As highly regulated, public-sector unionized front-line health-care providers, registered nurses are impacted by an enormous variety of news events, legislative and policy changes.
From outbreaks of infectious diseases to provincial and federal budgets, RNs are affected. ONA’s highly professional, highly educated front-line registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health professionals are engaged and knowledgeable about all the latest news and policy developments that impact the care they can provide for their patients.
ONA’s Media Room is your one-stop shop to access news, images, and FAQs. As their union, ONA speaks on behalf of Ontario’s front-line nurses and allied health professionals.
Need a front-line health-care perspective on what’s making news? ONA has a professional and responsive media relations staff who can assist you. Media Relations Officer Sheree Bond is here to help you at 416-964-8833; ext. 2430 or (cell) 416-986-8240; email: email@example.com.
ONA media releases are available on our website and distributed via Canada Newswire.
Read media releases
Charged with the role of patient advocacy, nurses know and are obliged to speak out about the impact of many news developments and policy decisions. Front-line nurses speak out on an array of issues, as found in the below link.
ONA in the News
As the voice for Ontario’s front-line registered nurses, ONA is a reliable and knowledgeable source for information. ONA is frequently quoted on policy decisions and other news developments. See the latest ONA news below:
February 5: A number of media outlets have reported that talks between ONA and the OHA have broken down (CTV News, CKVR TV, Global News Hour, CHML, CFPL AM, CJOY AM, AM 800, CJKX FM, CFCO AM, CFCO AM, CKTB, CBC Radio 1 Windsor, CFRA, CFTR, CKTB, CKNX, CJOY, CJKX, CKDO, CKLW, CHOK FM, CTV Morning Live, CFZM, Radio Canada, CHEX TV, February 5, 2018). The reports say that ONA reports that there was little meaningful progress made in reaching a new agreement, as the OHA is demanding concessions that would contribute to the shortage of nurses and directly impact patient care.
February 5: In an interview on the Rob Snow Show (CFRA AM, February 5, 2018), ONA President Vicki McKenna said that Ontario RNs working in hospitals are concerned more than anything about workload issues. Discussing the breakdown of negotiations with the Ontario Hospital Association, McKenna said that hospital nurses are usually working short-staffed and working excessive amounts of overtime while also trying to fulfill their professional standards to patients. McKenna says that the “real core issue is that there isn’t enough of us and when we have professional issues… [employers] need to pay attention to those…” The centre of any negotiations or discussions should always be patient care, she says. The OHA, for its part, tabled concessions including cuts to nurses’ health benefits, and ONA has walked away from the table. The OHA and ONA now head to arbitration.
February 6: Patients will “not get caught up” in a lingering labour dispute between ONA and the OHA (Windsor Star, February 6, 2018). ONA President Vicki McKenna said little progress was made over multiple days of negotiations and mediation, as the OHA is “demanding concessions that the nurses can’t accept.” Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj says “nurses are invaluable and deemed an essential service…” The hospital employs 1,480 RNs, and 240 RPNs. “I’m confident once the main contract is settled we’ll be able to move quickly to get a local agreement,” Musyj said.
February 6: ONA says it walked away from contract negotiations over the weekend (Welland Tribune, Global News, Stratford Beacon-Herald, Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal, CTV News, February 6, 2018). ONA President Vicki McKenna said that the OHA is demanding concessions that nurses cannot accept. Following 10 days in talks and three days of mediation, ONA said that little meaningful progress was made.
February 5: CFMJ AM (February 5, 2018) reports that “nurses…are the backbone of our healthcare system. They do so much work and so many times it seems it goes less recognized perhaps than other medical professions in the field.” Now, 58,000 hospital RNs are speaking out about the state of health-care and have walked away from the bargaining table with the Ontario Hospital Association. ONA President Vicki McKenna told CFMJ that members have identified workloads and professional issues as a priority, with many, many RN cuts contributing to excessive overtime. McKenna noted that the evidence shows that adding more patients to an RN’s workload increases that patient’s risk of suffering mortality and morbidity. “…the value of having enough nurses per patient is so important…” she says.
February 5: In an interview on the Bill Kelly Show (CHML AM, February 5, 2018), ONA President Vicki McKenna says that the breakdown in negotiations with the OHA has been frustrating. She believes that the OHA had “no intention” of negotiating with ONA. McKenna says that ONA continues to resist the “industrialization” of the health-care system, “and we will not operate with just-in-time staffing” or continue to work short-staffed on most units every day. McKenna says that nurses are working excessive overtime, which anyone who has visited a hospital recently would see clearly. ONA is trying to “make sure we have the right number of nurses and that the nurses who are working are not put in situations where they are working the hours and the workload that they are trying to juggle.” ONA members have said clearly that they cannot continue to work short. McKenna recommends that we put the patient at the forefront of decision-making, “then everybody [else]. This is a win-win for everybody…” ONA is encouraging its members to speak to their MPPs about their workplaces. “We have to stand firm on what is important, and what is important is patient care…” she says.
