Ontario budget fails the test of urgency; does not address immediate health-care system needs, says ONA

November 5, 2020

TORONTO – November 5, 2020 – The Ontario budget does not go nearly far enough to immediately address the vital issues that are needed to keep Ontarians healthy and safe, stresses the Ontario Nurses’ Association.

“We had hoped to see significant base budget increases across the board for hospitals, long-term care facilities, community, and public health,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Unfortunately, this was not addressed adequately. What the government is proposing for hospitals, for example, will not even cover existing deficits. Without a commitment to fully cover these deficits, it will be impossible to maintain health-care services and protect the workforce."

From our review, there is no new health-care funding within this budget. The health-care sector must wait until the budget in 2021 to see additional funds. Most of the health-care funding mentioned in this budget was announced by government earlier this fall.

“Without any new, immediate funding, hospitals are in a very precarious situation,” notes McKenna. “Hospitals are having to direct scarce resources to care for COVID-19 patients and manage additional stresses, such as the influenza season. We would like to have seen a bump in hospital base funding to provide them with the support they need now and in the coming months. If there is no additional funding to fill in the gaps, hospitals will have to figure out how to work within the budget provided to them by the provincial government and, we believe, with dire consequences.”

The government’s announcement last week with an increase of four hours of hands-on care for residents in long-term care was welcome news, says McKenna. “However, this budget failed to outline the details on how and when the funds to support this new announcement would come.  Funding must flow to resident care immediately.”

The money allocated down the road for health care does not address urgent needs and there are no details about implementation, such as increasing the number of health-care staff, improving patient, resident and client care, and more. “We will judge this budget based on implementation and outcomes. And, right now, we have more questions than answers,” explains 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:
Ken Marciniec kenm@ona.org | 416-803-6066