Ontario Nurses’ Association says Toronto Rehab RN Lay-offs Are “Reckless and Foolish” as Second Wave of COVID-19 Looms

September 8, 2020

TORONTO, September 8, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) calls the decision of Toronto Rehab, part of University Health Network, to lay off registered nurses (RNs) “reckless, foolish and irresponsible.”

ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, says that, “Laying off registered nurses as the world faces a second wave of COVID-19 is not just foolish and risky but an example of poor decision-making, and very disrespectful to the front-line nurses who have been viewed as the heroes of the pandemic.”

“Employers must recognize that cutting the heart of health care to balance budgets is a false economy and begin to value the skills and expertise that RNs bring to health care,” she says. “Our RNs are dedicated to providing care that enables their patients to return to the best health possible.”

“This employer had provided notice of lay-offs earlier in the year, then delayed the cuts due to high patient volume and the need for high-quality RN care during the first wave of COVID-19,” notes McKenna. “ONA has now been notified that the hospital is proceeding with 30 full-time registered nurse lay-offs.”

Toronto Rehab says some RNs will be replaced with registered practical nurses. In other cases, RNs are being replaced with unregulated health-care providers – something McKenna says is a “recipe for disaster for patient care. Patients need the advanced skills, knowledge of registered nurses. To think that just as the second wave is likely to hit us all, this employer has chosen to have less? These RNs both provide direct patient care and are a resource for other health-care providers who need to consult. The RNs take over care when a patient becomes less stable or their acuity increases.”

McKenna says, “This pandemic clearly demonstrated the value of properly staffed health-care facilities. This employer has failed to recognize the value and need to retain its highly skilled, dedicated RNs. It’s a pity that the lessons learned during COVID-19 are rapidly being forgotten, allowing budgets to take precedence over quality care for those who need 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