"Hello nursing students..."

Almost all nursing students in the province are automatically affiliate members of ONA. If you are studying nursing at a college or university in Ontario, you are most likely an affiliate member of ONA and have the right to participate in the activities of your union including education workshops and membership meetings.

Advocacy for Clinical Placements

With COVID-19, the issues experienced by nursing students with clinical placements have reached a boiling point – and issues have boiled over in some places.

We hear your concerns. Virtual placements and labs cannot replace in-person and hands-on experiences. You, as nursing students, need to practice your nursing skills in various health-care settings. You need to be prepared to enter the workforce. This is an imperative and a priority for health human resources due to COVID-19.

Together, we are fighting for:

  • Immediate action to ensure nursing students can safely access in-person clinical placements. We want government to learn from best practices in schools where students are completing in-person clinical placements, including the following key considerations:
    • Access to PPE, including N95 respirators;
    • Access to a fulsome orientation that covers rights and responsibilities in the clinical setting and when caring for highly infectious patients;
    • Guaranteed sick days as schools should not penalize students that need to quarantine; and,
    • Reassignment options for students who are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 (i.e. students who are immunocompromised).
  • An increase in financial supports for nursing students adversely impacted by emergency orders and/or delayed graduations, including more Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) grants.

We are actively raising these issues with:

  • Minister of Health Christine Elliott
  • Minister for Postsecondary Education Ross Romano
  • Provincial Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Michelle Acorn

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Take action

ONA staff are available to support nursing students who are interested in meeting with their Members of Provincial Parliament to push for action and build greater awareness of the challenges facing nursing students’ clinical education, and the implications for workforce preparedness and the future of the nursing profession. Contact onamail@ona.org.

Government Submissions

Supporting Colleges to Offer Nursing Degrees Independently

ONA released a submission supporting a proposed regulatory change from the College of Nurses of Ontario authorizing approved colleges to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree independently of a university partner. We also recommended that approved colleges be required to have a robust plan to safely meet the demand for in-person clinical placements. Click here to read ONA’s submission.

Media Statements

Clinical placements for nursing students

ONA calls on the provincial government to fix nursing students’ clinical placements which have been cancelled due to the pandemic. ONA President McKenna emphasizes that “Workplaces must be given the green light now to open up to train nursing students to give them the hands-on experiences they need. If PSWs are able to go into workplaces to be trained, so should nursing students.” Click here to read ONA’s media statement.

ONA Education

Nursing student affiliate members are encouraged to participate in the free education offered by ONA. Check out the workshop calendar to find out what’s being offered and when you need to register. You should register for workshops in the same way that all ONA members do, by contacting the Membership Education and Events Team (MEET) prime.

Government Announcements of Interest for Nursing Students

Jobs for nursing graduates

This fall, the government announced $18 million for Ontario’s Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which provides full-time salary and benefits for over 600 nurses with a focus on recruiting in areas of need such as long-term care homes and acute care settings. To learn more, see page 28 of this PDF file.

Funding for mental health supports for students

In October 2020, the government announced an investment of $19.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-21. Funding will support several student initiatives, including many online supports and helpline services. Learn more here.

ONA and CFNU Scholarships

The Ontario Nurses’ Association Scholarship Fund assists students in nursing programs in Ontario. Up to nine scholarships at $1,000 each are available each year. ONA will also select one nursing student to receive a $2,000 ONA scholarship, known as the “Reese Fallon Memorial Scholarship.”

The CFNU Scholarship Fund is intended to assist students in accredited nursing education programs throughout Canada. It is hoped that students who avail themselves of these scholarships will show leadership within the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association and ONA. ONA is entitled to one of the ten $1,000 student scholarships awarded each year. Subject to the ongoing availability of CFNU support, ONA will select one student per year to receive the CFNU scholarship.

Click here to learn more about scholarship opportunities and the application process.

2020 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2020 scholarship winners! Select a name below to read their winning essays.

CFNU Scholarship: Nimrut Sahota

ONA Reese Fallon Memorial Scholarship: Nicholas Lambert

ONA Scholarships:

Alana Lipcsik
Ansa Elias
Antoinette Ayoub
Daenera Morton
Jakob Scott
Katie Bethune
Mackenna Ferreira
Maria Nechifor
Sierra Martin

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Comments & Suggestions

Please share your thoughts and suggestions about what ONA can do for you by emailing president@ona.org.

To contact the Ontario Regional Director for the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association, email ontario@cnsa.ca.