Ontario Nurses’ Association Calls for Action Now to Stop Workplace Violence at Southlake Regional Health Centre

October 29, 2019

TORONTO, October 29, 2019 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling for immediate action to stem workplace assaults on nurses and health-care providers at Southlake Regional Health Centre.

“It’s been more than nine months since a registered nurse was critically injured in the workplace, and despite the great lengths ONA has taken to work with this employer, it has yet to implement meaningful and concrete changes,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “It is urgent that this hospital resolve our most pressing concerns to keep our members – and their patients – safe. The time for talking has passed. The time for action is now.”

On January 17, a registered nurse suffered critical injuries when she was attacked while working at Southlake Regional Health Centre. A security guard was also attacked and sustained injuries. ONA has since tried to work with Southlake management to ensure that substantial safety measures were put in place; however, there has been no resolution to date.

“There should be no question that the employer needs to do everything it can to ensure its staff are safe at work, says McKenna. “That is the law and it is very clear. Not only does the employer need to step up, it is also the duty of this government to hold the employer accountable, and we are appalled that it has not done so to date.”

She notes that the clock is ticking for the Ministry of Labour to lay charges against Southlake. This year, Southlake and the Ministry of Labour attempted to shut down an appeal filed by ONA regarding the orders written by the Ministry against the hospital, saying they were inadequate to address workplace violence. The Ontario Labour Board supported ONA and has allowed the appeal to go forward.

“The government needs to demonstrate that it will allow its inspectors to fully enforce the law through prosecution, rather than just have them issue orders,” believes McKenna. “Our nurses are being put in danger because this employer has violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act. We know what needs to be done to keep nurses and their patients safer. Our nurses go to work each day to care for patients, not to become patients themselves.”

ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

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For more information:

Katherine Russo (416) 964-8833, ext. 2214; katheriner@ona.org