Nurses from across Ontario to celebrate Change Through Unity and Action at RNAO’s in-person 98th Annual General Meeting

June 20, 2023

After hosting its biggest annual event virtually for the past three years, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is thrilled to welcome members, international nursing colleagues and politicians to its in-person 98th Annual General Meeting (AGM) from Thursday, June 22 to Saturday, June 24 at Toronto’s Hilton hotel.

RNAO is now 50,400 members strong and counting – a membership milestone. It will honour members and the nursing profession with the AGM theme: Change Through Unity and Action.

“We’re thrilled to once again celebrate Ontario’s nurses in person,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway. “In true nursing fashion, our colleagues have confronted and adapted to challenging times with expertise, courage and compassion, always prioritizing the health and wellbeing of others before themselves. Our members haven’t let the impact of the pandemic stop them from advocating for our profession and the health of all Ontarians – and we’ve been with them every step of the way. Change Through Unity and Action highlights how nurses continue to move the needle on critical issues with a unified voice. It also looks ahead at the changes needed to end the nursing crisis,” adds Holloway.

This past year, RNAO and its members raised the profile on the many opportunities in the nursing profession, while continuing to focus on ways to retain and recruit nurses in Ontario, and advance a publicly funded, not-for-profit health system. RNAO’s recent Nursing Career Pathways report highlights recommendations for the government to build careers for nurses and strengthen the province’s health system while keeping it universally accessible and equitable for all. “RNAO is unwavering in its commitment to work with government, employers and others to remove barriers and build healthy work environments – ones that provide safe workloads, career opportunities for all nurses and competitive compensation. This, and tackling systemic racism and other forms of discrimination, is what will keep registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) in Ontario,” Holloway insists.   

“The nursing crisis continues to pose a serious threat to our health system and we commend our members for bringing evidence-based recommendations about the changes needed,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “RNAO and our members are fierce advocates for expanded participation of nurses as the solution to health system gaps. We are pleased with the increase in seats for educational programs for RNs, NPs and registered practical nurses. We also celebrate the fast-tracking of internationally educated nurses who already live in Ontario and are eagerly awaiting to join the workforce,” adds Grinspun.

“We now must ensure all nurses work to their full scope of practice. This is why RNAO insists that RNs be given the authority to prescribe tests and medications for minor ailments, so they can alleviate pressure on the health system and can improve patient outcomes, especially in primary care, home care and long-term care (LTC) homes,” urges Grinspun.

“Ontario must continue to lead when it comes to NPs,” says Grinspun, adding that “the proven results of NPs, together with the shortage of family physicians, requires speeding up team-based primary care and to fully integrate NPs in all models: NP-led clinics (NPLC), community health centres (CHC), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHAC), family health teams and other innovative models. The time for government action in this regard is long past due.”

The association is enthusiastically forging ahead with RNAO Clinical Pathways in LTC, following a recent announcement by Hon. Paul Calandra, minister of LTC, supporting the tool for Ontario’s nursing homes to promote safe, high-quality resident care and improve staff efficiency. “This is one important example of how RNAO works with the government to expand evidence-based and person-centred care, ensuring residents consistently receive the care they deserve – especially crucial given the devastation that unfolded in the LTC sector during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Grinspun. “We are also pleased Hon. Sylvia Jones, deputy premier and minister of health, in partnership with Hon. Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities, acted on RNAO’s recommendation to increase the number of nursing seats. We welcome knowledgeable, eager and enthusiastic aspiring nurses into this one-of-a-kind profession, and call for additional seats to keep up with Ontarians needs. “We look forward to hosting future nurses at our AGMs in the coming years, making nurses’ collective voice even stronger,” enthuses Grinspun.

The three-day event is free for RNAO members to attend. The agenda – available on RNAO’s AGM portal – includes:

  • the opening ceremony (June 22) featuring a lively processional; greetings from international nursing leaders; in-person attendance from Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Hon. Sylvia Jones; leader of the official opposition Marit Stiles; interim leader of the Ontario Liberal Party John Fraser; and leader of the Ontario Green Party Mike Schreiner
  • a warm welcome to 20 newly-designated local and international Best Practice Spotlight Organizations® – health organizations that have completed a rigorous three-year agreement implementing RNAO’s evidence-based best practice guidelines to improve health outcomes for patients
  • reports from RNAO’s president and RNAO’s CEO
  • review and discussion of 11 proposed member resolutions
  • the annual Recognition Awards and Media Awards ceremonies to honour exemplary nurses and journalists from across the province
  • Dr. Leigh Chapman, Canada’s chief nursing officer, will discuss her role and work at a student leadership luncheon hosted by the Nursing Students of Ontario

The AGM will end on Saturday, June 24 with a keynote panel presentation focused on health equity. Nursing leaders Dr. Shelley Evans, provincial president of RNAO’s Rainbow Nursing Interest Group; Maxine Lesage, RNAO’s Region 11 board representative and liaison to the Indigenous Nurses and Allies Interest Group; and Dania Versailles, co-chair of RNAO’s Black Nurses Leading Change Interest Group, will explore the topic “Have you ever been discriminated against?” The Q&A will outline opportunities to address racism and discrimination within the nursing profession and health system, with a focus on the Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

“Going into my second year of RNAO presidency, I am inspired and energized by our members’ unwavering commitment to advocating for what’s right and what’s needed to keep people healthy and to care for them when ill, especially marginalized and vulnerable populations,” says Holloway. “Our AGM will be a reminder of how we, as nurses, can mobilize change when we remain unified and focused on the determinants of health so no one gets left behind. Being together in person, celebrating our colleagues and sharing ideas will reinvigorate the path forward for Ontario’s nurses and their supporters – and we hope the government is taking notes to inform action.”  

For updates and the full schedule of events, visit RNAO’s AGM portal.

Members of the media are invited to attend the AGM in-person (on-site registration required). All are welcome to watch the livestream and follow the conversation on Twitter using #RNAOAGM.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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Contact info

Madison Scaini
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)