“A Devastating Day for Ontario,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association, as Treasury Board Rejects Freely Negotiated Contract for Barrie Health-Care Professionals

September 2, 2021

BARRIE, ON., September 2, 2021 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is outraged by the decision of Ontario’s Treasury Board to reject a freely negotiated first collective agreement between Royal Victoria Hospital and ONA health-care professionals.

“It’s a devastating day for Ontario labour,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Treasury Board has informed ONA and Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie that it is denying an exemption from its wage-suppression legislation, Bill 124, that both parties jointly requested. The Ford government goes further and now says that a freely negotiated settlement is inconsistent with the purpose of its likely unconstitutional legislation. ONA believes this is just another demonstration of this government’s disrespect and disregard of female-dominated health-care professionals and this supports our position that Bill 124 interferes with the right to freely collectively bargain – a key argument in ONA’s Constitutional challenge of the bill.”

McKenna says that throughout the pandemic, nurses and health-care professionals such as Registered Respiratory Therapists, Anaesthetist Assistants and other registered health-care professionals have kept the province’s health-care system from falling completely apart. “As a reward, the Ford government has clawed back any small monetary gains that have been freely negotiated,” she says. “These are vital health-care professionals and had negotiated wages that average well below the rate of inflation for four years. ONA is now working with Royal Victoria Hospital to decide the next steps; it is clear that we will now have to return to the bargaining table as demanded by Treasury Board and the Ford government’s legislation that attacks working people.”

“ONA is completely at a loss that the government has chosen to override our members’ first collective agreement, especially during a global pandemic. This fight is not over and we will continue to advocate to the Ontario government for the right of health-care professionals to their well-deserved, hard-earned and freely negotiated compensation,” says McKenna.

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: 

Sheree Bond (416) 986-8240 (cell) shereeb@ona.org