KAWARTHA LAKESThe Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says its pre-budget submission outlines nine specific solutions to fix the nursing and healthcare professional staffing shortages plaguing Ontario’s healthcare system.
“Our nurses and health-care professionals are beyond overworked, burnt out and continue to suffer moral distress as COVID-19 continues,” ONA President Cathryn Hoy, RN, says. “Short staffing may not allow us to deliver the care our patients, residents and clients need and deserve. ONA has concrete solutions and actions this provincial government could choose to take right now – and we expect government to adopt them to help to rebuild the health system.
“Bill 124 must be repealed today,” she says. “This government’s wage suppression legislation is a large part of the disrespect of nurses that is fueling an exodus from the profession. Nurses and healthcare professionals have suffered long enough under this discriminatory legislation and it’s time for Premier Ford to listen to our more than 68,000 nurses and healthcare professionals and repeal this once and for all.”
The COVID-19 pandemic – combined with Bills 175 and 195 passed by this government – have been the breaking point for many nurses and healthcare professionals. There’s been a domino effect of unmanageable patient assignments that have increased overtime, extreme stress, and burnout in addition to managing health and safety protocols. “Any short-sighted budget decisions that are made by the Ford government will be bad news for the health of Ontarians,” notes Hoy. “ONA has provided nine strong recommendations that will begin to rebuild health care so that patients, residents and clients can access the care they deserve. The money is there – Premier Ford simply needs to direct it to frontlines. We urge him to begin to work collaboratively with ONA, for the well-being of all Ontarians.”
There was no mention of bringing back the nurses who had been fired for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
The province’s health minister, Christine Elliott announced that the government will send in nurses trained internationally to address the shortages. Ontario is also considering a new requirement for hospitals that could force them to rehire unvaccinated workers although that has not yet been done.
The majority of hospitals in Ontario currently mandate vaccination for all staff, though the province allows employers to use regular testing as an alternative to inoculation.
These requirements led to a number of workers being fired.
A copy of ONA’s pre-budget submission can be found here.