February 4: ONA President Vicki McKenna has told CTV News (February 4, 2018) that Ontario has the fewest number of nurses per population in the country. Talks have broken down between ONA and the OHA, with little meaningful progress being made. McKenna says that concessions being demanded by the OHA would contribute to the nursing shortage and directly impact patient care.
February 4: The Ontario Nurses’ Association says that after 10 days of talks and three days of mediation, talks have broken down between it and the Ontario Hospital Association (CFZM AM, February 4, 2018). ONA President Vicki McKenna says that Ontario has the worst RN-to-population ratio of any province in the country, and that the OHA is demanding concessions from nurses. She says the demands are disrespectful to the province’s invaluable RNs.
February 4: ONA President Vicki McKenna says the nurses’ union was hoping to reach a negotiated settlement with the OHA but talks have broken down (CFTR AM, February 4, 2018). The report says that ONA was trying to address some of the workload issues in negotiations; the number of patients is increasing and there is a need for more nurses. McKenna told CFTR that, “we have the highest injury and illness rates in workplaces…when you work excessive overtime and the hours that [nurses] are working…it’s no big surprise that we have a higher injury rate and we have people who are off ill.” McKenna says that the OHA came to the table with concessions, including cutting benefits for nurses.
February 4: ONA President Vicki McKenna has discussed the breakdown in labour negotiations with the Ontario Hospital Association and the issues facing hospital nurses with CP24 News (February 4, 2018). McKenna says the OHA is demanding concessions that will further add to a shortage of nurses and directly impact patient care. Ontario has the fewest number of [registered] nurses per capita. McKenna said that ONA had hoped that the OHA was coming to the table “to actually negotiate…that wasn’t the case.”
February 3: Public health nurses and York Region have reached a tentative deal days before a legal strike date (Newmarket Era, February 3, 2018). The Ontario Nurses’ Association said the union is recommending its members ratify the agreement. Council is expected to approve the new deal on February 15. The report notes that negotiations were “testy” before the deal was reached, with ONA President Vicki McKenna saying the drawn-out talks had left union members feeling “insulted, disrespected, disillusioned and devalued” by their employer.
February 4: Thestar.com (February 4, 2018) reports on the breakdown of negotiations between the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Ontario Hospital Association. Nurses working in overcrowded hospitals say demands for “efficiencies” will impact patients and staff. ONA President Vicki McKenna says the OHA team’s “efficiencies” in effect, mean, “work harder, faster, quicker with fewer [staff]. I have to keep reminding them to stop industrializing health care,” she said. “And our product, if you want to talk about business theories, is people. When you are caring for people, you have to look at things in a more humanized way. That is not a conversation they are willing to have with us.” McKenna says nurses will be speaking out publicly about the state of hospitals and the challenges faced by nurses and patients. McKenna says that ONA has surveyed its members and their priorities are workload and professional issues, such as job safety and patient care.
February 4: The Ontario Nurses’ Association says it has walked away from the bargaining table after 13 frustrating days of trying to negotiate a new contract for hospital nurses (CITY News, February 4, 2018). ONA President Vicki McKenna says there was little meaningful progress and the Ontario Hospital Association refused to back down from “regressive and disrespectful proposals.” Nurses’ priorities include job security, workload and quality of work-life issues. McKenna said that, “The concessions being demanded by the OHA team show that these employers are unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the shortage of registered nurses and how it diminishes the ability of front-line RNs to deliver quality patient care.” The two sides will now head to arbitration.
February 2: ONA members, public health nurses working for York Region, have reached a tentative two-year agreement (Toronto Star, February 2, 2018). The previous collective agreement expired at the end of March, 2017. ONA President Vicki McKenna said that reaching a tentative agreement “is very positive. The public health nurses want to be with the community and do their work.” Union members are expected to vote on the deal today.
