Long-Term Care Registered Nurses Working in Unfathomable Conditions, says Ontario Nurses’ Association

April 15, 2020

Staff need immediate access to proper level of PPE to stop the spread to vulnerable residents

TORONTO, April 15, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) states that the conditions under which registered nurses and health-care professionals are working in long-term care homes are “unfathomable.”

“As the media has noted, dozens of long-term care facilities across Ontario are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks and resident deaths,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Our hearts go out to the residents and their families, and to the staff who provide the day-to-day care – and who consequently become very close to their residents. Our nurses and all health-care workers in this sector are doing the very best they can, even as dozens of them have become infected themselves.”

Long-term care homes were understaffed before the pandemic and are now in a crisis. ONA has been calling for changes and personal protective equipment for all workers since the pandemic began. ONA will continue to call for action until government acts to protect some of our most vulnerable Ontarians.

Among the changes ONA has called for:

  • Immediate access to appropriate personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, when caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive residents – if staff are not safe, neither are residents
  • An immediate strategy to separate COVID-19 residents from non-COVID-19 residents – and the separation of staff caring for each group – to prevent the contamination of PPE and decrease the spread inside long-term care homes.

ONA had been calling for part-time and casual long-term care staff to be prevented from working in more than one facility by increasing part-time workers’ hours to full-time, or paying for lost wages. ONA is pleased that the province has heard this call and acted upon it.

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 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.


For more information:

Sheree Bond (416) 986-8240; shereeb@ona.org