Unions and the Ontario Nurses’ Association

  1. What are the differences among ONA, RNAO and the CNO?
  2. Why join a union?
  3. How are collective agreements negotiated?
  4. What types of collective bargaining does ONA use?
  5. Do nurses have the right to strike in Ontario?
  6. Where can I get copies of ONA’s collective agreements?
  7. What is ONA’s name in French?
  8. I am a RN working in Ontario. I would like my work unit to be represented by ONA. How do I do that?
  9. I am a member of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, but will be retiring in the near future. Can I maintain my ONA membership in retirement?

    Nursing in Ontario

  10. Nursing Shortage. What is it? How severe is it? How will it impact my career as a nurse?
  11. What legislation outlines the responsibilities of a nurse in Ontario? Where can I find more information about this legislation?
  12. I am a Canadian nurse outside of Ontario, but interested in coming to Ontario. Where can I get more information?
  13. I am a nurse outside of Canada. I would like to come to Canada as a nurse. Where can I get more information?
  14. Where can I find nursing jobs in Ontario?

    Salary

  15. Salary issues - how do the different sectors compare?
  16. How do salaries compare based on expertise and education versus seniority?
  17. How do union salaries compare to non-union salaries?
  18. How do the salaries of nurses in Ontario compare with those in other provinces?

    Nursing School

  19. What bursary awards are available for graduating high school students?
  20. Which schools in Ontario offer a BScN degree?

1. What are the differences between ONA, RNAO and the CNO?

The Ontario Nurses’ Association is a trade union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, and more than 14,000 nursing students, working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care, community health, public health, clinics and industry. The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing 33,000 registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is the governing body for the 150,000 registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses (RPNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in Ontario. The College sets requirements to enter the profession, establishes and enforces standards of nursing practice, and assures the quality of practice of the profession and the continuing competence of nurses.

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2. Why join a union?

Unionized jobs provide the employer with a central bargaining agent and provide the employees with protection in the workplace. Union employees can expect premium wages and benefits (such as a pension plan, medical plan and extended health and dental plans), as well as more vacation time and paid statutory holidays than their non-union counterparts. Unions work hard to ensure employers offer optimal health and safety protection for their employees.

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3. How are collective agreements negotiated?

There are two scenarios for the start of collective bargaining. One is when a trade union has just been certified and has given the employer written notice of its desire to bargain. The second is when an employer and a union are already bound by a collective agreement; in this case, either party may give notice to bargain within the 90 days before the agreement is due to expire, or during any other time period specifically set out in the agreement. In both cases, the union and the employer must meet within 15 days from the giving of notice, unless they agree to some other time period. If, during negotiations, the employer and the union cannot agree on the terms of a collective agreement, either party may ask the Minister of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will then try to help them reach an agreement. For more information on collective bargaining, see the Ontario Ministry of Labour website at and the Labour Relations Act, 1995.

There are two types of collective bargaining:

  1. Positional Bargaining (or Adversarial Bargaining or Distributive Bargaining)
  2. Principled Bargaining (or Integrative Bargaining or Mutual Gains Bargaining or IBB)

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4. What types of collective bargaining does ONA use?

ONA uses a combination of both the positional and principled bargaining processes outlined in Question 3. In the hospital sector and with the assistance of a facilitator, ONA has successfully utilized principled bargaining methodology in two rounds of central bargaining. However, when the issues to be resolved were reduced to the monetary package, the parties reverted to positional bargaining. Studies have shown that it is normal to revert to distributive bargaining when money remains in dispute as the bargaining process is built on an adversarial system.

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5. Do nurses have the right to strike in Ontario?

Hospital nurses in Ontario do not have the right to strike as they are covered under the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act. Bargaining disputes are settled through the conciliation, mediation and arbitration process; arbitrations are final and binding. Public health nurses do have the right to strike.

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6. Where can I get copies of ONA’s collective agreements?

Hospitals ONA's latest signed central hospital collective agreement is available here. The term of the contract is April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2016.

Nursing Homes ONA's latest central nursing home collective agreement is available here. (expires on June 30, 2014).

All other valid ONA collective agreements are also available on our website by sector:

Clinics & Industry

Community Care Access Centres (CCAC)

Home Care

Homes for the Aged

Hospitals

Nursing Homes

Public Health

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7. What is ONA’s name in French?

Association des infirmières et infirmiers de l’Ontario.

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8. I am an RN working in Ontario. I would like my work unit to be represented by ONA. How do I do that?

ONA's main objective is to organize registered nurses (RNs). All registered or graduate nurses and certain allied personnel, including registered practical nurses, who are eligible to engage in collective bargaining are eligible for membership.

If your work unit is already organized under a different union, you should be aware that ONA has a "no-raiding" policy. We will not assist you in decertifying your current union. If you are considering decertification, ONA suggests that you contact the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) for information.

If a work unit is currently not unionized, and a group of employees are interested in union representation, a union representative will meet and discuss the process with the group. If at least 40 per cent of the employees sign a union membership card, the union can submit an application for certification to the OLRB. The OLRB then conducts a secret ballot vote at the work site one week later. The union is successful if 50 per cent plus one of the employees who cast a ballot vote in favor of the union. The union then becomes certified to represent the employee group.

If you are an ONA member RN who also works at an non-unionized facility and would like more information, you can contact Steven Peters at 1-800-387-5580, press 5 and ext. 2304.

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9. I am a member of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, but will be retiring in the near future. Can I maintain my ONA membership in retirement?

ONA offers a retiree membership to past members over the age of 55 who have retired from their employer. The annual fee for a retiree membership is $25 and the application form for Retired Membership is available to be downloaded as a PDF file.

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10. Nursing Shortage. What is it? How severe is it? How will it impact my career as a nurse?

Here are some numbers to help put the situation into perspective:

RNs Employed in Nursing in Ontario

  • The Canadian Nurses Association predicts a national shortfall of 78,000 RNs by 2011, growing to 113,00 by 2016.
  • College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) data for 2007 show 90,233 RNs employed in nursing in Ontario.
  • Total increase in RNs employed in Ontario from 2003 to 2007 is 5,289 (84,944 to 90,233).

RN Retirement Projections

  • The Canadian Nurses Association predicts a national shortfall of 78,000 RNs by 2011, growing to 113,00 by 2016.
  • In Ontario, over 24 per cent (15,375) or almost one-quarter of employed registered nurses in 2007 are eligible for retirement at age 55.
  • The average age of RNs in Ontario in 2007 is 45.9 and has steadily risen over the years.

RN Enrolment and Graduation

  • According to the Canadian Nursing Advisory Committee, there were 12,170 admissions to basic entry Registered Nurse programs in Canada in 1990; by 2000 there were just 8,790 admissions – a 28 per cent decline. Over the same decade, the Canadian population increased by 11 per cent and the number of nursing graduates decreased by 46 per cent.
  • The number of nurses projected by the Canadian Nurses Association to graduate in Ontario increases from 2,394 in 2003 to only 3,200 annual RN graduates by 2008. This is clearly not enough to make up for population growth and RN retirement.

The Health of the RN Workforce

  • The Canadian Labour and Business Centre (CLBC, 2002) calculates Canadian registered nurses work almost a quarter-million hours of overtime every week, the equivalent of 7,000 full-time jobs over a year. Research by O’Brien-Pallas and by Shamian in 2001 suggests an almost perfect correlation between sick-time and overtime, and that overtime is highly predictive of increased lost-day injury claim rates among nurses.
  • During any given week, more than 13,000 registered nurses – 7.4 per cent of all registered nurses – are absent from work due to injury, illness, burnout or disability (CLBC, 2002). That rate of absenteeism is 80 per cent higher than the Canadian average (8.1 per cent for nurses, compared with 4.5 per cent among 47 other occupational groups).
  • Over the course of a year, more than 16 million nursing hours are lost to injury and illness - the equivalent of almost 9,000 full-time nursing positions.
  • If the rate of absenteeism among nurses were lowered to that of the rest of the labour force, some 3,500 full-time nursing positions would be regained immediately. *The Canadian Labour and Business Centre estimates the cost of overtime, absentee wages and replacement for RNs to be between $962 million and $1.5 billion annually.
  • The Canadian Nursing Advisory Committee calculates that if nurses working part-time out of necessity rather than choice had been converted to full-time in 2001, it would create 2,592 full-time positions.
  • There is ample evidence that workload, overtime and absenteeism are inextricably linked with each other and with patient outcomes. A decade of research has established that there is a direct correlation between the ratio of nurses to patients and the health outcomes of those patients.
  • For example, a 2002 study by Needleman in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that there is a direct link between the number of registered nurses and the hours they spend with patients and whether patients develop serious complications or die while in hospital. Low levels of RN staffing were associated with serious complications – complications that occurred 3 to 9 per cent more often than in hospitals with higher RN staffing.
  • Another recent 2002 study by Aiken in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Registered Nurse staffing levels have a significant effect on preventable hospital deaths among surgical patients.

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11. What legislation outlines the responsibilities of a nurse in Ontario? Where can I find more information about this legislation?

There are two pieces of legislation which apply to nurses in Ontario – the Nursing Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

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12. I am a Canadian nurse outside of Ontario, but interested in coming to Ontario. Where can I get more information?

Your first stop should be the College of Nurses of Ontario.

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13. I am a nurse outside of Canada. I would like to come to Canada as a nurse. Where can I get more information?

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14. Where can I find nursing jobs in Ontario?

There are several good starting points for finding nursing positions in Ontario.

The best way will always be networking. Talk to others in the field. Tell everyone you know that you are available and ask them if they know of any openings that would be appropriate.

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15. Salary issues - how do the different sectors compare?

Hospital nurses are paid according to the salary grid negotiated in the Hospital Central Collective Agreement. About 50,000 of ONA’s members are covered under this collective agreement. Other sectors negotiate with individual employers or with groups of employers.

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16. How do salaries compare based on expertise and education versus seniority?

Hospital nurses are paid according to where they are on the eight step grid as negotiated in the Hospital Central Agreement for the term of April 1, 2011 - March 31, 2014.

The following sets out the full-time RN base rate ranges (not including premiums) on an hourly and annual basis:

 

April 1, 2011
(Hourly)

Annual
(Yearly)

April 1, 2013
(Hourly)

Annual
(Yearly)

Start

$29.36

$57,252.00

$30.17

$58,831.50

1 Year

$29.79

$58,090.50

$30.61

$59,689.50

2 Years

$30.29

$59,065.50

$31.12

$60,684.00

3 Years

$31.78

$61,971.00

$32.65

$63,667.50

4 Years

$33.28

$64,896.00

$34.20

$66,690.00

5 Years

$35.15

$68,542.50

$36.12

$70,434.00

6 Years

$37.04

$72,228.00

$38.06

$74,217.00

7 Years

$38.94

$75,933.00

$40.01

$78,019.50

8 Years

$41.70

$81,315.00

$42.85

$83,557.50

25 Years

$42.44

$82,758.00

$43.61

$85,039.50
























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The following are the Part-time RN Salary ranges, including 9% and 13% in lieu of benefits (for members that do not participate in the pension plan):

 

April 1, 2011
(+9% in lieu)

April 1, 2011
(+13% in lieu)

April 1, 2013
(+2.75% +9% in lieu)

April 1, 2013
(+2.75% +13% in lieu)

Start

$32.21

$33.17

$32.89

$34.09

1 Year

$32.68

$33.67

$33.36

$34.59

2 Years

$33.23

$34.22

$33.92

$35.17

3 Years

$34.86

$35.91

$35.59

$36.89

4 Years

$36.51

$37.60

$37.28

$38.65

5 Years

$38.57

$39.72

$39.37

$40.82

6 Years

$40.63

$41.86

$41.49

$43.01

7 Years

$42.72

$44.00

$43.61

$45.21

8 Years

$45.75

$47.12

$46.71

$48.42

25 Years

$46.55

$47.96

$47.53

$49.28

 
17. How do union salaries compare to non-union salaries?

Non-union hospitals generally pay competitive salaries but don’t offer the protection of a union. There are very few non-union hospitals in Ontario.

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18. How do the salaries of nurses in Ontario compare with those in other provinces?

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions produces a chart that compares nurses' salaries across the province. See the chart here

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19. What bursary awards are available for graduating high school students?

The school to which you are applying is the best source of information regarding bursaries that available through their program.

ONA offers a bursary that is offered only to dependents of current ONA members. This information is available through Johnson’s Inc., the insurance company which provides benefits for ONA members.

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20. Which schools in Ontario offer a BScN degree?

Algonquin College, Pembroke

Brock University, St. Catharines

Cambrian College, Sudbury

Centennial College, Scarborough

Conestoga College (with McMaster), Kitchener

Durham College (with University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Oshawa

Fanshawe College (with University of Western Ontario), London

Fleming College (with Trent University), Peterborough

George Brown College, Toronto

Georgian College (with York University), Barrie

Humber College (with University of New Brunswick), Toronto

Lakehead University, Thunder Bay

Lambton College, Sarnia

Laurentian University, Sudbury

Loyalist College, Belleville McMaster University, Hamilton

Mohawk College (with McMaster University), Hamilton

Northern College (with Laurentian University), Timmins

Nipissing University (with Canadore College), North Bay

Queen's University, Kingston

Ryerson University, Toronto

Sault College, Sault Ste. Marie

Seneca College (with York University), Toronto

St. Lawrence College, Kingston

Trent University, Peterborough

University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa

University of Ottawa, Ottawa

University of Toronto, Toronto

University of Western Ontario, London

University of Windsor, Windsor

York University, Toronto

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