two classes, registered nurses and practical nurses. 1991, c. 32, s. 8.
9. (1) The Council shall be composed of,
(a) twenty-one persons who are members elected in accordance with the by-laws, fourteen from among members who are registered nurses and seven from among members who are practical nurses; and
(b) eighteen persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council who are not,
(ii) members of a College as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, or
(iii) members of a Council as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. 1991, c. 32, s. 9 (1); 1998, c. 18, Sched. G, s. 37 (1).
Who can vote in elections
(2) Subject to the by-laws, every member who practises or resides in Ontario and who is not in default of payment of the annual membership fee is entitled to vote in an election of members of the Council. 1991, c. 32, s. 9 (2); 1998, c. 18, Sched. G, s. 37 (2).
President and Vice-President
10. (1) The Council shall have a President and two Vice-Presidents who shall be elected annually by the Council from among the Council’s members.
(2) One Vice-President shall be a registered nurse and one shall be a practical nurse. 1991, c. 32, s. 10.
11. (1) No person other than a member shall use the title “nurse”, “registered nurse” or “registered practical nurse”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language. 1991, c. 32, s. 11 (1); 1998, c. 18, Sched. G, s. 37 (3).
(2) Despite subsection (1), a person may use the title “Christian Science nurse” or “graduate nurse”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language.
(3) No person shall use the title “nursing assistant” or a variation or abbreviation of it.
(4) Despite subsection (3), a member who is a practical nurse may use the title “nursing assistant” or a variation or abbreviation of it for three years after this Act comes into force.
Representations of qualification, etc.
(5) No person other than a member shall hold himself or herself out as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as a nurse, registered nurse or practical nurse or in a specialty of nursing.
(6) Despite subsection (5), a person may hold himself or herself out as a Christian Science nurse or graduate nurse.
(7) In this section,
“abbreviation” includes an abbreviation of a variation. 1991, c. 32, s. 11 (2-7).
Notice if suggestions referred to Advisory Council
12. (1) The Registrar shall give a notice to each member if the Minister refers to the Advisory Council, as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, a suggested,
(a) amendment to this Act;
(b) amendment to a regulation made by the Council; or
(c) regulation to be made by the Council.
Requirements re notice
(2) A notice mentioned in subsection (1) shall set out the suggestion referred to the Advisory Council and the notice shall be given within thirty days after the Council of the College receives the Minister’s notice of the suggestion. 1991, c. 32, s. 12.
13. Every person who contravenes subsection 11 (1), (3) or (5) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $5,000 for a first offence and not more than $10,000 for a subsequent offence. 1991, c. 32, s. 13.
14. (1) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council and with prior review by the Minister, the Council may make regulations,
(a) prescribing procedures for the purpose of paragraph 1 of section 4;
(b) permitting a member to perform a procedure under clause 5(1)(a) and governing the performance of the procedure including, without limiting the foregoing, prescribing the class of members that can perform the procedure and providing that the procedure may only be performed under the authority of a prescribed member or a member of a prescribed class;
(c) prescribing the forms of energy that a member may order for the purpose of paragraph 2 of subsection 5.1 (1) and prescribing the purpose for which, or the circumstances in which, the form of energy may be applied;
(d) designating the drugs that a member may prescribe for the purpose of paragraph 3 of subsection 5.1 (1) and prescribing the circumstances in which a member may prescribe the drugs;
(e) prescribing standards of practice respecting the circumstances in which registered nurses who hold an extended certificate of registration should consult with members of other health professions. 1991, c. 32, s. 14; 1997, c. 9, s. 3 (1).
Incorporation by reference
(2) A regulation under clause (e) may adopt by reference, in whole or in part and with such changes as may be necessary, any document or publication and may require compliance with the document or publication.
(3) If a regulation under subsection (2) so provides, a document or publication adopted by reference shall be a reference to it, as amended from time to time, and whether the amendment was made before or after the regulation was made. 1997, c. 9, s. 3 (2).
15. A person who, on the day before this Act comes into force, held a certificate issued under Part IV of the Health Disciplines Act shall be deemed to be the holder of a certificate of registration issued under this Act, subject to any term, condition or limitation to which the certificate was subject. 1991, c. 32, s. 15.
Transition before Act in force
16. (1) The transitional Council is the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario as it exists from time to time between the 25th day of November, 1991 and the day this Act comes into force.
Powers of transitional Council
(2) After the 25th day of November, 1991 but before this Act comes into force, the transitional Council and its employees and committees may do anything that is necessary or advisable for the coming into force of this Act and that the Council and its employees and committees could do under this Act if it were in force.
(3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), the transitional Council may appoint a Registrar and the Registrar and the Council’s committees may accept and process applications for the issue of certificates of registration, charge application fees and issue certificates of registration.
Powers of Minister
(4) The Minister may,
(a) review the transitional Council’s activities and require the transitional Council to provide reports and information;
(b) require the transitional Council to make, amend or revoke a regulation under this Act;
(c) require the transitional Council to do anything that, in the opinion of the Minister, is necessary or advisable to carry out the intent of this Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
Transitional Council to comply with Minister’s request
(5) If the Minister requires the transitional Council to do anything under subsection (4), the transitional Council shall, within the time and in the manner specified by the Minister, comply with the requirement and submit a report.
(6) If the Minister requires the transitional Council to make, amend or revoke a regulation under clause (4)(b) and the transitional Council does not do so within sixty days, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make, amend or revoke the regulation.
(7) Subsection (6) does not give the Lieutenant Governor in Council authority to do anything that the transitional Council does not have authority to do.
(8) The Minister may pay the transitional Council for expenses incurred in complying with a requirement under subsection (4). 1991, c. 32, s. 16.
Transition after Act in force
17. (1) After this Act comes into force, the transitional Council shall be the Council of the College if it is constituted in accordance with subsection 9(1) or, if it is not, it shall be deemed to be the Council of the College until a new Council is constituted in accordance with subsection 9(1) or until one year has elapsed, whichever comes first.
Terms of members of transitional Council
(2) The term of a member of the transitional Council shall continue for as long as the transitional Council is deemed to be the Council of the College.
(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint persons to fill vacancies on the transitional Council. 1991, c. 32, s. 17.
18. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Act). 1991, c. 32, s. 18.
19. Omitted (enacts short title of this Act). 1991, c. 32, s. 19.