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The Canadian Association for Occupational Health Nurses


A Brief History of COHNA 

Occupational Health Nurses across Canada met informally since at least 1980. In 1986 the National Association of Occupational Health Nurses (NAOHN) was formed. The Constitution and By-laws were ratified in 1987. The aims of this organization were to: 


  • Support the concept of establishing and maintaining standards of occupational health nursing practice

  • Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns of occupational health nurses nationally

  • Raise the profile of Occupational Health Nurses at both the provincial or territorial and national levels

  • Speak with a national voice on issues of occupational health and occupational health nursing.

As recently as 1992 there were 2650 members of NAOHN. In an effort to improve international recognition and identification a new name changed was proposed at that time. The Board's decision was to rename the organization to the Canadian Occupational Health Nurses Association Inc. (COHNA/ACIIST). A new set of Occupational Health Nursing National Practice Standards were developed and adopted in 1994. These standards were most recently revised in 2003 and can be viewed HERE. Today, COHNA is comprised of current members of every provincial occupational health nurses association. Each association pays an annual membership fee to COHNA/ACIIST and selects one voting delegate (a.k.a. provincial director) to represent the provincial membership on the Board of Directors. 


The Objectives of COHNA are to:

  • Improve the health and safety of workers by speaking with a national voice to influence health and safety regulation and legislation

  • Advance the profession by providing a national forum on the exchange of ideas and concerns

  • Promote national standards for occupational health nurses and enhance the profile of occupational health nurses at provincial/territorial, national, and international levels

  • Contribute to the health of the community by providing quality health services to workers and courage continuing education, and ensure the certification process meets COHNA/ACIIST standards. 


COHNA membership is automatically included in the annual dues paid by regular and affiliate members of MOHNIG. Members gain access to a number of benefits including applications or nominations for awards and bursaries for continued professional education and recognition for excellence in care. 

Every two years nominations for Provincial COHNA Director are announced and the position filled. The current COHNA Director for MOHNIG is Ashley Kushnir who accepted the role in 2016. Ashley represents MOHNIG at COHNA national conferences, regular board meetings and other events across Canada. She reports back to the group on a regular basis with updates and insights. An important priority for MOHNIG is to coordinate and support's COHNA's primary objectives (see above). If you're already a member of MOHNIG please read the latest report from the COHNA Director HERE.

To learn more about COHNA and what it has to offer OHN professionals in Manitoba please visit the COHNA website. 

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