Government of Canada announces Chief Nursing Officer for Canada

News release

August 23, 2022 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

As Canada's largest group of regulated health professionals with more than 400,000 members, nurses are critical to Canada's health care system. The Government of Canada recognizes the immense contributions and sacrifices they made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to make everyday. To that end, on February 1, 2022, the Government of Canada launched a process to reinstate the position of a federal Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) to recognize their expertise and increase their input in decisions affecting our health care system.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, is pleased to announce Leigh Chapman as the new Chief Nursing Officer for Canada. Dr. Chapman is a registered nurse (RN) who received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto's Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. She was selected as the successful applicant due to her breadth of leadership experience in varied nursing environments. Her career has included work in all domains of nursing including practice, education, research, administration, policy, and advocacy.

As Canada's CNO, Dr. Chapman will provide strategic advice from a nursing perspective to Health Canada on priority policy and program areas, including health workforce planning and stability, long-term care, home care, palliative care, mental health, alcohol and drug use, models of care, scope of practice and competencies. She will play a convening role with provincial/territorial governments along with federal health populations, the broad range of nursing stakeholders, regulatory bodies/colleges and educators on key nursing issues and will represent the Government of Canada at public forums, both within and outside of Canada.


"Improving our health care system includes addressing the shortages in health human resources we are seeing across the country. Reinstating the federal CNO recognizes the central role nurses continue to play in health care in Canada through their many contributions and expertise. Dr. Chapman will play a crucial role in stabilizing the nursing workforce, by ensuring the perspective of nurses is included at the national level, helping to shape the overall health policy work of Health Canada."

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Canada's Minister of Health

Quick Facts

  • This assignment will be for a period of two years, with the possibility of extension.
  • Canada’s first Chief Nursing Officer was appointed in 1968. In 1999, the scope of the CNO was broadened through the creation of the Office of Nursing Policy within Health Canada’s Strategic Policy Branch.
  • The CNO position at Health Canada was eliminated in 2012, at a time when the Government was realigning resources across priorities. However, in this current environment, the CNO is viewed as an important role and has been resourced accordingly.
  • On February 1, 2022, the Government of Canada launched the hiring process to reinstate the Chief Nursing Officer of Canada.

Associated Links

Backgrounder - Dr. Leigh Chapman


Dr. Leigh Chapman
Chief Nursing Officer of Canada

Marie-France Proulx
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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