Welcome to the Ontario Nurses’ Association!

ONA was founded back in 1973 by 85 independent nurses’ associations from across Ontario to fill a much-needed void: providing representation, labour relations and services for health-care professionals by health-care professionals.  

We have grown tremendously since then. In fact, ONA is now the largest health-care union in Ontario – and the only one in the province with a sole focus on health care. We are also Canada’s largest nurses’ union. 

We are proud of our progress and committed to the ongoing fight for fairness, and high-quality public health care. We are powered by our members — 68,000 nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates — who provide care in hospitals, long-term care, public health, the community, clinics, and industry. 

We’re in this together. We are one ONA.

Your Union, Your Power

A union is formed when the employees decide they want to speak with one strong, collective voice. ONA is built and led by members’ needs and priorities.  

Members are organized into more than 500 Bargaining Units in 60 Locals across Ontario. You elect your executives and representatives, who work with ONA staff to improve your working conditions and maintain your rights in the workplace.  

They also link you and your colleagues with broader membership and the Board of Directors, bringing forth your concerns and building a strong province-wide network of support. We show up together. We fight for each other and for those who can’t fight for themselves. 

Because we are a nursing and health-care professionals’ union, all our resources are devoted to advancing and supporting the interests of registered nurses and health-care professionals. We provide expert services and professional representation to members, including: 

  • At the bargaining table negotiating collective agreements in which ONA leads Ontario’s health-care sector for wages.  
  • Litigating court cases that directly affect our members – including Bill 124, pay equity, and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunals – to achieve important wins that affect our members and all workers. 
  • Fighting for members’ workplace rights and managing their grievances and arbitrations.  
  • Representing members at licensing body hearings (such as the College of Nurses of Ontario, at coroners’ inquests and more).  
  • Providing access to specialists, including experts in professional practice and occupational health and safety, who work with leaders and members to solve workplace issues.  
  • Human rights and equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression initiatives to support and find solutions to racism and discrimination. 
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and long-term disability support. 
  • Communications, government relations and mobilizing campaigns to move workplace issues forward and achieve results.  
  • Tailored education for our members; including workshops, lecturettes and more. 
  • Scholarships and bursaries for members and nursing students. 
  • Special discounts and other benefits. 

Fairness and Protection

Every day, ONA fights for a fair workplace for nurses and health-care professionals, starting at the local level. We have achieved many significant enhancements to our members’ working conditions thanks in part to our provincial bargaining processes. 

As an ONA member, you have protection at your workplace against unfair practices and unsafe work conditions. Your workplace rights are outlined in a collective agreement (or contract.) 

 Your collective agreement (a legal contract between ONA and your employer) outlines your terms and conditions of employment, including pay rates and entitlements to such benefits as statutory holidays, vacations, sick leave, short- and long-term disability, pension and mileage. It contains clauses about seniority rights, job postings, job security, hours of work and the grievance procedure (including arbitration) used to enforce collective agreement rights. Most also include unique language about professional responsibility and workload — critical tools to protect health-care professionals and patients/clients/ residents that you won’t find anywhere else.  

ONA’s collective agreements are negotiated recognizing that you work in facilities that often operate 24/7, 365 days per year. Scheduling language ensures that work schedules are more predictable and help balance your personal life, which is so important to your overall well-being. 

If you have any questions/concerns about your contract or working conditions, please contact your Bargaining Unit President.  

Taking Action

We know how tough it is on the front lines. We’ve been yelled at, humiliated and put in harm’s way. But as a powerful and mature union, we will not be silenced. We speak up where we see employer policies and government decisions that impact our ability to provide quality care. And we don’t give up. After all, when we all come together on a common issue, we’re hard to ignore. 

ONA is a platform for local action. We’re a grassroots movement. It’s how we came to be and how we grow. Our specialists mobilize and empower members in developing and executing campaigns that tackle the unique issues faced in the workplace. 

We play an important role in influencing policy and making legislative changes to improve working conditions for health-care workers. Our government relations experts arrange regular meetings with government ministers, policymakers and legislators to ensure that our voice is heard loud and clear. 

We initiate major public awareness and advocacy campaigns on issues that impact nurses and health-care professionals. Our award-winning marketing campaigns spur thoughtful discussions and actions for positive change. 

Media relations help us gain public support for staffing levels, worker and patient safety, quality patient care in our various sectors, and other topics of concern.  

Union Dues

ONA membership dues are a flat rate – a set amount that you pay monthly through payroll deductions after your first collective agreement is ratified. You can deduct union dues from your taxable income. 

 The collection of union dues is a democratic and transparent process, from start to finish. ONA members decide at our Biennial Conventions on the structure and amount of dues, along with how they are spent. 

