News Archive 2021 Q1

Posted March 29, 2021


Ontario Nurses’ Association


Dear ONA member,

Last week, the Ford government unveiled its 2021 provincial budget. We were hoping to see some significant investment in immediate COVID-19 relief for our members, but unfortunately the budget fell flat, failing to offer relief to front-line nurses and health-care professionals.

While the budget did provide bricks-and-mortar funding for long-term care and a 3.4 per cent funding increase for hospitals, no monies have been set aside for health human resources to staff the buildings. It is unclear if there is funding to attract and retain nurses and health-care workers; if not, there will not be a stable workforce. Ontario has a nursing shortage. More than 17,000 positions need to be filled in this province to bring it up to the Canadian RN-to-population ratio average. Ontario needs to stabilize nurse staffing in our health-care facilities, and the Ford budget is silent on specific measures to do that.

As a strong supporter of not-for-profit health care, we would have liked to have seen more funding to enhance non-profits. Instead, the budget allotted more funding for more nurses and personal support workers for retirement homes, which does nothing to address the urgent long-term care RN staffing issues. Given our many years of long-term care advocacy work urging stable and consistent funding, this budget does very little immediately to address this vital issue.

And, we had hoped to see significant funding for paid sick leave for workers. Every Ontarian needs and deserves paid sick leave, which would ensure that those who cannot work from home can stay home when ill. Despite receiving federal funds for COVID-19 relief, the government continues to spread that contingency funding over multiple years, when it could be used now to cover the immediate costs of rebuilding capacity in our health-care system.

If ever there was a lesson to be learned from COVID-19, it is that starving our health-care system and public health units of funding and staff has real consequences. Ontarians, our nurses and front-line health-care professionals have paid dearly for this during the pandemic. Our home-care system has suffered, and monies could have been used to shore up services for seniors. We should have learned the lessons of the past, from SARS, yet there is nothing in the budget about implementing the precautionary principle to keep staff or patients, residents and clients safe.

This Ford budget came up short on the issues that directly affect you, our members. We were hoping for some light and hope at the end of this tunnel, but what we got in return is nothing that substantially addresses our urgent concerns.

Be well and be safe,

Vicki McKenna, RN

News You Can Use

Join us for an Isolation Pay and Sick Pay Phone Zap on April 8!

ONA Locals 75 and Local 34 are hosting a Phone Zap on isolation pay and paid sick days. All nurses and health-care professionals from all Locals are invited to join to take action together where you will call and email the Ford Cabinet and opposition party leaders to demand isolation pay and paid sick days now! Click here to register.

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Attention northern Ontario nurses: Take a survey regarding mental health: Researchers from Laurentian University are conducting a study to explore the mental health of RNs and RPNs in northern Ontario working during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This study aims to understand the experiences of nurses, their support needs to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, and its consequences. Visit this link for more information and to participate.
  • Bargaining updates: Hospitals, nursing homes and the Victorian Order of Nurses are currently in central bargaining. Several updates have been shared with ONA members. Click here to read them, and to find out the next steps.
  • Sign up for ONA’s tailored health-and-safety eBulletin ONA has launched On The Safe Side, our new, tailored health-and-safety eNewsletter that addresses topical issues that affect you in your workplaces. Click on this link to sign up. On The Safe Side is subscriber-based only, so you must register to receive the quarterly eNewsletter.
  • Join us on the ONA members-only Facebook group: ONA launched this group to create more spaces for our members to share ideas and engage with one another and ONA on issues that affect us all. More than 1,200 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. To join, please click here and complete the two mandatory questions AND agree to the group rules. See you online!
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.
Ontario Nurses' Association
Hi ONA member,

Join the Ontario Nurses’ Association Isolation Pay and Sick Pay Phone Zap!

This Phone Zap will be hosted by ONA Locals 75 and 34 on Thursday, April 8 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm.

Click here to register now.

Nurses and health-care professionals continue to be at risk of contracting COVID-19. There is no end in sight to this pandemic and its variants. Routinely, you and your coworkers are exposed to confirmed and suspected cases of the virus. Vaccines do not make you immune to contracting or transmitting the virus.

If you do not have symptoms, nurses and health-care professionals are unable to access pay for self-isolation.

Some employers are paying but this may end because of the lack of guaranteed government funding.

When part-time and casual nurses and health-care professionals get sick with COVID-19, they do not have access to paid sick days. Workers compensation is a complicated process; coverage is often disputed, and payments delayed. Employment Insurance coverage is not enough.

No nurse or health-care professional should have to experience personal economic hardship for caring for their patients.

The participation of every ONA member in the April 8 Phone Zap is urgent. Premier Doug Ford is not listening to nurses and health-care workers. You can change that.

You need to hold the Ford government accountable for ignoring the personal economic hardship you are enduring as the heroes of this pandemic. The Ford government refuses to pay nurses and health-care workers to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19 when you have been exposed to confirmed or suspected cases. Staying at home saves lives.

When you join with nurses and health-care professionals from across our union, to be united, as one voice, in demanding isolation pay and paid sick days for all nurses and health-care professionals, the Ford government will not be able to ignore your demands.

I am asking you to exercise your power as nurses and health-care professionals from bargaining units and locals across our union by taking action together.

You will call and email the Ford cabinet and opposition party leaders to demand isolation pay and paid sick days now!

Don’t hesitate, register here now:

What is a Phone Zap?

You will need access to a telephone and a computer. You will be given scripts to call and email members of provincial parliament (MPPs) to demand isolation pay and paid sick days for nurses and health-care professionals. Training will be provided in the first 30 minutes and we will take action together for the next hour.

Register now through Zoom.

Together, we can make a difference.

In solidarity,


Cathryn Hoy, RN
First Vice-President
Political Action & Professional Issues
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)

#ProtectNurses #ProtectHealthcareWorkers #ProtectPatients #IsolationPay #PaidSickDaysSaveLives #PaidSickDays

Posted March 19, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

While this past year in Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) sector has been devastating, we are hopeful and optimistic that the tragedy in LTC and the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission’s work will be the turning point for positive and sustainable change for nurses, health-care professionals and most importantly, for the care we can provide our residents.

The facts are crystal clear. More than 3,700 residents in long-term care have died due to COVID-19. Hundreds of ONA members working in long-term care became ill. Eleven dedicated workers have died, including one of our own members, Brian Beattie, RN.

ONA advocacy continues

The pandemic has been an unprecedented experience for ONA’s long-term care members. Whether it was sounding the alarm on health and safety and infection prevention and control risks, demanding access to essential personal protective equipment, or addressing concerns regarding the directive to work for one single employer and fighting to keep our members’ pay whole, ONA has spent the last year ensuring LTC members were and continue to be heard and are supported in this global challenge.

As a union that is firmly grounded in advocacy for our members and for patients, residents and clients, ONA set out to examine the circumstances surrounding the failures in the long-term care system. We heard first-hand from our members, who recounted horrific and heartbreaking stories, their experiences unveiling deplorable conditions and situations. I thank all LTC members — and our members from other sectors who were redeployed to long-term care — for your extraordinary commitment and dedication to your residents. Your strong voices have helped to lead ONA’s work in trying to instill changes in long-term care.

We took these findings and listened to our members’ voices. ONA produced detailed submissions and multiple reports for the Commission. A high-level executive summary outlines the main themes from our reports and offers next steps for changes needed in long-term care. You can find all of ONA’s reports and submissions on our website here. In addition, a report that was commissioned by ONA and authored by SARS Commission expert Mario Possamai is also available on this page.

Most importantly, in ONA’s submission to the Commission, we provide recommendations that — we hope — will lead to concrete changes that long-term care so desperately needs for the health and safety of our members and their residents.

After decades of advocating for change, through countless inquiries, commissions and hearings, ONA truly remains optimistic that the type of tragedy we have seen during the pandemic will never be allowed to happen again.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted March 10, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

One year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, signifying a public health crisis that would eventually touch more than 210 countries and 110,000,000 people worldwide. More than two million people have tragically died due to the coronavirus, including one of our own members, Brian Beattie.

This past year has marked an extraordinary period in the life of ONA and our members, as well as all health-care providers around the world. We have seen many issues in finite detail and have repeatedly called on the government and employers to resolve them so that our members and patients, residents and clients can be kept safe. This pandemic laid bare the issues of nursing recruitment and retention challenges, long-term care underfunding and the urgent need for sick pay for health-care workers. ONA has been vocal with these issues and so much more with government and health-care stakeholders.

Earlier this week, CFNU President Linda Silas and I co-wrote an opinion editorial, which was published in the Toronto Star outlining the tragedy of the pandemic, the toll that it has taken, and solutions that will allow for improvement going forward . I hope health-care stakeholders will take a close look at and apply our recommendations.

Watch a behind-the-scenes peek at ONA during the past year

ONA has produced an engaging three-part web series called the Coronavirus Chronicles. In the articles, we tell our stories using inspiring video interviews and photo essays. Visit to read part one about the challenges ONA has faced and how they were addressed. This series will be sure to uncover many behind-the-scenes issues that ONA has had to deal with on behalf of our members.

Wear white in support of health-care workers

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is marking the anniversary of the pandemic by asking for a show of support. CFNU is inviting the public to wear white on March 11 to show their support for the nurses and health-care workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since the beginning. Please wear white to acknowledge the first anniversary of COVID-19 and for those who died or became sick due to the coronavirus.

Participate in a candlelight vigil and share tributes on social media

In a display of solidarity, ONA and several health-care organizations, including the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, WeRPN, the Ontario Hospital Association, and the Ontario Medical Association, are asking people to light a candle as a sign of remembrance on March 11 and to share tributes on social media using the hashtags #Candle4COVID and #TogetherWeCanDoIt. You can download social media shareables from the RNAO website here.

