Ontario Nurses’ Association deeply troubled by government privatization announcement

August 18, 2022

Says no initiatives will urgently repair the nursing crisis

Toronto, ON, August 18, 2022 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is deeply troubled by the spate of health-care announcements from the government today that outlines major privatization plans, including conducting thousands of surgeries in private hospitals.

“This is a blatant move that will line the pockets of investors, nothing more,” notes ONA President Cathryn Hoy, RN. “The evidence is clear: health-care privatization provides worse health outcomes to our patients, and has much higher overhead costs which will be paid by taxpayers. Ontario is deep-diving into privatization that will only benefit shareholders.”

Hoy also notes, “Today’s government announcement is nothing more than shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Placing patients into ‘vacant’ long-term care beds and ‘alternative health facilities’ is another disaster waiting to happen. As we have witnessed over the past two-plus years, our long-term care system is fraught with significant challenges, including nurse and health-care workers’ staffing. Adding more patients and residents will do nothing but create additional chaos.

“Sending frail patients to long-term care facilities that are not within their communities will cause more harm than good. These patients need the support and dedication from their families and caregivers. If patients are hundreds of kilometres away from their loved ones, they can succumb to significant emotional stress.”

It is also puzzling that the government specifically outlined an initiative to support Emergency Department physicians, but there was nothing about nurses. “Dozens of emergency departments were closed over the past few weeks due to a shortage of nurses. The government missed a huge opportunity here to bolster nurse compensation as a key to retention and recruitment to curb additional closures. Many physicians have voiced their support in increasing nurses’ compensation as a strategy. Again, the government ignored nurses,” said Hoy.

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.