Ford Budget Fails to Take Urgent Action for Nurses, Health-Care Professionals – and Ontarians, says ONA
August 9, 2022
Toronto, ON, August 9, 2022 – Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Cathryn Hoy, RN, says the government’s Throne Speech and rereleased provincial budget utterly fail to take urgent action to protect access to healthcare for Ontarians, or to include meaningful solutions to restore our health-care system and its devastated health workforce.
“Right across this province, we are seeing the results of this government’s failures regarding access to healthcare and what the shortage of nurses and health-care professionals means for our communities: Emergency Departments reducing hours or closing altogether, a long list of ICUs and other hospital units cutting back or closing service, and Ontarians struggling to get the care they need and deserve,” says Hoy. “The Throne Speech and this government pretend the crisis is a short-term issue, and says that the actions needed to address the health-care crisis have not yet been determined. The crisis is anything but temporary, and the government must wake up to that fact and listen to the solutions we have been telling them exist. The Premier continues to ignore the majority of measures ONA has called for to address the health staffing crisis. ONA is once again calling on this government to come to the table and work with us for the sake of every resident of this province. Ontarians need the government to show the same level of urgency as nurses and health-care professionals did throughout the pandemic and continue to show.”
Hoy says funding to build new Ontario hospitals will be wasted without also addressing the need to attract and retain the nurses and health-care professionals needed to staff new beds. “This government’s wage suppression legislation, Bill 124, has sent nurses and health-care professionals out the door,” says Hoy. “Repealing Bill 124 is the first step to giving our nurses and health-care professionals hope and showing them that they are valued. Repeal of this bill will keep more nurses where we need them most – caring for Ontarians. Instead, this government will spend taxpayer money fighting our Charter Challenge against the bill.”
Hoy says she had hoped that the government would have enhanced the budget since it was unveiled in early May, but there are no new urgent health-care initiatives, and specifically, no substantive plan to increase the health-care staffing that is needed now. Ontarians need the government to show the same level of urgency as nurses and health-care professionals did throughout the pandemic.
In its pre-budget submission, ONA called for a number of measures to stabilize the health-care system, including the urgent need to improve the working conditions of nurses and health-care professionals and maximize retention of existing workers, as well as provide 10 paid sick days per year for workers.
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.