I want to express my heartfelt admiration and gratitude to the dedicated nurses and health-care professionals working in Ontario’s health-care system. This past year has been nothing short of harrowing and your commitment is truly inspiring. I thank you for all that you have done for your patients, residents and clients.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted February 26, 2021


Ontario Nurses’ Association


Dear ONA member,

With the Ontario legislature resuming just last week, it is already clear that Premier Doug Ford’s government continues to push its agenda – and does little to improve Ontario’s health-care system or COVID-19 response efforts.

As ONA members, some of our most urgent issues continue to be downplayed by this government. Top of mind are the supports needed to mitigate COVID-19.

Access to N95s still being denied

Last year, ONA took the lead to lobby for and help develop Directive 5 so that any health-care worker who asks for an N95 respirator would receive one. We continue to see resistance from employers, which is completely unacceptable and goes against government directives. If you have asked for an N95 and you were refused by your employer, please tell ONA. We are here to help you.

Since the pandemic began – and even before it was formally declared – ONA has continuously lobbied Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) to recognize that COVID-19 is transmitted by airborne transmissions, hence the need for fitted N95s or better. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centres for Disease Control have acknowledged aerosol transmission, so why the resistance from the CMOH? We have and will continue to raise our concerns at every opportunity about the stubborn lack of recognition.

I continue to be frustrated and angry with the lack of action by the Ford government to protect health-care workers and their patients, residents and clients. Enough is enough.

Ontarians need paid sick days

I am dumbfounded that many Ontarians do not have paid sick days, especially during a pandemic.

Both the provincial Liberals and NDP have called for paid sick leave in legislation with no uptake from Ford’s PCs. ONA supports the call for paid sick leave for all workers. The NDP’s proposed Bill 239, the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, would allow workers to take the time they need to get well while also helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This would go a long way in Ontario’s prevention efforts. We endorse this Bill and encourage all MPPs to consent to it.

It is unbelievable that health care workers in many places still do not have access to paid self-isolation. ONA members need payment for self-isolation in cases of asymptomatic exposure and funding to cover the lost wages. I applaud Hamilton Health Sciences and others, which recently announced that it will temporarily provide self-isolation pay retroactive to August 2020. This is excellent news for our members and I strongly encourage other workplaces to follow its lead.

Members’ inspiring advocacy efforts

ONA members have recently initiated some amazing advocacy and political action. More than 400 Care Coordinators – about 81 per cent – at the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN) developed and signed a letter to Minister of Health Christine Elliott urging her to take immediate action to change the Bill 175 regulations that threaten publicly delivered home and community care. Our dedicated members in the Central East LHIN identified that proposed regulations for Bill 175 will be detrimental to those who rely on the vital work that Care Coordinators do every day for their clients. I am proud of our courageous members who are standing up and having their voices heard. And I know that our 68,000 members support them in this important action.

A dedicated group of ONA Local 26 members spearheaded an innovative campaign, the Blue Ribbon Movement. On February 1, nurses and supporters placed royal blue ribbons on their vehicle antennas and shared messages on social media to bring attention to inadequate access to PPE and the need for isolation pay for nurses who need to take time off due to COVID-19. Hundreds of social media posts “turned blue,” urging the government to take action to support members’ efforts. Take a look at the photos here of our members supporting this campaign.

I am truly heartened by the inspiring work that you are initiating to create awareness and advocacy during this very challenging time.

ONA’s asks in 2021

I remain hopeful that the vaccine rollout will pick up speed in the coming weeks; it is vital that ONA members have access to a vaccine to protect yourselves and your patients, residents and clients.

Provincially, here’s what I’d like to see during this this budget cycle and beyond. You can read ONA’s budget submission here.

  • We need sustainable, multi-year funding for hospitals and other health-care sectors such as long-term care, home care and public health.
  • We need to ensure sufficient funding to move to four hours of daily care per resident in long-term care homes in a streamlined fashion before.
  • We need to provide sufficient funding to ensure additional seats for RN education programs to address the RN shortage.
  • We are looking for a clear commitment to protect the role and working conditions for Care Coordinators in any transformation of the home care sector.
  • It is vital that there is a process for phasing out for-profit ownership of long-term care homes, starting with moving to non-profit ownership for new builds.
  • We want government commitment to take action on the prevention of workplace violence in the health-care sector.

The health and safety of nurses and health-care professionals is our priority at ONA. Please reach out to me at and let me know how we can help. I’m listening.

Be well and be safe,

Vicki McKenna, RN

BREAKING NEWS: ONA has filed an urgent judicial review application in Ontario Superior Court to seek changes to Directives #1 and #5 to recognize that COVID-19 can be transmitted by aerosol and asymptomatic transmission. Further details can be found here.

News You Can Use

Join our Human Rights and Equity Book Club

ONA has launched its Human Rights and Equity Book Club, which is a new initiative open to all ONA members and staff. The first book – Washington Black by Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan – ties into ONA’s continued celebrations for Black History Month. Additional information including how to sign up is found here.

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Register now for the Provincial Leadership Meeting (PLM): ONA’s virtual PLM meeting will be held on March 30 and 31. Click here to register now and participate in many sessions and workshops covering a wide array of topics including mobilizing, digital communications, negotiations and more.
  • Visit ONA’s Black History Month page regularly throughout to find additional resources including posters, shareables, links to articles penned by Karen Flynn about the history of Black Canadian nurses, and so much more.
  • Reminder: If you are in contact with a suspected or positive COVID-19 patient, resident or client, and your employer does not provide you with an N95 respirator or better, please complete this form and tell ONA. We need to know this so we can follow up with your employer to make sure that you can protect yourself, as well as your patients, residents and clients.
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.

Sign up for ONA’s tailored health-and-safety eBulletinONA has launched On The Safe Side, our new, tailored health-and-safety eNewsletter that addresses topical issues that affect you in your workplaces.
Click on this link to sign up. On The Safe Side is subscriber-based only, so you must register to receive the quarterly eNewsletter. Please share this link widely with your colleagues and encourage them to add their names as well.


Ontario Nurses’ Association

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400-85 Grenville St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

Tel. (416) 964-8833
Fax. (416) 964-8864
Toll-free. (800) 387-5580

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Posted February 25, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Late Tuesday, ONA filed an urgent judicial review application in Ontario Superior Court to seek changes to Directives #1 and #5 to recognize that COVID-19 can be transmitted by aerosol and asymptomatic transmission.

Ontario’s current directives recognize that COVID-19 is spread primarily through close contact and droplets except during aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMPs), and we are asking that the Superior Court order Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. David Williams to amend the directives to explicitly recognize aerosol and asymptomatic transmission.

ONA had to take this highly unusual step to advocate and protect you, our members, from COVID-19.

More than one year into this pandemic, we continue to have our members exposed to COVID-19 without proper PPE; need to self-isolate often without pay; test positive for COVID-19; and become ill. The infection rate of health-care workers in Ontario remains higher than many other countries.

We have repeatedly requested the government to recognize COVID-19 as aerosol transmissible given the overwhelming global scientific evidence to support this. In addition to raising this issue at our many government meetings, we reached out directly to Dr. Williams and sent an open letter to Premier Ford expressing our concerns. ONA received no reply from the CMOH or the Premier.

To this day, we still have many members being refused adequate PPE which is counter to Directive #5. It causes me anger and distress when I hear you have been denied PPE so often contrary to the current directive and its intent that you have stopped trying to access protective equipment. Regrettably, given the government’s inactions, we had no choice but to request a judicial review.

I will keep you updated on this most recent development, so please stay tuned.

Be well and be safe,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted February 4, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member.

Webinar registration is open for sessions of “Ask a Specialist: Navigating the Professional Responsibility Workload Report Process (PRWRF).”

Join a one-hour webinar where you will be guided through the steps to better understand the direct connections between your Standards of Practice and filing a PRWRF.

Here are the upcoming webinars for next week. Please click on the applicable link to register.

All – Identifying Standards of Practice in PRWRFs

In this webinar, our specialists will guide you through completing PRWRFs and answer questions you may have, including: What is a professional practice issue? How do you connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice? and more.

Wednesday, February 24, 1100 hours:

Long-term Care (LTC) members: PRWRF – Tips and Tricks

In this webinar, specifically designed for the LTC sector, our specialists will provide you with answers to questions you may have related to bringing issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying Long-Term Care Homes Act (LTCHA) accountabilities that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing issues with management, and more.

Wednesday, February 10, 1600 hours:

Wednesday, February 24, 1600 hours:

Hospital members: PRWRF – Tips and Tricks

Specifically designed for hospital-sector members, our specialists will discuss helpful tips and answer questions you may have related to bringing the issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing the issues with management, and so much more.

Wednesday, February 24, 1930 hours

Multi-sector (LHIN, Public Health, Clinic and Industry, and Home Care): PRWRF – Tips and Tricks

Learn helpful tips and get answers to your questions related to bringing the issues forward using the form, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, and discussing the issues with management.

Wednesday, February 10, 1930 hours

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions, please email our Professional Practice Team at

Thank you!

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted February 2, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,


Way back in 1973 – October 13, to be exact – ONA was founded during an all-day meeting at Toronto’s Westbury Hotel. More than 300 nurses gathered to decide on the name (Ontario Nurses’ Association) and adopt a constitution that continues to help guide ONA today.

My, how things have changed since then.

ONA has grown its membership by leaps and bounds. We proudly represent and service 68,000 nurses and health-care professionals and 18,000 nursing students. ONA is now Canada’s largest nurses’ union.

We have a very rich history filled with so many wins and achievements on behalf of our members. And we want and need to continue to be there for all of our members.

