Laura Barr played a pivotal role in the development of the nursing profession in Ontario, and since Ontario has the largest number of nurses, throughout Canada.  She began her career in Windsor, where she became chair of  RNAO’s Windsor-Essex chapter.

Barr’s vision was for nurses to function as independent practitioners, not as assistants to physicians.  It has been noted that Laura was incredibly progressive and displayed a natural understanding of people and organizational structures.


As Executive Director of The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Laura was involved in developments that continue to influence the profession today. She was involved in studying the feasibility of a college of nurses in Ontario that led to the establishment of CNO in 1963. She also played an important role in the formation of the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) in 1974. 

The Registered Nurses’ Foundation of Ontario recognized Laura Barr’s contributions to the profession by presenting her with the inaugural Honorary Life Membership in 2002.