Ontario nurses to celebrate successes and share stories of impact at RNAO’s 99th AGM

June 18, 2024

Nurses from across Ontario will join their colleagues and elected officials at the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario's (RNAO) 99th Annual General Meeting (AGM) to celebrate successes and solve challenges. Registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students will come together to share their experiences and impact during the AGM, held Thursday, June 20 to Saturday, June 22 in downtown Toronto.

The three-day event, titled Nursing: Celebrating successes, solving challenges, kicks off with remarks from provincial political leaders and international nursing colleagues to recognize the extraordinary contributions of nurses to the profession and Ontario’s health system. RNAO will also honour top nurses and leading media coverage of health issues at this year’s Recognition Awards and Media Awards ceremonies. “AGM is our biggest and most lively annual celebration. It provides nurses with the opportunity to network, inspire and look ahead at what we have accomplished together with our professional association, and the work that remains ahead,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway.

Among the highlights Ontario nurses are marking: the government’s introduction of RN prescribing (called for by the association since 2012), the increased use of NPs in all sectors, and substantial increases in nursing program educational seats. “RNAO’s strong collective of more than 51,650 RNs, NPs and nursing students is making strides for all nurses by promoting practice that is grounded in evidence and influencing public policy that benefits all, leaving no one behind,” says Holloway.

RNAO is also showcasing the successes of its Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) Program, marking its 25th year, and its Best Practice Spotlight Organization® (BPSO®) Program in its 21st year. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of RNAO’s Long-Term Care Best Practices Program. “BPSOs commit to implementing and sustaining recommendations outlined in RNAO’s more than 50 evidence-based guidelines, and the results speak volumes for patients, families, and communities as well as health teams, systems and organizations,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, founder of the BPSO and BPG programs. This year’s AGM will welcome 11 newly-designated BPSOs, including four foundational Ontario Health Teams and several international organizations.

In keeping with its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in nursing, health and health care, RNAO is introducing a Knowledge Keeper to its board of directors. The Knowledge Keeper will help inform priorities related to Indigenous health and guide the association’s work towards truth and reconciliation. In addition, RNAO’s partnership with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to collect race-based data is bearing fruit. In February 2024, the CNO initiated a Workforce Census to collect extensive equity-related data from more than 30,000 nurses. This data will inform equitable and inclusive policies, crucial for retaining nurses and ensuring they feel safe and respected.

Formal and informal discussions at AGM will also cover RNAO’s work on social and environmental imperatives in collaboration with civil society coalitions. Notable successes: the introduction of a universal, single-payer national pharmacare program; increases to federal health transfer payments; major federal investments in housing; and a critical step toward addressing the climate crisis through an emissions cap for the oil and gas sectors. Ongoing challenges include nurse staffing shortages, the expansion of for-profit care, growing homelessness, and the impacts of hate and discrimination targeted at trans and non-binary people.

“While we celebrate successes, we must also explore how we have tackled and will continue to tackle challenges. One urgent example: the toxic drug crisis that is killing so many in our province. We remain laser focused on demanding safe supervised consumption sites for all communities in need because harm reduction is health care,” says Grinspun.

RNAO’s AGM will also welcome incoming president Lhamo Dolkar, RNAO’s first practising NP president, as Holloway completes her two-year term as president and transitions to the role of immediate past-president. “I am honoured to undertake the once-in-a-lifetime responsibility to represent RNAO’s strong, influential voice of RNs, NPs and nursing students,” says Dolkar. “I look forward to working collaboratively with RNAO’s membership and my colleagues on the board of directors to continue amplifying nurses’ voices and mobilizing change as we approach the association’s 100th anniversary.”

On the final day of RNAO’s 99th AGM, nurses will participate in a town hall dedicated to sharing stories that highlight nurses’ profound values, rich experiences and significant impact on patients/clients, families, communities, colleagues, health systems, RNAO and more.

Highlights of the three-day event include:

Thursday, June 20, 6 – 9:30 p.m. ET

  • Opening ceremonies featuring remarks from provincial elected officials and international nursing colleagues
    • Premier Doug Ford (video remarks)
    • Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones (video remarks)
    • Minister of Long-Term Care and RN Natalia Kusendova-Bashta
    • Culture Critic and Women's Issues Critic for the Official Opposition, Ontario New Democratic Party, Dr. Jill Andrew
    • Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party Bonnie Crombie
    • Deputy Leader of the Ontario Green Party Aislinn Clancy
    • Dr. Amelia Latu Afuhaamango Tuipulotu, chief nursing officer, World Health Organization (video remarks)
    • Dr. Pamela Cipriano, president of International Council of Nurses (video remarks)
    • Dr. Sandra C. Garmon Bibb, president of Sigma International (written remarks)
  • Ceremony to celebrate the 11 newly designated BPSOs
    • Greetings from Michelle E. DiEmanuele, secretary of the Ontario cabinet, head of the public service and clerk of the executive council
    • Remarks from Dr. Karima Velji, chief of nursing and professional practice, and assistant deputy minister of health

Friday, June 21, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET

  • RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway and CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun will deliver their reports
  • Results of One member, one vote will be announced
  • Consultation session of the 2024 proposed resolutions to guide the work of RNAO
  • Leadership luncheon hosted by the Nursing Students of Ontario interest group: Living EDI in All Pillars of One’s Life, with Deputy Minister of Health Deborah Richardson
  • Introduction of RNAO’s 2024-2025 board of directors, including incoming president NP Lhamo Dolkar and outgoing president Dr. Claudette Holloway who will become immediate past-president
  • President’s Banquet (6:30 – 9:30 p.m. ET), featuring the Recognition Awards and Media Awards ceremonies (note: some Recognition Awards will be presented during the day on June 21)

Saturday, June 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET

  • Closing keynote presentation: Town Hall – Nursing Leaders’ Stories
    • Moderated by RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, panelists will share stories about overcoming challenges, living fulfilling nursing moments and embarking on inspiring journeys:
      • ​​​​​NP Lhamo Dolkar, RNAO president
      • Dr. Claudette Holloway, RNAO immediate past-president
      • RN Cyril Lee Turley, first RN prescriber graduate, Manitoulin Island
      • NP Melissa Germann, Mohawk Woman, NP De Dwa Da Dehs Nye Aboriginal Health Centre 
      • Nursing student perspective Tania La Fleur, RPN, new RN graduate
    • RNAO members Nevine Bekhit, Sallie Hammond and Fatima Raza will share their stories on how they have impacted patients, families and communities

Members of the media are welcome to attend in person (Toronto’s Hilton hotel, 145 Richmond St. W.) or watch the livestream on RNAO’s AGM portal.

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 X (formerly Twitter)FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

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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)