As a growing union, we need to ensure that ONA can sustain the growth and support you, as ONA members, as well as prepare for any challenges that lie ahead. In other words, ONA needs a strategic plan, which is a vision of our future and the steps we need to take to achieve it.

How does a strategic plan impact you, our members? ONA is YOUR union. Your priorities are our priorities. Your future is our future. The better we are able to learn and identify the what, who, and why, as well as how frequently you interact with ONA, the better we will be able to reimagine how ONA can improve to more aptly service and support your union needs.

As a first step, please take a few short minutes to complete this strategic planning survey and traduction en français.

I know I am asking a lot of you. What you say matters. We have so many priorities right now, but the future of ONA is yours and we cannot move forward without you. Be honest in your survey responses – we are listening and need to hear your constructive feedback.

As a thank you for your participation, we are offering weekly prizes including hot beverages for one year and more. Simply complete the survey and you will automatically be entered into the random draw. The sooner you complete the survey, the more chances you have to win.

ONA is your union. It is your future – please use your voice to help shape it.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
Provincial President

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted February 1, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

“The weight of change should not rest on the shoulders of Black people –
and indeed it doesn’t.”
– Esi Edugyan.

February is Black History Month, a time to honour Black Canadians whose struggles and achievements have helped to shape Canada. It is as much about reflecting on the past and present as it is about looking forward to a hopeful future.

Black Nurse Pioneers

ONA recognizes the achievements of Black nurse pioneers and activists who broke barriers for so many. In 1945, Toronto-born Bernice Redmon was the first Black nurse hired in Canada, where she worked for the Nova Scotia Department of Public Health. Redmon earned her nursing diploma in Virginia as she had been refused entry to Canadian nursing schools because she was Black. She went on to become the first Black woman appointed to the Victorian Order of Nurses in Canada.

By the late 1940s, due in part to the pressure from various groups including unions, churches and the Toronto Negro Veterans Association, Black women were finally admitted for training and employed in hospitals across Ontario. If you think about it, this is very recent history, compared to American colleges that allowed Black people into nursing programs as early as 1870.

In 1948, Ruth Bailey and Gwennyth Barton became the first Black Canadians to earn their diplomas from a Canadian school of nursing. And this was just the beginning. The legacies of these Black nursing pioneers and others do live on and are reflected in the diversity of our members.

Please visit our website at to learn more about and access resources regarding Black history and Black nurse pioneers.

Our work in anti-Black racism and discrimination

Black History Month reminds us of our responsibility to remain steadfast in the fight against anti-Black racism and social inequality. Our Black members have told us that they face many barriers within their workplaces: they are underrepresented in nursing leadership roles and specialty nursing areas and can face discrimination and racism throughout their work-lives.

We must dedicate ourselves to being a stronger voice and advocate for positive change at every opportunity. Last year, ONA took a number of steps to address this. In addition to publishing ONA’s position statement on anti-racism, we have initiated an Anti-Racism Advisory Team that includes ONA front-line members. We will be consulting this team to strengthen our policies and approaches to anti-Black racism and racial discrimination. The Board and I are grateful to have our members provide us with the knowledge and experiences to make this initiative a success and fully support these efforts.

During Black History Month and year-round, I encourage you to explore Black history and the history of Black nursing. Join ONA in being allies in the fight against ongoing anti-Black racism and injustices.

In solidarity,

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted January 25, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I am devastated to share with you the news that an ONA member working at Halton Healthcare Services in Milton suddenly and tragically passed away on the weekend.

Stefanie Van Nguyen, RN, was a well-respected registered nurse who loved and cared for her patients and coworkers, and who was deeply dedicated to her work as a front-line RN.

ONA is offering its full support to her family and our members at this difficult time, and I share in your grief.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many of us. If you or anyone you know needs mental health support or guidance, please talk to someone: a family member, colleague or friend. Below, are some mental health resources that you can access; please do not hesitate to reach out if you need support.

Ms. Van Nguyen’s partner, Jason Parreno, has set up a Go Fund Me campaign here. Please consider donating to help to alleviate some of her family’s financial stresses during this very difficult time.

Mental Health Resources

Wellness Together Canada: Go to for free mental health support, available 24/7. You can also access the service anonymously if you prefer. For immediate crisis support, front line workers are encouraged to text FRONTLINE to 741741.

Canadian Mental Health Association

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto

St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton

The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Ottawa

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted January 25, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I know that you are frustrated due to repeated denials from your employer to access N95 respirators.

I am writing to alert you to the strong evidence that COVID-19 transmission is airborne, which is why you must take a firm stand to demand the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your patients/residents/clients and your family. That means you must stay protected by wearing an N95 respirator or better every time you are in contact with a suspected or positive COVID-19 patient, resident or client.

If your employer does not provide you with an N95 respirator, please click here to report the employer and the circumstances so ONA can follow up.

Actions Taken

On November 26, 2020, I wrote to the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) urgently requesting that Ontario’s directives and guidance be revised to recognize precautions for airborne transmission of COVID-19.

Because I have not received a response, I have issued an Open Letter via the media to Premier Ford calling on him to immediately mandate changes to all directives and guidance that COVID-19 is indeed airborne. Nurses and health-care professionals can wait no longer for the Ford government to take this action.

That is why I am publicly calling on the Premier to take immediate action. I too am frustrated and angry with the lack of action by the Ford government. Enough is enough.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recognized on November 4, 2020 that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by fine aerosols, as well as larger respiratory droplets.

PHAC’s position was updated to be consistent with an earlier change made by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 5, 2020, which recognized that COVID-19 can be spread by airborne transmission, through exposure to the virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours.

As well, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidance to include transmission via aerosols.

This is a significant shift and has implications for health-care worker protections, since only N95 respirators, at a minimum, or other superior respirators, are designed to protect the wearer against aerosol-transmitted diseases. Surgical masks do not protect against this mode of transmission.

On January 4, 2021, 63 scientists, occupational health specialists, engineers, physicians and nurses from across Canada called on the Premiers and on public health officials from the federal, provincial and territorial governments, to recognize airborne transmission of COVID-19 and to act accordingly.

We will remember this moment in time and the steps Premier Ford takes now to ensure that nurses and health-care professionals are properly protected.

I will update you once I receive any reply to my Open Letter to the Premier.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted January 22, 2021


Ontario Nurses’ Association


ONA’s Latest News – January 2021

needle in arm

Dear ONA member,

Last week, ONA held telephone town halls and Facebook Live sessions to provide you with the latest information regarding the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. The sessions were well-attended. You asked many questions and we answered them as best as we could with the information that was available to us at the time.

I have summarized some of the themes from our town halls below.

Can my employer force me to get the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is not mandatory, but we recommend you to get inoculated to help protect yourself, your family, your co-workers and your patients/residents/clients.

I have been scheduled to receive the vaccine, but it is on my day off and I cannot switch. Will I be paid?
ONA continues to lobby government and employers to ensure staff are paid for time spent receiving the vaccine. We have also advised that all employees who receive the vaccine and experience side effects that may require time off are paid (kept whole) for their lost time. Government has agreed to take these issues back for discussion.

I’m currently on a leave of absence but will be returning to my workplace in a few months. Can I get the vaccine at my workplace before I return to work?
If you are on a leave, please reach out to your employer to see if they can accommodate your request.

I want to help administer the vaccine. Where can I find out how to do this?
The government of Ontario has set up a portal to help match health-care workers with job opportunities. Click here to access the portal.

When will the vaccine arrive in other parts of Ontario?
Visit the government’s rollout schedule at The planning and schedules are completely based on the availability of vaccine.

If you have any labour relations issues regarding the rollout of the vaccine, please speak with your Bargaining Unit President. They are the first line to address your questions and concerns.

There are two vaccines that are available in Canada: Pfizer and Moderna, both of which require two doses. Information about the vaccine rollout changes daily and sometimes by the hour. For instance, earlier this week, Pfizer announced that it is temporarily delaying the delivery of vaccines to Canada because its manufacturing facility in Belgium is undergoing an expansion to accommodate mass production of its vaccine. This delay will most likely impact the delivery of vaccines throughout Ontario. We are waiting on more details and how this will affect the rollout.

There is so much information about the vaccines and their rollout that we have produced a section on our website for vaccine information. Please visit this page often for updates and the latest information.

Be well and be safe,

Vicki McKenna, RN

News You Can Use


Hospital bargaining preparations begin

This week, our new Hospital Central Negotiating Team (HCNT) that was elected by you, our members, begins their important work in negotiating a new collective agreement for our 60,000+ members who work in the hospital sector. For all bargaining updates, visit

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Read the December Board Highlights: The ONA Board of Directors met in December to talk about matters affecting our membership. Readthe highlights for a summary of discussions, decisions and more.
  • New Professional Union You Need brochures available: If you’re looking for a good primer about ONA, you might want to consider looking at ONA’s Professional Union You Need brochures. There are two editions: one for registered nurses, and one for health-care professionals. They have been refreshed to include new updated information.
  • Join us on the ONA members-only Facebook group: ONA has launched this group to create more spaces for our members to share ideas and engage with one another and ONA on issues that affect us all. More than 1,200 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. To join our group, please click here complete the two mandatory questions AND agree to the group rules. See you online!
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.

Nominations open for the Nursing Now Ontario Awards ONA, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario have come together to celebrate the knowledge and compassion that nurses in Ontario deliver to people with the Nursing Now Ontario Awards. The awards, now in its second year, will recognize a registered nurse, a registered practical nurse and a nurse practitioner, for their contributions to the nursing profession and the well-being of Ontarians. Deadline for nominations is February 19. Click here to learn more and to access the online nomination form.


