Stand-alone nursing degrees at Ontario colleges will strengthen health-care training
February 11, 2020

Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, was at Georgian College’s Owen Sound Campus today to announce a new nursing education policy that will give students more choice around accessing a high-quality education to pursue a rewarding career in registered nursing.

The Ontario government is making changes to permit colleges and universities to offer bachelor nursing degree programs on a stand-alone basis. For colleges, this will be the first time they would be able to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree independently of a university partner.

“Building Ontario’s economy means ensuring our postsecondary institutions are training students for the jobs of today and the future,” said Minister Romano. “This new pathway for nursing education will offer students greater choice and make it easier for them to pursue rewarding nursing careers.”

Minister Ross Romano standing at a Georgian podium smiling

Since the collaborative nursing model was implemented in 2000, postsecondary education and health systems have grown and evolved. Many colleges, including Georgian, now have experience in offering stand-alone degree programs in other areas of study. And both colleges and universities are able and willing to offer their own degrees independent of a partner institution.

This new policy will expand choice for students and give institutions greater autonomy and flexibility over their programming, while maintaining excellence in nursing education. Institutions will be able to choose whether to deliver their programs collaboratively or on a stand-alone basis.

“This will give Ontarians the opportunity for more choices, while ensuring we maintain the highest quality nursing workforce,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Nurses play a vital role in the delivery of health care as we continue to build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of patients.”

Group shot of Linda Franklin, Colleges Ontario; Minister Ross Romano; John Pickering student; MaryLynn-West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian; Hon. Bill Walker

Providing students with the option to complete their nursing degree program in one community reduces the costs for students and government and makes nursing programs more attractive to many.

“This announcement today is an important step forward in ensuring communities, such as the ones we serve in central Ontario, have the exceptionally talented degree nurses who are so integral to Ontario’s health-care system. For the first time, someone dreaming of becoming a degree nurse will have access to a high quality program, without having to move to the GTA or beyond,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College. “I know I speak for our college, our Board of Governors and Chair Brian Davenport when I thank the government for making this important policy decision so colleges throughout Ontario can deliver degree nursing programs.”

The new model will also create a diverse nursing workforce that can respond more effectively to the needs of communities and patients.

“We have heard that students entering nursing programs wish to complete their studies right here at home,” said the Hon. Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. “This announcement is incredibly important to rural areas like Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound to encourage more local students to enter nursing which will also significantly benefit our local hospitals.”

Minister joins other dignitaries and students in Nursing lab at Owen Sound Campus