ONA demands collaboration as nurses redeployed during COVID-19

March 22, 2020

ONA urges employers to work with us to minimize risk to patients

TORONTO, ON, March 22, 2020 – In response to the Minister’s order released last night, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is demanding health-care employers work with us to redeploy registered nurses and health-care professionals to other sites and locations within an employer, should that be necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Registered nurses and health-care workers know how to pull together during a crisis and under intense pressure. We have had lots of practice, including during SARS,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “We know that we are in a crisis and remain committed to caring for patients. If not done carefully and thoughtfully, any redeployment of nurses and health-care professionals could put both patients and front-line nurses at risk.

“In addition, employers and government must understand that our predominantly female profession must balance work and other responsibilities, including child care, every day,” she says. “It must be a priority to keep nurses and health-care workers safe and ensure that redeployment is carried out as smoothly as possible – with as little risk to our patients as possible. We are not a barrier to a well-coordinated and appropriate response to the pandemic, we are part of the solution.”

McKenna says that ONA will meet with the Ontario Hospital Association today and will urge health-care employers across the province to work with ONA, and our local leaders, as the province faces down the pandemic.

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; shereeb@ona.org