Ontario Nurses’ Association

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400-85 Grenville St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

Tel. (416) 964-8833
Fax. (416) 964-8864
Toll-free. (800) 387-5580


Posted January 18, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

On January 18, 2021, the Ontario government amended Emergency Order Regulation 74-20 to permit hospitals to redeploy hospital staff to other hospitals and to retirement homes. This expands the previous redeployment order beyond nursing homes, other areas of the hospital and assessment centres. The government says this is to address the staffing and capacity pressures during this second wave of COVID-19.

You will find the memo from the Deputy Minister of Health, Helen Angus, referring to these amendments. The amended regulation can be found at this link.

Note that the Deputy Minister specifically says that hospitals should only rely on this regulation when necessary and should rely primarily on staff volunteers.

ONA has confirmed the following principles for redeployment with the Ontario Hospital Association, and the OHA will communicate with the hospitals:

– any redeployment must rely on staff volunteers first;

– redeployment should be to a hospital or retirement home close to the home hospital as possible;

– infection prevention and control should be implemented prior to redeployment of hospital staff, including ensuring access to and supply of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) based on your clinical assessment.

Also, the Emergency Order continues to state that prior to redeployment, the employer (hospital) will:

  1. Conduct any skills and experience inventories of staff to identify possible alternative roles in priority areas.
  2. Require and collect information from staff about their availability to provide services for the health service provider.

If you are redeployed, the order also says that you are to be provided appropriate training or education as needed to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.

As always, if you have any questions and/or concerns about redeployment, please contact your Bargaining Unit President.

Please keep utilizing your point of care risk assessment and wear PPE in accordance with your assessment.

Thank you for your dedication and service to your patients and to residents living in retirement homes.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted January 15, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I want to share with you some important news and developments that have occurred regarding our ongoing fight with the Ontario government against Bill 124.

As you may know, Bill 124 strips our members of their collective bargaining rights and has imposed a disrespectful one-per-cent wage increase in each of three years on public-sector workers. In our view, this Bill directly interferes with collective bargaining and is an egregious affront to the rights of our members. It undermines their dignity and worth especially during this unprecedented time in our history.

Just last Friday, the Treasury Board Secretariat, led by Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy, informed ONA that our requests to have nurses and health-care professionals exempt from Bill 124 have been denied. The government took approximately one year to issue its response. ONA is outraged that our requests for exemption were ignored for so long and then denied.

ONA files Charter Challenge on January 15, 2021

This does not mean that this fight is over. Far from it.

Today, January 15, 2021, ONA is filing thousands of pages of evidence to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which will hear ONA’s Charter Challenge. We are also asking for an expedited case management hearing to move this forward.

Our evidence includes affidavits from front-line ONA members who work across the province in various workplaces, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, home and community care. They include full- and part-time nurses, as well as ONA negotiating team members, Bargaining Unit Presidents, ONA’s CEO Beverly Mathers and myself.

We are filing evidence from two external experts as well – Professor Patricia Armstrong, a renowned expert on gender discrimination and health care, and Professor Robert Hebdon, an expert on collective bargaining. Their testimony will provide additional evidence in support of ONA’s position.

I want to assure you that ONA is taking a multi-pronged approach to attack this outrageous legislation. We are arguing that it violates ONA members’ constitutional right to engage in free collective bargaining; it discriminates against ONA members on the basis of sex; and it engages in systemic racial discrimination. All of these issues will be presented in court on our members’ behalf.

We will continue to keep you updated on important developments. I want to assure you that ONA is here for you every step of the way. The process will take time but rest assured, ONA will continue to fight for justice, equality and respect for our members.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

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Posted December 28, 2020

Highlights Provincial Coordinators meeting

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Thank you for your tireless work and courage over this very challenging holiday season.

As hospital COVID admissions rise, straining capacity, ONA members have been raising concerns about the way hospitals are reassigning ONA members and other health-care workers to areas where they are unfamiliar, or the scope of the work is beyond their skills, training and expertise.

We know the situation is untenable for you, your team and your patients.  These are unprecedented times and we know how stressful the environment is at this time. The system is stretched as never before and so much is being asked of you!

The information that follows is intended to help you work through this situation to the best of your ability while ensuring that decision-makers are held accountable for the decisions they are making.

Key messages for our members regarding redeployment, reassignment and inappropriate assignments

If you are being reassigned to an area that you are unfamiliar with:

  • A skill and training inventory should have been completed by the hospital prior to any reassignment being done as set out in the Government Emergency Orders.
  • You need to recognize and work within the limits of your knowledge, skill and judgment, and your scope of practice.
  • You must inform your employer of your inability to accept responsibility in the area in which specific training is required or for which you are not competent to function without supervision.
  • You must decline performing the care that you are not competent to perform.
  • In collaboration with the manager (as a Regulated Health Professional, the manager has a professional responsibility and regulatory standards too), develop a plan to modify the assignment to enable you to provide only the elements of care that you are competent to provide.
  • You need to be clear to the team about your abilities and the areas in which you require assistance. The team should collaborate to determine how the care will be provided to the patients under their care. It is not abandoning a patient when you are willing to work with the team to ensure care is delivered.
  • You need to seek advice and collaboration with the health-care team to uphold safe patient care.
  • You need to fill out a Professional Responsibility Workload Report (PRWR) form if you are being asked to perform duties or have a workload that puts your professional standards at risk. This form provides your document of your concerns and how and to whom you raised the issues, and shifts the decision-making onus to a manager.

What do I do when working with the reassigned worker?

  • You need to ensure the worker is competent to perform any procedure and be aware of their limitations.
  • You must determine the appropriateness in each patient situation when assigning patients.
  • You need to be professional and treat the reassigned worker with respect and as a team member.
  • You need to collaborate and communicate with your colleagues in a clear, effective, professional, and timely way.
  • You must take action to stop unsafe, incompetent, unethical or unlawful practice.
  • You must work together to improve patients’ care.
  • You must support, mentor and teach.


  • You need to determine whether a task or procedure can be delegated and whether it is appropriate for the reassigned health-care worker to perform.
  • When directing a member or other members of the health-care team to perform nursing functions, you must ensure that they are adequately trained and competent to perform the task or procedure.
  • Once a procedure has been delegated to you under an Act (i.e., Nursing Act, Public Hospitals Act or other Regulated Health Professions Act), you are not permitted to delegate that task to another worker.
  • The nurse who delegates a controlled act is responsible for the decision to delegate and must ensure the requirements for delegation under the College of Nurses of Ontario is met.

Once the Professional Responsibility Workload Report form is submitted:

  • Workload/professional issues should be discussed at the unit level with the most responsible nurse or other health-care professional. Managers must be creative to ensure care is delivered safely or if it is not resolved or if a manager says “there is no one else to call”, then proceed to next step.
  • Discussion should occur with manager within 10 days; the manager has 10 days to respond, if not resolved.
  • The Form is to be submitted to the Hospital-Association Committee (HAC) within 20 days from the date of the manager’s response or when the response was expected.
  • The chair of HAC shall convene a meeting within 15 days of the form being submitted to the committee, if not resolved. These meetings can be held sooner at the request of either party especially in urgent situations.

Resources on the ONA website include sample completed professional responsibility workload reporting forms for the following issues: skill mix, acuity, staffing and reassignment.

Please contact your Bargaining Unit President if you need assistance.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted December 15, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

In the past while, there has been much news and discussion about the safety, efficacy and the potential distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. A number of questions related to these issues has been raised by ONA members.

This communication provides the information that is known to ONA at this point in time. Please check the Ministry of Health COVID-19 website regularly for updates as they are posted.

Last Friday, December 11, I sent an email to Deputy Minister of Health Helen Angus regarding members’ questions and the rollout of the vaccination program in Ontario related to COVID-19. I advised Deputy Minister Angus that we believe that the vaccine needs to be part of an overall comprehensive COVID-19 infection prevention and control strategy.

In addition, I informed her that ONA recommends that health-care professionals receive the COVID-19 vaccine just as it has recommended many other vaccines in the past. Of note, ONA believes the following principles should be applied consistently to the vaccine program:

  • The vaccine should be voluntary, respecting human rights and medical conditions;
  • The vaccine must be accompanied by an evidence-based information package to ensure health-care workers can make informed decisions and consent about deciding to have the vaccine and personal risk;
  • There should be education about the vaccine and its importance to the workplace, the patients/residents and the community;
  • The vaccine should be provided at the worksite at no cost to the employee. If it is not possible to provide the vaccine at the worksite, the employer/appropriate government ministry should provide no-cost transportation to the vaccine site;
  • The employee should be paid for all time to receive the vaccine; and,
  • The employee should be kept whole if they suffer any negative consequences/side effects of receiving the vaccine, e.g., sick pay.

As of December 13, ONA has received some information from the Ministry on the questions that we submitted to Deputy Minister Angus.

What ingredients are used to manufacture the vaccine?

If you know you have allergies to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive it.

  • Medicinal ingredient:
    • mRNA
  • Non-medicinal ingredients:
    • ALC-0315 = ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate
    • ALC-0159 = 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
    • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
    • cholesterol
    • dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
    • monobasic potassium phosphate
    • potassium chloride
    • sodium chloride
    • sucrose water for injection.

It is important to review this list carefully as some people may be allergic to these ingredients, including polyethylene glycol. Polyethylene glycol can be found in some products such as cosmetics, skin care products, laxatives, cough syrups, bowel preparation products for colonoscopy, and some food and drinks.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Please see the product monograph for a compete list of reported side effects/adverse reactions. Please see also the Ministry of Health document: COVID-19 Administration of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

What is the level of risk and what segments, if any, of the population are experiencing side effects?

The Pfizer vaccine should not be administered to:

  • Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis after previous administration of the vaccine.
  • Persons with proven immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity to any allergic to any of the component of the vaccine or its container, including polyethylene glycol.
  • Vaccination should be deferred in symptomatic individuals with confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection, or those with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Acutely ill individuals.
  • Women who are or who may become pregnant until further evidence is available.
  • Breastfeeding women until further evidence is available.
  • Individuals who are immunosuppressed.
  • Individuals under the age of 16.

