Doug Ford invoking the notwithstanding clause an extreme abuse of power, says ONA

June 10, 2021

(Toronto, Ontario) – Ontario’s nurses and health-care professionals are deeply troubled by the PC government’s heavy-handed decision to block Ontarians’ rights to freedom of speech by invoking the never-before-used notwithstanding clause.

“Registered nurses and health-care professionals have risked everything since the pandemic began, and they have so much to say about the challenges that they have experienced, why it didn’t have to be this way, and what it will take to fix it in the future,” Vicki McKenna, RN, says. “Their stories and voices must be heard, especially how Bill 124 has impacted them. I will be crystal clear to Premier Ford and all of the MPPs who will vote in favour of this clause: We will NOT be silenced.”

No Ontario Premier has ever invoked the notwithstanding clause. McKenna says, “This is an extreme abuse of power to achieve personal gain. It shows disrespect for our courts and is a violation of our charter right to freedom of expression.”

This latest government ploy is another in a long line of disrespect shown to nurses and health-care professionals who have faced serious challenges including government imposed wage cuts, layoffs, chronic understaffing, a lack of PPE and so much more.

ONA members will not be silenced and are calling on all PC MPPs to vote against this clause and defend the rule of law. Nurses and health-care professionals are sending email messages, calling MPPs, sharing information on social media, and more. ONA’s webpage,, houses actions that members and the public can take to express their thoughts on the government’s actions.

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: