RN layoffs will mean loss of core public health services for families and school-age children

November 1, 2019

WINDSOR – The Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit has issued layoff notices to nine registered nurses (RNs) from the Healthy Families and school programs. Eight positions are being eliminated but one is a job-share affecting a total of nine RNs.

“We have been told the layoffs are the result of pending provincial funding cuts. The funding was previously split 75-25 between the province and the municipality, but that funding equation is changing to 70-30. Our employer says it has been instructed to cut the budget by five per cent, and that means the loss of highly skilled and experienced public health nurses,” said Barb Deter, who represents the 89 nurses at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

“We went through a prolonged and difficult two-month strike earlier this year and thought we had moved on, but this latest announcement is devastating to families with school-age children. The notices have all gone out to the nine RNs and one clerk. We are deeply troubled by the knowledge that the layoffs are affecting front-line staff while management staff are unaffected.”

The nurses feel that the program is one of the most critical provided by the health unit, ensuring health promotion and disease prevention for families with school-age children.

“This is just another example of Doug Ford’s ‘wrecking ball’ approach to cutting much-needed programs from our public health system,” said ONA President Vicki McKenna. “This announcement is contrary to Premier Ford’s assurances that cuts would not be to front-line caregivers. It is so disheartening to see decisions being made that will cut the excellent care and services provided by our public health nurses.”

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

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For more information:

Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; melaniel@ona.org

Ken Marciniec (416) 803-6066; kenm@ona.org