Please see also the Ministry of Health document: COVID-19 Administration of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

After obtaining the vaccine, when will immunity coverage/protection peak?

In order to be fully effective in preventing SARS-CoV2 infection, the vaccine must be administered twice: a single dose of the vaccine is administered followed by a second single dose 21 days later. It is important that you receive two doses of the vaccine. Protection against COVID-19 is not complete until after the second dose of vaccine is received.

We have posted the series of 10 documents that we received from the Ministry of Health.

We know the plan is to vaccinate long-term care health-care workers first on a voluntary basis out of the University Health Network (Toronto) and The Ottawa Hospital. If additional vaccine is available, it will be offered next to hospital health-care workers. Vaccination of long-term care residents is planned to commence when the Moderna vaccine becomes available and vaccinations can be provided in long-term care homes. This first round of vaccinations is considered a pilot, and lessons learned are likely to drive change in the future.

Please contact your Bargaining Unit President should you have any questions.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted December 10, 2020


Ontario Nurses’ Association


ONA’s Latest News – December 2020

Dear ONA member,

This past year – like no other – I have witnessed you, our ONA members, standing up to the extreme challenges, particularly those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A second wave has seen our hospitals begin to fill once again, with our long-term care residents and staff becoming infected in record numbers. The pressures are all so very overwhelming for everyone. We are experiencing burnout and exhaustion. I can hear it in your voices and see it in your faces, day in and day out.

Yet every day, you continue to do your best to care for patients, residents and clients in sometimes less than ideal circumstances that include understaffing and precarious workplace situations. Your contributions to confront this crisis head on is truly inspiring.

I thank you for your commitment in the face of the tragedy that COVID-19 has brought this year. I know you are stepping up and we are committed to ensuring that you are supported.

Please reach out to your Bargaining Unit President if you are struggling or if you need guidance. There is evidence that mental health is a growing concern, particularly for nurses and health-care professionals, and we are here to help. We have partnered with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and the federal government, and now have access to a new online mental health program, which is free and available 24/7. Visit for information.

As your union, we will continue to raise with the government issues that matter most in our workplaces: the need for increased staffing levels, payment for self-isolation, immediate access to proper personal protective equipment for all health-care workers, and improvements in infection prevention and control protocols. We will work with your employers and use any means necessary – including legal proceedings – to ensure healthy and safe facilities for patients, residents and clients, and for all workers.

Glimmers of hope

Our hopes were raised recently when the Public Health Agency of Canada’s release of new federal guidelines confirming airborne transmission validated our repeated calls for airborne precautions, including N95 respirators or better. ONA was instrumental in the changes that were made to a government directive to ensure that employers follow the precautionary principle and provide nurses and health-care professionals with access to the personal protective equipment, including fitted N95 respirators, when needed to keep safe.

As we usher 2020 out the door and look ahead to 2021, there are more glimmers of hope on the horizon with the announcement of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, which is slowly being distributed and will likely be more widespread next year.

I would like to personally thank all of you for being there for the patients, residents and clients who so desperately need you now more than ever. Many of you will be working through the holidays, and your dedication is recognized.

Enjoy this holiday season and I hope we all have a brighter new year.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

News You Can Use

Pick up where you left off: Complete the bargaining survey

We have extended the deadline of our bargaining survey to December 18. If you started it, and did not finish, you can visit the link and pick up where you left off. Visit After you complete it, you will automatically be entered into a prize draw for one of three tablets. Good luck!

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Read the November PCM Highlights: Held virtually by Zoom, our November Provincial Coordinators Meeting provided updates and actions for all who attended. Read the highlights here, which also include summaries of our important Human Rights and Equity Caucus and Education Day.
  • Complete a national survey about the impact of COVID-19 on health-care workers: Statistics Canada wants to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on health-care workers, with a particular focus on access to personal protective equipment and infection control measures in workplaces. Visit this link for more information, including access to the survey.
  • Renew your College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) membership: The annual membership renewal for the CNO for 2021 is now open. By renewing your membership, you can continue to practice as a nurse in Ontario. Visit Maintain your Membership to renew now.
  • Join us on the ONA members-only Facebook group: ONA has launched this group to create more spaces for our members to share ideas and engage with one another and ONA on issues that affect us all. More than 1,100 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. To join our group, please click here and complete the two mandatory questions AND agree to the group rules.
  • Apply for a scholarship: The Registered Nurses’ Federation of Ontario (RNFOO) – an organization that provides financial support for nurses and nursing students to further their nursing education – has launched its call for applications for its 2021 Awards and Scholarships. Visit this page to go to the awards brochure that also includes information about how to apply. The deadline to complete the application is January 18. For more information, visit
  • Take the OHCOW survey: The survey is designed to learn about your experiences as a worker during a pandemic. This survey is a repeat of the survey originally launched in April/May 2020. Things have changed since this first survey, so OHCOW has re-launched the survey during this second wave of the pandemic. To complete the survey, visit this link here
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.

Posted December 2, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Good news, ONA members! We have extended our Have Your Say Bargaining Survey to December 18 because we need to hear from each and every one of you about your bargaining priorities.

Recently, we invited you to participate in the survey and we kindly ask that you spend a few minutes filling it out if you haven’t already had the opportunity to do so. We don’t want you to miss out on having your say about your next contract.

As an added incentive, members who complete the survey will be automatically entered into a random draw for a chance to win one of three tablets.

Please share this message with your ONA-member colleagues. The more collective feedback ONA receives, the better we can develop proposals that meet your needs.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Sign up for an Ask A Specialist webinar

We continue to offer many opportunities for members to learn more about the professional responsibility process, including the ability to directly ask questions of a professional practice specialist.

Join a one-hour webinar to be guided through the steps and better understand the direct connections between your standards of practice and completing a Professional Responsibility Workload Report Form (PRWRF).

Please click on the applicable link below to register.

Identifying Standards of Practice in PRWRFs

In this webinar, our specialists will guide you through completing PRWRFs and answer questions you may have, including: What is a professional practice issue? How do you connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice? and more.

Monday, December 7, 1100 hours:

Wednesday, December 16, 1100 hours:

Long-term Care (LTC) members: PRWRF – Tips

In this webinar, specifically designed for the LTC sector, our specialists will provide you with answers to questions you may have related to bringing issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying Long-Term Care Homes Act (LTCHA) accountabilities that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing issues with management, and more.

Monday, December 7, 1600 hours:

Wednesday, December 16, 1600 hours:

For hospital members: PRWRF – Tips

Specifically designed for hospital-sector members, our specialists will discuss helpful tips and answer questions you may have related to bringing the issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing the issues with management, and so much more.

Monday, December 7, 1930 hours:

Multi-sector (LHIN, Public Health, Clinic and Industry, and Home Care): PRWRF – Tips

Learn helpful tips and get answers to your questions related to bringing the issues forward using the form, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, and discussing the issues with management.

Wednesday, December 16, 1930 hours:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, please email our Professional Practice Team at

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted December 1, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Yesterday, CBC News reported that November has been “the deadliest month for COVID-19 in Ontario since the spring.”

Despite being promised an “iron ring” of protection by Premier Doug Ford, more than half of the total 520 COVID-19 deaths across the province last month – 268 – were in long-term care.

It’s time for more than “thoughts” and “prayers.”

Those who live and work in Ontario’s long-term care homes deserve better. Much better.

You can take action right now to demand better from our government.

TODAY & TOMORROW (Dec. 1 & 2)

  • Download our fillable selfie poster to print and add your own message (e.g. about complex care, quality jobs, and taking profit out of long-term care).Take a selfie. When you post it, tag us @ontarionurses on your Facebookand Twitter accounts, and @ontario.nurses on your Instagram, or send your selfie directly to, and we’ll post it on our social media channels.
  • Share our day of action messages by tweeting at your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) using our Day of Action webpage. You can do this Tuesday or Wednesday.


  • Join us for a Virtual Day of Action on Wednesday, December 2 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a Phone and Email Zap. Use this link to register now.

More information about the day of action is below.

In solidarity,


Cathryn Hoy, RN
First Vice-President
Political Action & Professional Issues
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)

On Wednesday, December 2, nurses, health-care professionals, and members of the community are joining together to demand that our government provide quality care, quality jobs, and remove profit from long-term care.

It is more important than ever that our government hears the concerns of residents, families, nurses, and health-care professionals about the changes that are needed in long-term care.

At this moment, you have an opportunity to have your voice heard by your government and to influence the recommendations that the Long-Term Care Commission will be making to Premier Ford.

To provide quality care to residents, our government must increase the number of full-time nurses and health-care professionals.

Ontario’s Long-Term Care Commission’s interim report recommended a minimum daily average of 4 hours of direct care per resident per day.

The Ford government announced that they would implement the increase, but they did not commit to funding their promise.

Of the four hours, 20% must be filled by Registered Nurses.

Long-term care is no longer a place where seniors’ health is stable and predictable. Registered Nurses are necessary to care for the complex care needs of residents.

The pandemic has shown us the results of chronic staffing shortages in long-term care. Residents in long-term care cannot wait. They need an increase in care hours now!

Removing profit from long-term care will mean better care for residents.

Nurses and health-care professionals need quality jobs to provide quality care to residents. This means full-time jobs, wage equality with nurses and health-care professionals in the hospital sector, and pay for lost wages when self-isolating.

This is the only way to retain and recruit the nurses and health-care professionals that are needed to provide quality care to residents in this sector.

Together, you and your colleagues can hold this government accountable on delivering the changes that will protect residents and nurses and health-care professionals in long-term care.