 The services ONA provides are funded by the dues our members pay. Over the past several years, the costs of supporting our members have increased substantially. We have stepped up our work in fighting for our workplace rights, supporting anti-racism initiatives, bargaining and negotiations, litigating in courts including Bill 124, mobilizing and campaigns, professional practice issues, providing base long-term disability for members not covered by their employer, malpractice insurance, pay equity work, technology, IT supports and equipment, education, and so much more. 

 Despite rising costs and increased demand, ONA’s Local and provincial leadership are committed to ensuring there are no cutbacks to the core services and advocacy our members need and deserve. 

If you have specific questions related to dues and membership, please email [email protected].

Legal Expense Assistance Plan (LEAP)

ONA’s Legal Expense Assistance Plan was established in 1980 to help you with legal or regulatory body problems relating to your work. This includes problems that arise under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). 

 Our LEAP Team can help with the following legal issues (certain terms and limitations apply): 

  • Complaints or reports to your regulator college about your professional practice and reports about health issues like substance use disorders and mental health disorders. 
  • Appeals of regulatory body decisions. 
  • Complaints and reports to the Information and Information and Privacy Commissioner 
  • Criminal investigations arising from a job-related incident. 
  • Coroner’s investigations and inquests. 
  • Advice if you’re called as a witness in a legal proceeding. 
  • Advice about long-term care inspections. 

 All registered nurses, graduate nurses, and health-care professionals for whom ONA is the bargaining agent are covered by LEAP. Newly organized members, who are not yet paying dues, can buy coverage for a small fee. 

Liability Insurance Plan (Malpractice)

When a hospital or other health-care employer is sued by a patient or family for alleged negligence, individual nurses will often be named in the lawsuit, together with the employer and physicians. The hospital has an obligation to carry malpractice insurance covering its employees who may be sued for negligent care. 

In addition, ONA has purchased a Professional Liability Insurance Policy from Trisura Guaranteed Insurance Company (“the Trisura Policy”) for ONA members. It offers secondary coverage for ONA members in certain circumstances. The Trisura Policy is an excess insurance policy, designed to provide coverage in addition to the coverage that is carried by health-care employers where ONA is the bargaining agent. 

Malpractice insurance protects ONA members who, as a result of practising their profession, are found negligent and must pay damages. This insurance provides up to $1.5 million in coverage per incident to a maximum of $6 million per member (punitive and exemplary damages are excluded). Provided they regularly pay dues or the equivalent to ONA, all members are automatically covered (subject to the conditions and limitations of the plan). It’s one less thing on your mind during an already difficult time. 

For more information, please contact LEAP Intake at [email protected] or 1-800-387-5580.

Insurance and Benefits

As an ONA member, you have access to ONA’s benefits program through Johnson Insurance. Your ONA Base Plan is covered through your union dues ($2.50 per month), and includes: 

  • Critical Illness Coverage (CI) 
    • ONA members under the age of 75 may be eligible for a lump sum benefit payment of $3,750 for part-time/casual members or $7,500 for full-time members without any additional premium if diagnosed with life threatening cancer, stroke, heart attack, benign brain tumour, coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic surgery, occupational HIV or Hepatitis C. 
  • Long Term Disability Coverage (LTD) 
    • Base Plan disability income protection is the first step towards helping to protect one of your most valuable assets – your income! If you are under the age of 65 and you do not have employer-sponsored LTD coverage, you are covered and may be eligible for $250 of monthly LTD benefit, should you become disabled due to illness or injury. 

For more information, visit www.ona.johnson.ca or call 1-844-203-8412.

Access ONA – Member Portal

ONA has created an easy-to-use online portal for our members. Access ONA is a convenient and secure one-stop shop, where you can: 

  • Maintain your personal records and contact information. 
  • View the ONA Workshop Calendar, register for education, and print certificates for completed courses. 
  • View your current jobs and learn about your Bargaining Unit. 
  • Submit requests for documentation. 
  • Access member-exclusive forms, resources and more. 

New ONA members will receive an invitation email with a personalized link to register to use Access ONA.

If you didn’t receive an email containing your personal link to register for Access ONA, contact our IT HelpDesk at [email protected] or 1-800-387-5580, ext. 2328.

Learn More

Find out more information about ONA and the many resources available to members:  

Read Front Lines magazine, our award-winning flagship publication. Produced four times a year, Front Lines includes important updates, member stories, awards, wins and more! 

Subscribe to eNews to get the latest news on topics that matter to you, delivered right to your inbox. 

Some of our chartered local associations maintain their own websites. Check out your Local website for information about local meetings, your executive team and news that impacts you and your colleagues.  

We use social media to keep members and stakeholders informed of: 

  • ONA news, meetings and events. 
  • Ongoing campaigns and political action. 
  • Discounts and promotions available to ONA members. 
  • New publications, reports and submissions to government. 
  • and much more! 

Follow us on your favourite social media channels for the most up-to-date news and information that affects you and your colleagues.

ONA members can also join the private ONA Members Facebook group.

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