Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action


May 28, 2009




Ontario’s politicians are debating a new law this week that would expand the roles of health professionals, including nurses. Bill 179, the Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009, aims to increase access and reduce wait times by better utilizing the skills and knowledge of regulated health-care providers.


However, Bill 179 misses the mark in a crucial area. It leaves regulatory handcuffs limiting the practice of nurse practitioners unchanged.


First, the legislation restricts the ability of nurse practitioners to admit, treat and discharge patients in inpatient units in hospitals and long-term care facilities -- the same functions NPs are already authorized to perform in emergency rooms. Second, Bill 179 limits nurse practitioners’ authority to prescribe medications even though open prescribing by nurse practitioners is recognized in most other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States.


NPs must play a key role in any strategy to increase access to health services and reduce wait times. By failing to allow NPs to utilize their full knowledge, skills and expertise the Premier is leaving a valuable resource untapped.


Tell Premier McGuinty that this is an opportunity not to be missed. For our patients and for Ontario’s health-care system.


Wendy Fucile, RNAO President, called this a “golden opportunity” to improve access to care and reduce wait times, in her letter to the editor, Toronto Star, May 22, 2009. Read Wendy’s letter here.


Here’s what YOU can do.


1. WRITE TO PREMIER McGUINTY TODAY, Make sure the Premier acts on his promise to fully utilize NPs to improve access to care and reduce wait times. You can send our sample letter below as is, or modify it as you wish. Add your insights about the work nurse practitioners do every day in Ontario and in your community. Note that when you use the template below, a copy is automatically sent to Health and Long-Term Care Minister David Caplan.


2. PLEASE SHARE THIS ACTION ALERT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND ASK THEM TO WRITE AS WELL! Allowing nurse practitioners to practise to their full potential is everybody’s issue. Every email really does make a difference.