The actions this government takes now will impact the future of long-term care for years to come.

You must decide what kind of long-term care system we will have to care for vulnerable residents and seniors, and for the caregivers who provide their care.

Be part of the change to protect long-term care now!

Posted November 20, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Ontario has some of the highest numbers of health-care workers with COVID-19 in the world. This fact is unacceptable!

Fact: ONA has been advocating for you prior to the pandemic being declared and continues to negotiate improvements to Directive #5 (for hospitals within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act, long-term care homes within the meaning of the Long-Term Care Homes Act 2007, and retirement homes) as recently as October 8, 2020.

This Directive was changed based on the facts and evolving science that COVID-19 is airborne from the union’s perspective; the Directive does not say this.

Fact: The science around the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 increasingly points to airborne transmission as a significant means by which the virus is transmitted. Dr. Teresa Tam and the Public Health Agency of Canada have recently acknowledged this. A recent article in the journal Science states:

“There is overwhelming evidence that inhalation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a major transmission route for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Individuals with COVID-19, many of whom have no symptoms, release thousands of virus-laden aerosols and far fewer droplets when breathing and talking. Thus, one is far more likely to inhale aerosols than be sprayed by a droplet, and so the balance of attention must be shifted to protecting against airborne transmission. In addition to existing mandates of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene efforts, we urge public health officials to add clear guidance about the importance of moving activities outdoors, improving indoor air using ventilation and filtration, and improving protection for high-risk workers.”[1]

Fact: The evolving science increasingly supports the need for health-care professionals to have access to N95s when they deem it necessary based on their Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA).

Fact: Every health-care worker should be fit-tested for a NIOSH approved N95 respirator (mask). The employer should have a supply of these masks for your use.

How does the directive protect you? What are your rights under Directive #5?

Fact: With a suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 patient and/or in an outbreak:

  • A PCRA must be performed by every regulated health professional before every patient or resident interaction. Assess your risk and the risk of spreading COVID-19 outside of that patient/resident room.
  • Fact: Based on the PCRA and your professional and clinical judgement and proximity to a patient or resident (e.g. two to three metres or closer) that an N95 respirator may be required in the delivery of care, then your employer must provide you and other health-care workers present for that care with a fit-tested N95 respirator or approved equivalent or better protection. It cannot be denied.
    • If there is an outbreak, a health-care professional does not need to approve the use of an N95 for health-care workers in an outbreak.
  • At a minimum, droplet and contact precautions include gloves, face shields or goggles, gowns (at least level 2), and surgical/procedure masks. Airborne precautions change the mask requirement to a NIOSH-approved, fit-tested N95 respirator or equivalent or better.
  • The PCRA by the regulated health professional should include the frequency and probability of routine or emergent Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs) being required. N95 respirators, or approved equivalent or better protection, must be used by all regulated health professionals and health-care workers in the room where AGMPs are being performed, are frequent or are probable. The list of AMPGs has been expanded to CPR generally (not just airway management) and postmortem care.
    • Fact: An AMPG is not the only time an N95 mask is required. Use your professional judgement; assess the risk!
  • For long-term care homes only, all staff must wear surgical/procedure masks at all times for source control for the duration of full shifts. This is required regardless of whether the home is in an outbreak or not.

Fact: A KN95 mask is NOT a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator. It cannot be fit tested. If your employer has KN95 masks, they should only be considered the equivalent of a surgical mask.

Fact: An expired N95 mask is NOT a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator. It can only be used for fit-testing and/or should only be considered the equivalent of a surgical mask.

Fact: ONA supports the use of elastomeric masks, e.g. 3M 7500-Series Reusable Elastomeric Respirator as an equivalent to, or better protection than, fit-tested N95 respirators. ONA recommends that a fulsome respirator protection program should be in place prior to utilizing elastomeric masks, including fit-testing, training, cleaning, disinfection, storage, replacement of parts as they wear out, and a filter replacement schedule.

Fact: Your Bargaining Unit President and other union representatives are available to assist you if you are denied an N95 mask based on your PCRA. Please call them!

Fact: The Occupational Health and Safety Act continues to prevail over Directive #5. This means you continue to have the right to refuse unsafe work. ONA will also support you through this process.




[1] Prather, K., Marr, L., Schooley, R.T., McDiarmid, M.A., Wilson, M.E., Milton, D.K. “Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2″, October 16, 2020

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted November 17, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

We are proud to announce a new, interactive initiative – Ask a Specialist – that will help ONA members with professional practice and workload issues.

ONA’s Professional Practice team is offering one-hour sessions using Zoom for you, our members, to connect with a Professional Practice Specialist. The specialists will be discussing their process and answering any questions you may have. They will be assisting and supporting you through the process to achieve more timely resolutions.

The first sessions highlight information related to Professional Responsibility Workload Report Forms (PRWRFs): identifying standards of practice, how to complete the forms so you achieve results from your employer, tips, and more.

To register for a webinar(s), please click on the applicable link below.

Identifying Standards of Practice in PRWRFs

In this webinar, our specialists will guide you through completing PRWRFs and answer questions you may have including: What is a professional practice issue? How do you connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice? and more.

Monday, November 23, 1100 hours:

Monday, November 30, 1600 hours:

Long-term Care (LTC) members: PRWRF Tips

In this webinar, specifically designed for the LTC sector, our specialists will provide you with answers to questions you may have related to bringing issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying Long-Term Care Homes Act (LTCHA) accountabilities that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing issues with management, and more.

Monday, November 23, 1600 hours:

Monday, November 30, 1100 hours:

Hospital members: PRWRF Tips

Specifically designed for hospital-sector members, our specialists will discuss helpful tips and answer questions you may have related to bringing the issues forward using the PRWRFs, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, discussing the issues with management, and so much more.

Monday, November 23, 1930 hours:

Multi-sector (LHIN, Public Health, Clinic and Industry, and Home Care): PRWRF Tips

Learn helpful tips and get answers to your questions related to bringing the issues forward using the form, identifying organizational policies that are at risk when workload issues occur, and discussing the issues with management.

Monday, November 30, 1930 hours:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions, please email our Professional Practice Team at

In solidarity,

Cathryn Hoy, RN
First Vice-President

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted October 29, 2020


Ontario Nurses’ Association


ONA’s Latest News – October 2020

Dear ONA member,

There is no question that working in a global pandemic has raised the level of stress and tension for all health-care staff and patients. The last thing our members need to worry about is workplace violence.

Unfortunately, though, it continues; and, over the past couple of weeks, some serious violent incidents have occurred in two health-care workplaces.

St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake had a violent incident in its emergency department, and Southlake Regional Health Centre experienced two workplace violence encounters within days of one another.

These latter incidents are even more outrageous considering that, on October 16, Southlake was allowed to plead guilty to only two of the seven charges laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act due to a violent incident that occurred two years ago. The five additional charges were dismissed. We have not given up and are proceeding with our application to appeal before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which had been adjourned pending completion of the criminal prosecution.

Dozens of ONA leaders and members attended a socially-distanced, mask-wearing workplace violence prevention rally on October 26 at Southlake Regional Health Centre to call on the government to take immediate measures to prevent violence in our health-care workplaces. We must continue to apply pressure on the government and workplace management to protect workers as well as patients, residents and clients. Now is the time – if never before – to take action. Violence is not part of the job!

ONA launches TV, radio and social media ads

As part of our comprehensive “Still Fighting” ad campaign, three TV ads are now running on television networks across Ontario. Each ad has a specific theme: RN cuts, long-term care issues, and the disrespect of nurses by government. Please take a look at our ads on our Nurses Know website here: or by visiting our YouTube channel here: Please share our ads with family, friends and colleagues, and share them on social media. The more our communities know, the more the general public and our own members are informed.

ONA presents at the Long-Term Care (LTC) Commission

On October 13 and 20, ONA presented to the government’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission. In our presentation on October 13, we began with an overview of what took place in long-term care during the first wave of the pandemic. We shared some of our members’ personal stories of working in LTC homes during an outbreak, as they described their experiences as having been traumatic.

We then offered recommendations that could be implemented immediately to make LTC workplaces safer for both staff and residents. On October 20, we returned to provide additional feedback that focused on our efforts to ensure compliance with government directives, including Ministry of Labour appeals, an injunction, and grievance arbitration.

On October 23, the Commission released interim recommendations. ONA is supportive of these interim recommendations, and we look forward to the final report and quick action by the government to implement them. There is more work ahead and ONA will take every opportunity to ensure the Commission hears the voices of our members working in long-term care.

Visit for updates on this important work.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

News You Can Use

Complete the Have Your Say Bargaining Survey now

Satisfied with your workplace benefits like dental, vision, extended health care and retiree benefits? Or how about your vacation time? Tell us what you think. ONA’s bargaining survey is now open – please complete it at After you complete it, you will automatically be entered into a prize draw for one of three tablets. Good luck!

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Ontario government to release budget on November 5: Visit ONA’s website on that day to see what we have to say about Premier Ford’s budget.
  • ONA’s Holiday Boutique is available: Check out items to support and show appreciation to members. Order multiples of products and include your local numbers! Visit the ONA Holiday Boutique for gift ideas.
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.
Listen now to ONA’s Forward Together podcast:

In the latest episode, we speak remotely with ONA President Vicki McKenna about the pandemic, some good news about proper PPE, and the challenges facing the province. Visit to listen now.


Posted October 5, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
ONA’s Have YOUR Say Bargaining Survey is now live.

The mobile-friendly survey is your opportunity to tell ONA about your bargaining priorities and needs as we begin to plan for the next round of negotiations in ALL SECTORS. 

CLICK HERE NOW to go to the survey. It will take about 30 minutes to complete.

