Media Statement: New Contract Decision for Victorian Order of Nurses Fails Care Providers and Their Clients
December 14, 2023
TORONTO, ON. – Approximately 200 Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) members employed by the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) have been assigned a new contract in an arbitration decision. The decision amounts to a wage cut, in real dollars, even as Ontario patients, residents and clients suffer due to an historic health worker shortage.
“This arbitration decision fails health-care professionals providing vital care to VON clients who rely on them in their homes and communities,” says ONA President Erin Ariss. “It’s already hard enough for Ontarians to get high-quality health care and support. This contract decision will do nothing to retain our experienced and skilled VON care providers – especially with a severe health-care labour shortage.”
The arbitration decision assigned wage increases of 1.5 per cent and 2.0 per cent for 2023 and 2024, respectively. This amounts to a real wage cut after inflation and cost-of-living increases. It is far below the increases assigned to nurses in the hospital sector, raising fears that the wage disparity could result in serious staffing shortages.
“Our nurses and health-care professionals at VON go above and beyond to provide a wide range of specialized care services that support Ontarians where they want to be – in their homes and communities,” says Ariss. “VON nurses and health-care professionals deserve better wages that reflect their specialty skills and education. We need to retain them so that they can continue to provide the timely and appropriate care their clients need.”
ONA and the employer were unable to reach a negotiated agreement during bargaining, resulting in another round of bargaining being forced into arbitration. The previous contract that expired in March of this year was also decided by an arbitrator.
“ONA members are sick and tired of employers failing to negotiate fair contracts with nurses and health-care professionals at the bargaining table. We’re putting them and the government on notice that this is just the beginning of our fight back for equity and better staffing for our clients.”
ONA is the union representing 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing students, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.