February 1: The Hamilton Spectator (February 1, 2018) reports that Linda Haslam-Stroud has retired after a near-40-year career as a registered nurse and 14 years as President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association. The Spectator interviewed Haslam-Stroud about how “nurses have found their voices” and the challenges ahead for the profession. In the interview, she talked about what spurred her to become involved in her Union, about leaving her husband and children during weekdays to live in Toronto and head home just on weekends, and how “humbling” it was to be elected to represent 65,000 front-line members. Haslam-Stroud says “nurses are very professional and advocate for our patients now, and are able to have that voice for better care and for improving the health-care system.” Over the time she was president, Haslam-Stroud says the Minister of Health and Minister of Labour came to understand “that we have a lot to provide to assist them in building a strong health-care system and a dedicated workforce. Now, they are looking for our insight when they’re developing health-care policies.” Among the challenges for RNs is the erosion of RN care in the province. “When you have overcrowding in the hospitals now, that is a symptom of years of cutting the RN staff to try to balance their budgets,” she says. Haslam-Stroud says that RNs are the backbone of the health-care system, and adequate funding is going to be the number-one issue in the months ahead. “You can only go on so long with having additional patients and patients living longer with higher acuity before the bubble is going to burst,” she said. “…if you want healthy patients and if you want proactive preventing of diseases to keep patients out of hospitals, you cannot continue to try and cut the system and cut the funding.”
January 30: York Region public health nurses have a strike date of February 5 (Newmarket Era, January 30, 2018). ONA President Vicki McKenna says she is optimistic that a new contract can be reached, but drawn-out talks have left union members feeling “insulted, disrespected, disillusioned and devalued.” York Region spokesperson Patrick Casey says the region continues to place high value on the critical and important work performed daily by public health nurses. The nurses have been without a contract since last April 1.
January 25: ONA President Vicki McKenna says public health nurses from York Region are in “critical” labour negotiations on January 25 (Newmarket Era, January 25, 2018). “Today is a big day,” she said. “Today is really critical.” McKenna says she is optimistic that a deal can be negotiated, but added that “drawn-out talks have left union members feeling insulted, disrespected, disillusioned and devalued” by their employer. The two sides have had five days of negotiations and two days of conciliation. They were in mediation to try to reach a deal, as the 234 public health nurses have been without a contract since last April 1. Public health nurses run vaccination clinics, provide pregnancy counselling and prenatal support, run breastfeeding clinics and provide support for high-risk families. McKenna says the nurses “do so much. I think that people don’t realize, they really don’t realize the support that they offer and provide in our communities. They just want to be at work and they just want to be helping families.”
January 25: If new legislation is passed, thousands of Ontario nurses may be granted post-traumatic stress disorder coverage (Pembroke Daily Observer, January 25, 2018). Late last year, the Minister of Labour proposed to extend “presumptive” PTSD legislation to include up to 140,000 front-line nurses. The Ontario Nurses’ Association says that the top-five triggers of PTSD for nurses include: death of a child, violence at work, treating patients who resemble family or friends, death or injury of patients and heavy patient workloads. At the finance and administration committee meeting of the County of Renfrew last week, HR director Bruce Beakley said he would monitor the status of any legislation, noting that “we have a responsibility as an employer to provide support to that employee.”
January 8: The Victoria Hospital in London may add new psychiatric beds to a floor shared by newborns and their mothers (Woodstock Sentinel-Review, January 8, 2018). The hospital – which is part of London Health Sciences Centre – could increase the number of staffed psychiatric beds from 74 to 98. James Murray, an RN and president of ONA Local 100, says the hospital is investigating one location – the fourth-floor which is home to the maternal newborn care team. “That’s the only one they have toured,” said Murray. Hospital officials have refused to say where they may add additional psychiatric beds. Concerns that the hospital may house psychiatric patients on the maternity floor prompted some to call the Free Press. Murray said he believes any area of the hospital can be designed to create an adequate level of safety – the key is in the details, and Murray says union representatives will discuss those details with hospital officials. The new beds are to open by the spring.
January 4: Blackburn News (January 4, 2018) reports that the Huron County Health Board has signed a new agreement with Ontario Nurses’ Association members. The two-year contract includes a 3-per-cent wage increase over the course of the deal.
December 2017: An in-depth report in Hospital News (December 2017) details violent attacks on nurses and the actions being taken to stop workplace violence. The report notes that the increase in violence can be attributed to an aging population, increasing rates of dementia, lack of access to mental health resources and overcrowding/wait times. In response, the Public Services Health & Safety Association has developed an interactive website to help workplaces build a violence prevention program. There are also five Violence, Aggression and Responsive Behaviours (VARB) toolkits available. The toolkits are one of the 23 recommendations from Ontario’s Workplace Violence Prevention in Healthcare Leadership Table report. ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud said, “The Violence Leadership Table was a good first start. It is critical that we continue to build on this work, using the practical tools available to assess risk and prevent workplace violence. I applaud the hospital CEOs who have committed to using these tools and urge others to join them.”
January 3: Cindy Forster, NDP MPP for Welland, has announced she will not seek re-election in next June’s provincial election (Niagara This Week, January 3, 2018). The long-time RN and former Ontario Nurses’ Association staffer, was encouraged to run provincially by former MPP Peter Kormos. Forster was elected to Welland city council in 1994, then as mayor in 2000 and first took her seat at Queen’s Park in 2011. Forster says her husband has had health issues and the two decided it was best for her to not run for re-election.