ONA continues to face many challenges in all sectors of our health-care system. We will be negotiating under government-enforced wage restraint legislation while employers are attempting to balance their budgets on the backs of you, our members. We cannot let the government and employers set an agenda of cutbacks, layoffs, concessions, excessive workloads, inappropriate skill mix and inadequate responses to escalating violence in our workplaces.

We also know our members’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic will influence bargaining priorities, which we ask about within the survey. We must hear from you about your front-line experiences, and how they impact your work-life balance.

Please take the time to complete your survey before it closes at the end of November. This is your opportunity to have YOUR say.

As a token of our thanks, after you complete the survey, you will automatically be entered into a random draw for one of three tablets. Good luck!

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted October 1, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

In the last five months, nearly 2,000 residents, nurses, personal support workers and health-care workers have died because of COVID-19 in our province’s long-term care homes. Many died isolated, without adequate care and without staff time for emotional support.

Long-term care staff have had to fight for access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and have worked in crisis-level staffing shortages that have only become worse during the pandemic. In Canada, we have seen the highest levels of death in long-term care homes in the developed world.

The Ford government has taken no action to deal with emergency staffing shortages and inadequate care levels in long-term care homes. Despite repeated promises, no action has been taken to raise care levels up to a safe standard. In Ontario, most COVID-19 related deaths happened in for-profit long-term care homes, yet privatization of new long-term care beds continues.

Today, COVID-19 continues to run through long-term care homes. Residents continue to die. Yet, there is no plan to get staff into hard-hit homes. Nurses, personal support workers, nurse practitioners, and health-care workers are still fighting to get the appropriate PPE. All employees do not have N95 masks.

The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) is asking Ontarians to act and to stop accepting empty promises from our provincial government.

The OHC is calling for:

  • Immediate action by the Ford government to recruit and train staff, improve pay and working conditions and provide full-time work. Quebec’s and British Columbia’s governments have already done this. There is no excuse for further delay. The conditions of work are the conditions of care.
  • The Ford government to implement a minimum care standard of 4-hours of hands on care per resident per day.
  • Both our federal and provincial governments to end for-profit long-term care, starting by making Revera public.

What can you do?

On October 8, 2020, the Ontario Health Coalition is holding a Day of Action. They will be holding car motorcades in communities across Ontario. ONA has endorsed the day of action.

We are asking you to join the Day of Action in your community to create political pressure to expose the lack of action to improve care in long-term care and to push for an end to for-profit privatization of long-term care.

You can decorate your car with messages about the need to improve long-term care and make it public.

Please call your local coalition and confirm you are attending.

More events are being organized every day. Check the Ontario Health Coalition website:

In Solidarity,

Cathryn Hoy, RN

First Vice-President

Posted September 26, 2020


Ontario Nurses’ Association


ONA’s Latest News – September 2020

Dear ONA member,

Happening now: RN Cuts in hospitals

Over the past few weeks, cuts to registered nurse positions have been happening at record speed in hospitals across Ontario.

With the second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming influenza season upon us, cutting registered nurses is completely irresponsible. Lakeridge Health, Toronto Rehab and Southlake Regional Health Centre have cut a combined total of more than 140 registered nurses totaling over 260,000 hours of care lost. The hospitals have cited budget constraints as the reason for these cuts. I am urging the government to step in and conduct audits to prevent these cuts from occurring. ONA is putting together robust member action plans that will tell our communities that the cuts must be rescinded. Stay tuned for further details.

We need your long-term care stories

On March 17, 2020, the government of Ontario declared a state of emergency to “protect” the public from the pandemic.

Yet, the pandemic has become an overwhelming and tragic event for all. More than 1,800 long-term care residents have died of COVID-19. Hundreds of long-term care (LTC) workers became ill, and one registered nurse – ONA member Brian Beattie, who worked at Kensington Village long-term care in London – died on May 12 of COVID-19.

ONA has been sounding alarm about the pre-COVID-19 state of long-term care for years prior to the pandemic and a report by military. Long-term care has long been plagued by underfunding, rising resident acuity with no increase in staff (understaffing), outdated infrastructure, pressures from hospital overcapacity, inadequate government support and legislation, and so much more.

The endless problems in long-term care are devastating. Registered nurses and health-care workers are at great personal risk due to lack of access to personal protective equipment, inadequate infection prevention and control procedures, and ineffective cohorting of residents, all of which contributed to further spread.

Commission launches

The government has rightly identified that there are many substantive problems in long-term care, and has launched Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission to examine how and why COVID-19 spread in LTC, and the impact on the system.

ONA’s next steps, and how you can help

ONA is looking at this Commission as another opportunity to inform the government of our front-line experiences in long-term care. We have already begun to work on a comprehensive plan to provide the commission with key findings and evidence that we hope will bring about positive changes in long-term care for residents and workers.

But we need your help. We need to hear from you about the issues you have faced in long-term care. On September 11, we sent out an email to our long-term care members that included a link to a survey. It is vital that you complete this survey so that we can report back to the government all of the challenges that you have faced. If you did not receive the survey, please email

In the coming months, we will launch other actions and opportunities that will help us advise the government on how to fix long-term care. Please visit often for updates and asks.

The Ontario Health Coalition will be holding a Day of Action on October 8 at 11 a.m. Visit this linkto read the details, including how to participate in an event near you.

We are here to make sure that the shortfalls that happened during this pandemic never happen again. I know we can count on you for your support.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

News You Can Use

Register today for an ONA workshop

Our fall workshops are here! Please take a look at our calendar and book one today! Learn about the Local election process, the power of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Outlook training for members, and so much more. Visit for more information and to register.

Quick Bits and Bytes on

  • Hold the dates! The Provincial Coordinators Meeting (PCM) is being held virtually by Zoom on Wednesday, November 4 and Thursday, November 5 from 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs (EST). The Human Rights and Equity Caucus takes place Tuesday, November 3 from 0900 hrs to 1230 hrs and our PCM Education session runs Friday, November 6 from 0900 hrs to 1130 hrs, also by Zoom. The registration link will be available on our website on October 5.
  • Register now for your Health and Safety Caucus:Next month, our health and safety caucuses will be held by Zoom. This year’s theme is an important one for all: Workplace Violence: Take Action. Please register here:
  • October is Women’s History Month: ONA is proud to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women and girls to our past, present and future. Nurses and health-care professionals make their impact by tackling women’s issues head on, whether they are fighting for pay equity or trying to end violence and harassment in the workplace. Learn more.
  • Mental Health Awareness Month: Nurses and health-care professionals may be experiencing a mental health crisis in silence. Short staffing, overwhelming workloads, widespread violence – these are everyday realities contributing to the stress and trauma workers are suffering. Mental Health Awareness Month brings attention to the prevalence of mental health. Visit this page for additional information and resources.
  • Update your contact information: To ensure that you are receiving important information from ONA, please make sure we have your most up-to-date information, including your personal email address and cell phone number. Click here to complete our online form.

And the nominees are…:

Take a look here at the nominees for the central negotiating teams. Be sure to cast your vote for your candidate when voting begins.


Ontario Nurses’ Association

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400-85 Grenville St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

Tel. (416) 964-8833
Fax. (416) 964-8864
Toll-free. (800) 387-5580

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Posted September 3, 2020

Health and Safety Caucus -October 2020

Hello ONA member,

We are pleased to provide you with this Notice of Meeting for the Ontario Nurses’ Association 2020 Health and Safety Caucuses.

Our meetings are open to any member of the Ontario Nurses’ Association with entitlements.

This year our Health and Safety Caucuses will be held in the digital space (ZOOM meeting) in October 2020. The theme of the workshop is Workplace Violence: Take Action.

In this session members will learn:

  • How to move an unresolved violence issue through the Joint Health and Safety Committee and reporting to the Ministry of Labour.
  • Develop critical thinking skills building on their existing knowledge of workplace violence by:a. Examining and analyzing the issueb. Identifying barriers, and developing strategies to address barriersc. Determining their best course of action and implementing best practices

Please register below for one of our digital Zoom meetings by region and date:

Region 1 – Tuesday, October 6, 2020          Register Now!

Region 2 – Thursday, October 8, 2020         Register Now!

Region 3 – Tuesday, October 13, 2020        Register Now!

Region 4 – Thursday, October 29, 2020       Register Now!

Region 5 – Thursday, October 22, 2020       Register Now!

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing the information for joining (Zoom Link) the Health and Safety Caucus meeting in the region/date selected.

Additional information:

  • It is important that each member wishing to attend our digitally delivered meeting complete their own registration – please do not register for another member.
  • Please download the Zoom app on your device in advance of our virtual meeting and use a device that has good quality speakers, a microphone (this is usually integrated into newer devices), a webcam, and an internet connection.
  • Should you need to edit your registration or change your selected region/date after it is complete, a button to do so is available in your registration confirmation email. Please keep this confirmation email in your files up to the event date.
  • Your email address and personal information are shared with our registration vendor solely for the purpose of this event registration and will not be used/shared for any other purpose.
  • Please note: Our deadline to register is 72 hours prior to the event date/region you wish to attend.

If you need any assistance with your registration, please contact our Event Registration team or call us at tel: (416) 964-8833, ext. 2468   Toll-free: 1-800-387-5580  Toronto office

We look forward to seeing you virtually at the 2020 Health and Safety Caucus in October.


ONA Event Registration Team

Posted Aug 25, 2020

Dear ONA member,

The Ontario Nurses’ Association has released the call for nominations for central negotiating teams for the hospital, nursing home and Victorian Order of Nurses upcoming rounds of bargaining. The call is open from August 24 and will close on September 17 at 4 p.m. EST.

