Nurses, Please Participate in First-Ever Workforce Census – Your feedback will help inform meaningful change in health system

By Colleen Parette
Nurses, Please Participate in First-Ever Workforce Census – Your feedback will help inform meaningful change in health system

(TORONTO, Ont. — Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024) The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is asking Ontario’s nurses to participate in a first-of-its-kind census.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) launched its first Workforce Census. The census, which is being sent to about 200,000 nurses in the province, includes questions that will provide CNO with key insights into both the demographics of Ontario nurses and their experiences.

“The census is an opportunity for Ontario’s registered nurses to share their experience within the health care system,” said Brent Knowles, CNO’s Director of Analytics and Planning. “It will also provide us with a baseline to track progress toward advancing more equitable and inclusive policies.”

The Workforce Census, which has three parts, asks nurses questions about their identities; nursing practice and employment; and their experiences in the nursing system and with CNO.

CNO knows that nurses have different experiences at work and with their regulator based on their identities. The census allows CNO to understand more about these experiences, including barriers and discrimination, by asking nurses to share information around how they self-identify.

“CNO is using the highest standards of confidentiality and privacy to conduct the Workforce Census,” added Knowles. For instance, nurses will not be asked to provide their name or registration number, and any responses cannot be linked back to them.

“The data we collect will provide CNO and our system partners, including decision-makers in the health care system, with the information we need to improve nurses’ experience and patient safety,” said Sandra Porteous, CNO’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We believe this is an important step toward creating meaningful change.”

To create the census, CNO collaborated with valuable partners. We developed all questions in partnership with community leaders and experts in diversity, equity and inclusion who specialize in collecting data in health systems.

CNO would like to thank the Black Nurses Task Force, Canadian Black Nurses Alliance, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, and the Pan-Canadian Association of Nurses of African Descent (Ontario Black Nurses Network and Canadian Black Nurses Network) for their support.

“It was very exciting to participate in developing the survey since it needs to be done,” said Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite, RN, MN, PhD, Co-Chair of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s Black Nurses Task Force and Past-President of RNAO. “There is a great need for this kind of data to make changes to address racism, exclusion and lack of support in the system.”

CNO will use the results to inform its diversity, equity and inclusion activities in the future. “Developing the Workforce Census is an opportunity for CNO to learn and improve,” explained Porteous. “We will continue to apply our learnings as we develop future iterations of the census.”

“CNO taking this step is an example for other organizations,” added Cooper Brathwaite, who is also a Member of the Order of Canada, recipient of the Order of Ontario and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. “I am encouraged that CNO is collecting this information and sharing it with other organizations. Having this data will support changes and make a difference.”

Nurses have until Thursday, March 7, 2024, to complete the Workforce Census. For more information, visit


About the College of Nurses of Ontario

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) protects the public by promoting safe nursing practice.

CNO is the authoritative source of information for nursing statistics in Ontario. Collecting and analyzing data about nursing registration is one way CNO achieves its purpose to protect the public by promoting safe nursing practice.

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