Ford’s budget promises cannot be trusted to improve care in the public system, says Ontario Nurses’ Association

March 26, 2024

TORONTO, ON, March 26, 2024 – The Ford government’s 2024 Ontario budget fails to commit to the province’s public health-care system in a meaningful way and lacks any details on how the health-care funds announced will be used, says the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

“ONA was crystal clear in our pre-budget submission about what is needed to improve public health care,” says ONA Provincial President Erin Ariss, RN. “There are several actions this government could and should have taken to address the health-care crisis it has created. Instead, Ontarians will see their taxpayer money flowing to for-profit, private corporations as the public health-care system falls further into disrepair.”

The four per cent increase in hospital funding falls short on what is needed for the system to stabilize, notes Ariss. “This meagre one-year increase does not begin to address Ontario’s hospitals’ budgets, some of which are using lines of credits to pay off their debts. This is another missed opportunity for the government to do what’s right for public health care.”

ONA recommended that the government legislate safe staffing ratios to improve safe care, close the wage gap for nurses and health-care professionals working in primary care, nursing homes and home and community care, and end the reliance on for-profit clinics and nursing agencies, which are gouging taxpayers – close to $1 billion yearly – at the expense of the public system. Instead, notes Ariss, the government has doubled down on privatization.

“There are no details on how health care funds will be used, and that is the invisible fine print of budget 2024. Increased dollars do not mean value for money, better health care for Ontarians or improved working conditions for workers. Targeted investments in retention strategies and improving publicly funded and delivered health care would have enormous benefits for everyone. Front-line ONA members will continue to push back and ask that residents of this province do the same.”

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.


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