Legal Assistance Program

Legal risk is an inevitable part of nursing practice.

Ask yourself: Who will protect you, your professional reputation and your registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) if a complaint is made against you?

Will you need legal advice if you lose your job? Lawyers’ fees can range from $250 to $500 per hour or more for legal advice and representation. Participation in RNAO’s Legal Assistance Program (LAP) provides RNAO members with security and peace of mind at the incredibly low cost of $64.57 (in addition to your annual RNAO membership fee).

The voluntary LAP was established by RNAO in 1986 to assist RNAO members with certain legal problems, on a case-by-case basis, related to the professional practice of nursing (as recognized by CNO). The program provides financial support for access to legal counsel in a number of circumstances, including:

  • College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) investigations and proceedings in relation to a member’s professional practice as a result of a letter of complaint, report/self-report or other investigation
  • Members required to appear as a witness in a legal proceeding or involvement in a Coroner’s Inquest, in relation to an incident(s) which occurred in the course of nursing practice
  • Employment contract review prior to accepting a non-unionized, administrative or managerial nursing position
  • Other individual employment-related matters, such as: termination, WSIB claims and Human Rights claims

In addition to access to legal counsel, LAP also provides participants with employment relations advice, free information materials, educational presentations on legal issues relevant to nursing practice, as well as referral to RNAO and external resources which may be of assistance to members in their particular circumstances.

Over 19,000 RNAO members currently subscribe to LAP. To join LAP now contact the RNAO membership department or call 1-800-567-4527 or 416-599-1925.

If you would like more information about the Program or if you are already a LAP member and have legal concerns related to your nursing practice, please contact Mara Haase, LAP Administrator, at 416-599-1457 or toll free at 1-800-268-7199 x223.

To be eligible for assistance from LAP, a member must have been enrolled in LAP at the time of the incident(s) giving rise to the need for assistance and remain a participant in LAP continuously and without interruption from that time, up until their case is resolved. The Program is under no obligation to reimburse LAP members for legal expenses incurred where a lawyer has been engaged or retained prior to contacting the LAP Administrator. In addition, requests for assistance will only be considered for assistance which is not covered by a union or other provider or plan. See “RNAO Legal Assistance Program Policies” below or contact the LAP Administrator for more information.

Please see the events calendar for upcoming webcasts.

Archived Webcasts

Legal Assistance Program - What is it and why should I have it?
Legal Assistance Program - Violence and Harassment in the Workplace - Getting to know the legislation
Legal Assistance Program - Moving towards electronic documentation in nursing
Legal Assistance Program - Legal issues for nurse educators
Legal Assistance Program - CNO complaints and investigations

Legal Column from the Registered Nurse Journal

Different programs, different policies: Why ONA and other Unionized RNAO members should have LAP
Access to legal counsel is critical
The Risks of Leadership

Downloadable Files:
RNAO Legal Assistance Program Policies175.63 KB