Southlake Regional Health Centre lays off 97 Registered Nurses: More than 176,000 hours of RN direct patient care lost

September 22, 2020

NEWMARKET, September 22, 2020 – During a global pandemic when registered nurses (RNs) are needed to provide front-line care, Southlake Regional Health Centre will be laying off 97 registered nurses. This works out to be more than 176,000 hours of RN direct patient care lost to cuts.

“I cannot fathom how Southlake Regional Health Centre CEO Arden Krystal can justify cutting front-line registered nurses during a global pandemic,” notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “With the second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming influenza season, which will put undue pressure on all hospitals, cutting registered nurses is completely irresponsible.”

The cuts are widespread and occurring at many busy acute care units in which patient acuity is very high. “These cuts will devastate the Newmarket community,” adds McKenna. “I would like to know what the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott thinks about these disastrous front-line RN cuts as they are happening right within her riding of Newmarket-Aurora.”

Adds McKenna: “The hospital cites its budget as the reason for the cuts and, if this is so, then the government needs to immediately step in and do an audit and prevent these layoffs from happening. These cuts follow on the heels of recent announcements of RN cuts at Toronto Rehab and Lakeridge Health. This needs to stop and stop now.”

Southlake has been plagued with many preventable issues over the course of several years. In fact, just last week, there was a court appearance regarding an ongoing workplace violence issue in which a nurse and a security guard were critically injured. Rather than complying with orders to prevent an incident like this from happening again, Southlake is choosing to fight the charges, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in the process.

“ONA members have formally notified Southlake hundreds of times over the past years about deplorable conditions in which we work,” says Bargaining Unit President Jill Moore. “Nurses are working short-staffed, but one of our biggest concerns is surge capacity. When our patient numbers increase, as they typically do during a pandemic, we often do not have enough staff resources to provide quality patient care, let alone trying to serve a population that is growing by leaps and bounds. What is most distressing is that the employer has said that these 97 layoffs are the best-case scenario. I cannot imagine what more layoffs will do for patient care.”

We would be happy to work with Southlake to come up with solutions that do not directly affect patient care, says McKenna. “I’m afraid that when these layoffs are completed, Southlake will greatly struggle to cope with serving the citizens of the Newmarket area.”

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


For more information:

Katherine Russo; (647) 539-1925