Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


CNO’s Professional Liability Protection Requirement

The College of Nurses of Ontario requires all nurses registered to practice in Ontario to hold Professional Liability Protection (PLP) by March 31, 2014. The good news is that RNAO membership satisfies this PLP requirement.

We've listed the three ways nurses can meet the new professional liability protection requirement below, together with RNAO's comments on each of these options.

1. By virtue of membership with a Canadian or Provincial nursing association that provides protection for professional liability as a benefit of membership.

The assistance available to RNAO members from the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS), is an automatic membership benefit for all RNs at no extra charge, and satisfies the requirement. CNPS protection generally extends to all professional liability claims arising from any nursing service provided in any practice setting anywhere in Canada. Employment status is irrelevant. The nurse may be an independent contractor, an employee, or a volunteer. Claims for professional negligence can be commenced many years after nursing services are rendered. As long as the nurse is an RNAO member and duly authorized to practice nursing where and when the incident occurred, the nurse will remain eligible for assistance from CNPS regardless of when the claim is made, even after retirement. There is no deductible. RNAO members can also benefit from the full range of CNPS legal services (see for details) and call CNPS for confidential information about professional obligations and professional liability issues of concern to them.

2. Purchase a policy of insurance in which the nurse is specifically named.

The premiums for a non-group policy could cost from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of one’s nursing practice. RNAO membership is $308/year.

3. A policy of insurance obtained by an employer of the nurse which provides professional liability protection for their employees.

An employer’s insurance may not necessarily provide individual protection for its employees. Even when it does, the employer or union’s insurance may not provide professional liability protection for incidents which occur outside of the workplace, such as incidents arising from professional nursing services rendered at another employer’s or a non-unionized site, contract work, helping a neighbour, volunteering, or helping a stranger on the street. While the Good Samaritan Act may apply to some of these circumstances, a nurse could still be sued. Employer or union insurance also may not apply to claims for libel, slander, defamation, breach of confidentiality or invasion of privacy. RNAO members remain eligible for the professional liability protection offered by CNPS in these situations.

In conclusion, the professional liability protection available to RNAO members through CNPS is affordable, portable and is completely independent of your employer. And it's just one reason to join! RNAO members receive valuable educational, networking, leadership and professional development opportunities, along with a range of membership benefits and services to save money and support your nursing practice. Disciplinary assistance and employment-related legal assistance are also available through the RNAO’s LAP program.