December 28: The Kingston Whig-Standard (December 28, 2017) also noted in its year in review that ONA is calling for better protection for nurses from workplace violence.
December 30: The Brockville Recorder & Times (December 30, 2017) has featured ONA in its year in review. The report notes that staff at Brockville Mental Health Centre were disappointed with the $75,000 fine imposed on the organization in connection with the stabbing of a nurse, but that ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna noted that the fine was much higher than normal.
Behind the Front Lines
Reporters, like registered nurses, have suffered cutbacks and are under pressure to deliver. While they do an admirable job, Behind the Front Lines gives media a glimpse of the story behind the story from front-line RNs’ and allied health professionals’ view.
Read the latest issue:
In this issue:
- Long-Term Care the Focus of Media Attention
- Is Private, For-Profit Health Care Creeping In?
- More Funding, But More RN Cuts in Southwestern Ontario
- Canada’s Nurses Host Premiers in Edmonton
Read past issues:
In this issue:
- RNs per Capita: Ontario Still in Last Place
- Private Physician Payments – Columnist Blames Nurses
- Bad Hospital Discharges a Big Complaint
In this issue:
- Overcrowding in Ontario Hospitals Continues
- ONA Finds Court Decision “Sickening”
- College of Nurses Puts a Negative Spin on a Good-News Story
- First Responders Day: Most Nurses Still Excluded from PTSD Legislation
In this issue:
- Workplace Violence Continues to Make the News
- “Stalker MD Story” Misses the Biggest Point
- Sunshine List: The Meaning Behind RN Salaries
- Nurse-Artist Profiled
In this issue:
- Nurse Practitioners in the News
- Is Labour Looking at Trouble?
- Brexit Vote Impacts Patient Care
- Nurses Hoping to be Included in Federal PTSD Legislation
In this issue:
- Surge, No Surprise to Nurses
- Nurses Fear for Patient Care as FAO Releases New Report
- Subtle Campaign to Expand Privatization Continues
- RN Cuts Outrage Nurses
In this issue:
- Labour Day Coverage
- Premier’s Net Zero Announcement Too Late for Ontario RNs
- Column on Labour Law Proposed Changes is Over-the-Top
- Losing Canadian RNs: The Allure of International Nursing for New Grads
In this issue:
- The First Test of “Lori’s Law” is Followed by Ottawa Media
- Intense Interest in CAMH Trial by Toronto Media
- Firing of London nurse for patient safety advocacy backfires
- Zika Virus: Possible Patient-to-Caregiver Transmission
In this issue:
- RN cuts in Ontario get attention
- Effects of RN cuts, bed closures showing
- Workplace violence trial underscores risks nurses face
- Northern nurses celebrate Nursing Week by raising funds for the Red Cross
In this issue:
- PTSD Legislation: ONA Speaks Out About Exclusion of Nurses
- “Home Care” an Oxymoron?
- Medically Assisted Death: RNs Concerned About Liability
- ONA Representatives Travel the Province During Nursing Week
In this issue:
- 2016 Kicks off with RN Cuts
- A Spate of Violent Attacks at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
- Provincial Budget Controversy
- ONA’s “Nurses Know” Campaign Continues
In this “Year in Review” issue:
- Fair and Extensive Coverage of the CCAC Strike
- RN Cuts Continue Unabated
- No Corner of the Province Immune to Cuts
- Health Care Workplace Violence Takes Centre Stage
- Nursing School Leaders Say Regulator is Failing RNs
In this issue:
- ONA Launches “The Truth Hurts. Nurses Know” Campaign
- Workplace Violence Finally Gets Some Media Attention
- More Cuts at North Bay P3 Hospital
- Flu Season is Here and the Vaccinate-or-Mask Story is Difficult to Report
Speak to an Expert
- Patient Safety
- Labour relations
- Occupational health and safety
- Nursing in Ontario
- Health policy and economics
- Infection prevention and control
- Human rights and equity issues
- Political action; and
- Much more.
Simply contact Media Relations Officer Sheree Bond (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, or to arrange an interview with one of our experts.
ONA Fast Facts
65,000 – ONA members
16,000 – Nursing student affiliate members
63 – Number of ONA Locals
500+ – Number of ONA Bargaining Unit Presidents
ONA represents members in the following workplaces:
- Nursing Homes.
- Homes for the Aged.
- Public Health.
- Community Care Access Centres.
- Home Care.
- Family Health Teams.
- Community Health Centres.
ONA members include:
- Registered nurses.
- Nurse practitioners.
- Registered practical nurses.
- Occupational therapists.
- Radiation therapists.
- Social workers.
- Medical Radiation Technologists.
- And more.