Health Bulletin

This document was published under a previous government.

Ontario Providing New Prescribing Authority for Nurse Practitioners

Helping Patients Access Timely and High-Quality Care

April 19, 2017

Ontario is helping people across the province get better access to safe and high-quality health care closer to home by providing nurse practitioners with the authority to prescribe controlled drugs and substances.

Nurse practitioners are highly trained health care professionals who combine their advanced nursing knowledge with an in-depth understanding of health management, health promotion, and disease and injury prevention.

Currently in Ontario, nurse practitioners are the only class of nurses that can prescribe drugs. Nurse practitioners are also able to order certain diagnostic tests and communicate a diagnosis. Before being able to prescribe controlled drugs and substances, nurse practitioners will be required to complete additional education, and new oversight measures are being put in place by the College of Nurses of Ontario.

By providing this new prescribing authority for nurse practitioners, Ontario is helping patients benefit from faster access to:

Helping patients access timely care closer to home is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.


"Improving access to care is a vital part of our Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. Providing nurse practitioners with the authority to prescribe controlled drugs and substances is another step in this direction, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to support nursing roles and the nursing sector."
- Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"RNAO welcomes the news that nurse practitioners can prescribe controlled substances. We have been long-standing advocates of the need to expand their scope of practice to include narcotics. These medications are vital for pain management, treatment of addictions, and to help people who want access to medical assistance in dying services, which is now law. Ontarians will now experience improved access to health services."
- Doris Grinspun, Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

"On behalf of more than 3000 Nurse Practitioners and the millions of Ontarians they serve, NPAO is thrilled with this announcement. Everyday Nurse Practitioners care for people with mental health and addiction issues, acute and chronic pain, and people who require palliative care and end-of-life care. Enabling NPs able to prescribe Controlled Drugs and Substances will provide better, faster care to patients."
- Theresa Agnew, Executive Director, Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO)



For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
In Toronto, 416-314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm