Learn about Bill 7, ONA’s actions to date and how you can take action against the bill.
On August 18, 2022, the Ford government passed Bill 7, which fundamentally changes the way seniors, patients with disabilities and those with diverse mental health needs are treated in our health-care system. Under this new legislation, which took effect on September 21, Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients can be coerced into long-term care (LTC) homes that are not of their choosing and without their consent. If patients refuse to move, hospitals will charge $400 per day that they remain in the hospital.
ONA is adamantly against Bill 7 because it removes patients’ basic right to consent, can result in worse health outcomes for vulnerable patients, and does not address the root causes of the health-care crisis in Ontario, which is primarily understaffing of nurses and health-care professionals.
ONA, other unions and advocacy groups have spoken against this bill at every possible stage, however the government has fast-tracked the bill, shortened debates and skipped committees, therefore removing opportunities for public and stakeholder consultation.
What is wrong with Bill 7?
- Bill 7 takes away a patient’s right to consent because it forces Care Coordinators to determine their eligibility, access personal health information, apply to and submit applications to a LTC home, then proceed with a bed offer without the patient’s consent.
- ALC patients can be moved to a LTC home that is up to 70 km away from family and loved ones, or up to 150km away if they live in northern Ontario. If there are no LTC homes with short waitlists or idle beds in northern Ontario, a Care Coordinator can move an ALC patient even farther.
- Patients who refuse to move to a LTC home through this process will be charged $400 per day that they remain in hospital. For many patients, this cost is unaffordable so many will feel obligated to move to a LTC home.
- Many ALC patients are vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities or individuals who have diverse mental health needs. By moving them far away from their support systems and into homes without their consent, they will be at a greater risk of worse health outcomes and may find themselves back in the hospital.
- Bill 7 does not address the root issues of the health care crisis, which is severe underfunding and understaffing of nurses and health-care professionals.
How does this impact me as a Care Coordinator or health-care professional?
The government is putting you in an impossible position where you must:
- Determine a patient’s eligibility, apply to and share the patients’ application with LTC homes and proceed with a bed offer without a patient’s consent;
- Choose between following government legislation and regulations and your moral values and licensing requirements to seek a patient’s consent; and
- Work in conditions where you do not have safe and adequate staffing ratios to support additional patients and their complex needs.
Many patients, substitute decision-makers and families will be frustrated, scared and distraught by this bill and may misdirect these feelings towards you. This adds to moral injury and burnout. This wrongheaded bill should not be shouldered by hard working and caring frontline workers like yourself.
What is ONA doing to push back against Bill 7?
- Despite the Ford government’s tactics to ram this legislation through the legislature, ONA has spoken out loudly against it and raised members’ concerns. Read ONA’s statement here: https://www.ona.org/news-posts/20220826-statement-bill-7/
- Since the government bypassed public hearings and consultations, the Ontario NDP held an Emergency Hearing on Bill 7. ONA, alongside other unions and advocates spoke in opposition to the bill and highlighted various member concerns. (Upload video: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fju2w0emgryu4a8/AACSKMo9TALMPUDCc-G5U7aia/22-08-29-LTC%20emergency%20hearing-dj%20sanderson.mp4?dl=0)
- ONA is sounding the alarm so that the public is aware of this cruel and unjust law by doing media interviews and taking out ads in the Toronto Star (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/6245aba0249d9c2c073c4fcc/t/6324908bfc611d050d0920f5/1663340683493/ONA-TorontoStar-09-17-22.pdf) and Hospital News (September) (October)
- ONA has reached out to the College of Nurses of Ontario and other regulatory colleges to better understand what Care Coordinators and other health-care professionals should do when transferring an ALC patient to a LTC home without consent.
What can I do to fight back against Bill 7?
- Check out ONA’s Toronto Star ad opposing Bill 7: https://www.facebook.com/OntarioNurses/photos/a.10150618932877394/10160207366332394/.
- Sign the Nurses Fighting For Change petition (https://www.nursesfightingforchange.ca/mailer) to call on your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Health Sylvia Jones and Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra to implement ONA’s demands to end the staffing crisis and rebuild our public health care system.
- Share your concerns about how this law is impacting you and your patients with your Bargaining Unit President or share anonymously here: https://www.nursesfightingforchange.ca/shareyourstory