Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Aug. 23: Federal government appoints new chief nursing officer

RNAO applauds the federal government for reinstating Canada’s chief nursing officer (CNO) and appointing Dr. Leigh Chapman to the role. 

RNAO has been at the forefront of discussing the position and its reinstatement since former prime minister Stephen Harper removed it 10 years ago, as outlined in iPolitics’ story. “Canada would be a healthier country if nurses and nursing had a voice in our federal government,” RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun and then President Morgan Hoffarth outlined in an Aug. 27, 2020 letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In its 2021 federal election platform, RNAO called for the next elected government to reinstate the CNO position, especially give the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable and underserved populations. On Feb. 2, 2022, Prime Minister Trudeau answered RNAO’s call and reinstated the position – a win for all Canadians who access health care.  

In an Aug. 23 media release, RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway says “Dr. Chapman is a well-known RNAO member and an outstanding choice to inform federal health human resources (HHR) policy. Chapman’s expertise as an RN in various roles and sectors is matched only by her incredible compassion…We commend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos for taking this important step. RNAO has advocated for the reinstatement of this role since it was eliminated under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

Please join RNAO in congratulating Dr. Chapman on Twitter as she takes on her new role as a key voice for nursing. Tag @RNAO and @LeighChappy in your post to ensure visibility. 

The appointment comes on the heels of a meeting Premier Doug Ford held with his Maritime counterparts on Aug. 22 to discuss challenges facing the health system. RNAO continues to call on the federal and provincial governments to focus on retention and recruitment of nurses to get Canada’s health system back on its feet. RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun says the prime minister should increase federal transfer payments to the provinces with strings attached to ensure investments are made to improve HHR policy.

For RNAO’s full comments, please read the media release.

Last Updated: