ONA Says Brockville Court Decision Leaves Nurses Unprotected from Violence

April 26, 2017

BROCKVILLE — The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is disgusted at a court decision released on April 25 that found the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre guilty of only one of five charges in a case where a registered nurse was stabbed multiple times.

The employer was found guilty of failing to reassess for the risk of violence at its Brockville site under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“We’re shocked the employer was not convicted on charges of failing to take sufficient precautions and implement measures and procedures in a case where one of our members was so seriously injured,” said ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN.

The case stems from an incident in 2014 in which a registered nurse was stabbed numerous times in the head and neck by a patient. Since the incident, ONA has successfully appealed the non-issuance of orders written by the Ministry of Labour and successfully fought an attempt by the hospital to quash orders to take measures to keep forensic unit nursing staff safe.

“ONA is unrelenting in its efforts to push employers and government to eliminate violence in our workplaces, to protect nurses and the patients we care for,” says McKenna. “The employer has spent significant taxpayer dollars fighting against registered nurses who are continually at risk of violence.”

Workplace violence has been increasing in Ontario’s health-care sector, and ONA officials have been appalled at the lack of effort on the part of health-care employers to take action to keep their front-line caregivers safe on the job. At the Brockville site, several serious violent incidents have occurred in the same forensics unit where the RN stabbing took place.

“Until government and courts begin to hold senior health-care facility officials accountable, we will continue to see workplace violence escalate. This is an issue that must be taken seriously. Nurses should not have to fear for their lives while providing the care our patients need and deserve.”

ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as almost 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

For more information:                      Ontario Nurses’ Association

Sheree Bond Cell: (416) 986-8240; shereeb@ona.org

Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; melaniel@ona.org