The central negotiating teams are responsible for negotiating the central contracts for hospitals, nursing homes and the Victorian Order of Nurses. The teams develop fulsome proposals based on the results of ONA’s Have Your Say bargaining survey that will be launched in October. In addition, the central team attends central bargaining sessions with the designated employer team.

To learn more about the experiences of a front-line ONA member being a part of a central team, click here to read a detailed article about the process.

If you wish to apply to a central negotiating team, please visit and download, complete and submit the forms by September 17. If you have any questions, please email Beverly Mathers, ONA’s Chief Electoral Officer, at

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada
You can also keep up with Ontario Nurses’ Association on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted July 31, 2020

Labour Day 2020

Labour Day is a statutory holiday that takes place on the first Monday in September. While many Canadians may simply think of Labour Day as the unofficial end to the summer, it is actually a day of great significance for the labour movement and workers’ rights.

In 1872, at a time when unions were still illegal in Canada, a demonstration was held in support of striking workers from the Toronto Typographical Union who were fighting for a shorter work week. What began as a group of 2,000 workers marching through the city streets became a parade of 10,000, standing together at Queen’s Park in solidarity. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald sided with the workers and eventually passed the Trade Union Act, which repealed outdated laws and decriminalized unions.

The events in Toronto showed the power of workers to influence public opinion and shape policy through solidarity. Parades supporting and celebrating workers’ rights became annual traditions across Canada, and in 1894, the Sir John Thompson government passed a law making Labour Day an official statutory day in recognition of the contribution workers made to the labour movement and workers’ rights.

Today, we recognize the efforts of those early leaders of the labour movement. Across Canada, we come together to honour those who have fought to ensure better rights, wages and working conditions for all workers, and to speak out about ongoing labour issues and injustices.

ONA members have taken stands on major labour issues in health care, including workplace violence, health and safety, safe staffing and pay equity. As the roles our members play in the health-care system continue to grow and evolve, ONA will continue working to ensure safe practice settings for those who commit their lives to caring for others.

In 2020, we have seen the labour movement in action, protecting the health and rights of workers. Around the world, unions representing health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemichave fought for the health and safety of their members and the public. ONA members have lobbied the Ontario government to ensure nurses and health-care workers have access proper personal protective equipment and to demand protection for their vulnerable patients, residents and clients.

Even as they are hailed as heroes for their work fighting the pandemic, ONA members have been forced to face down the Ford government on several pieces of legislation that threaten their rights. Nurses and health-care professionals are contacting their MPPs and rallying in their communities to raise public awareness and protest bills 124 and 195, which suppress their wages and override their collective agreements. They are also advocating against Bill 175, legislation ONA warns will fail Ontarians who work in and rely on home and community care.

With their passion and dedication to the health, wellness and safety of their patients and clients, ONA members play a vital role in strengthening their communities and the labour movement. As patient advocates, ONA members – RNs, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and health-care professionals – are committed to speaking out about many issues that directly affect their ability to deliver high quality care.

Source and more info available here

Posted July 31, 2020

Staffing Study Gets Much Right on Long-Term Care,

ONA Urges Action Backed up by Funding

TORONTO, ON., July 30, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says the new report on long-term care staffing levels makes many effective recommendations; however, if the government fails to take swift action and back up the implementation with appropriate funding, long-term care will not improve.

“It is not surprising that the report calls for increased staffing,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “It was evident to so many for so long, and something that ONA and long-term care advocates have been vocal about for a decade. What is absolutely imperative is that the appropriate mix of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, health-care professionals and others be recruited and retained by long-term care homes.”

McKenna is pleased that the report recommends a minimum of four hours of care per resident per day; however, notes that there is a large body of evidence that shows that care must be direct, hands-on nursing and personal care. In a survey of Ontarians commissioned by ONA this spring,  88 per cent of respondents agree that long-term care facilities do not have enough staff, that 81 per cent are concerned about the well-being of residents, and that 75 per cent of respondents believe employers and government could have done more to keep residents safe from COVID-19.

“I hope this report on long-term care staffing is the start of action and the end to the delays,” says McKenna. “Those who work in long-term care are passionate about their residents and the care they provide. They truly deserve working conditions that enable them to provide that exceptional care. Our long-term care residents deserve no less than excellent quality care, dignity and respect.”

Source available here

Posted, July 16, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

On July 13, 2020, I sent you an email about Bill 195 – the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

As ONA members, we are angry with this draconian legislation that takes away our rights especially after all you have given over the last five months of this pandemic to Ontarians.

We are anticipating that Bill 195 will pass early next week in the legislature without amendments. This Bill, like prior bills of this government, is an attack on the hard-won rights of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and health-care professionals through collective bargaining.

I spoke last night with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A number of their hospital and long-term care bargaining units will be holding workplace rallies tomorrow, Friday, July 17, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

If you have a CUPE bargaining unit in your workplace, please reach out to your bargaining unit leaders and join together in the protests to stop Bill 195.

There is strength in numbers. This government needs to see us as union members standing together to defend our rights. Enough is enough!

I am encouraging you to proudly display signs. If you don’t have them, you can make your own sign and identify yourself as an ONA member. Be visible as nurses and health-care professionals. Practice physical distancing and wear a mask.

About Bill 195 – What You Need to Know

  • Bill 195 gives your employer the power to disregard important sections of your collective agreement and delay the grievance arbitration procedure. This means the government will be able to keep in place the emergency orders (redeployment, denial and cancellation of vacations, changes in hours of work, ability to work at only one employer) even when the emergency is no longer declared.
  • Government will be able to change these orders for up to a year without having to go back to the legislature. This bill allows the government to amend the orders and make even more severe restrictions on collective bargaining rights.
  • During the town hall on Monday night, I heard you loud and clear about the negative impact these emergency measures may have on your work and personal life.

This is no way to recognize the valuable work and commitment you have shown your patients and residents during this pandemic. It is for these and many other reasons that we must join with other unionized workers and protest to stop Bill 195.

You Can Do More – Call Your MPP

As I mentioned, there is strength in numbers and our voices need to be heard. I am again asking you to make it a priority to call your MPP. The contact information for MPPs in their constituency office is at this link. Please contact if you need any assistance.

Tell your MPP:

  1. Bill 195 is unnecessary when the pandemic emergency has ended.
  2. Bill 195 should not be used to override your collective agreement rights when the pandemic emergency has ended.
  3. You and your colleagues need a respite break this summer and Bill 195 should not enable employers to deny vacation and change schedules.
  4. The government can quickly introduce a new state of emergency and emergency orders should a second wave of the pandemic emergency arise.

ONA members need to continue to be visible to the public and MPPs in your communities. Your elected representative is vulnerable and at risk of losing constituent support in the next election.

If this legislation passes next week, our fight is not over. We will not back down. In the coming weeks, we will continue to pressure the government to immediately revoke the emergency orders and revert to your collective agreements as is permitted by legislation.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted, June 30, 2020

Ontario Nurses’ Association Cheers Midwives’ Victory,

Urges Provincial Government to End Legal Fight Against Pay Equity

TORONTO, June 30, 2020 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) congratulates the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) on a landmark ruling from Ontario’s Divisional Court, that upholds the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal’s decision that the Ministry of Health discriminated against the midwives on the basis of sex when setting their compensation. In the wake of this pay equity victory, ONA urges the provincial government to drop its prolonged legal fight against pay equity for female-dominated professions and instead truly value the vital work performed by nurses, midwives and other sex-segregated health-care professionals.

This decision confirms that the government has a proactive obligation to prevent systemic gender discrimination, which includes ensuring that funding policies, programs, and formulas are designed based on a substantive equality analysis, and regularly monitored. ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN congratulates the midwives on their perseverance and adds that nurses and health-care professionals stand in solidarity with them. She urges the province to end the legal actions against pay equity now.

“Now is the time for action, not litigation,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “The province has spent many years and far too much money in the courts in battles that it repeatedly loses.”

McKenna urges the Ford government to turn its attention to ending gender discrimination and put an end to its futile battle. “The decision by Ontario Divisional Court to deny the province’s request for a judicial review of an earlier pay equity ruling is clear. This is 2020, gender discrimination against professions which are predominantly female is unacceptable.”

Ontario registered nurses working in private nursing homes face a similar, prolonged battle with government to maintain pay equity. Last year, ONA won a fight for pay-equity maintenance for these RNs with no male comparators in their workplace. The Ford government along with 143 private nursing homes have since appealed the decision, prolonging the now-14-year court battle. This heads to Ontario’s Court of Appeal in October. The Ford government has also passed wage-suppression legislation – Bill 124 – to hold wage increases to a total of one per cent for three years for nurses, while exempting male-dominated professions such as police and firefighters.

Source available here

Posted, June 26, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

There is a ground swell with nurses and health-care professionals speaking out! This is amazing and encouraging. The outrage surrounding the hospital provincial contract has raised awareness of the impact of the discriminatory legislation of Bill 124 that undervalues your contribution each and every day, particularly during the pandemic, and widens the gender pay gap for nurses and health-care professionals.

  • I know some of you are seeking support and suggestions for ways to protest Bill 124. Through ONA’s Take Action site, we can help you plan meetings with your MPP and support local actions and rallies to put pressure on Premier Ford and his government to repeal Bill 124 or, at the very least, to exempt nurses and health-care professionals.
  • ONA’s Board of Directors is anxious to work alongside ONA leaders and members.
  • ONA can provide logistical support and resources, including key messages for your MPP meeting or for talking with local media.
  • MPPs are most likely to feel the pressure from local actions in their riding. You are their constituents and the votes they count on to be elected. The next provincial election is less than two years away.
  • That means we have to keep the pressure up over the next two years, building to a pre-election and election campaign to elect a government that respects and values the work of nurses and health-care professionals.
  • More than 39,000 individuals have sent our online message to the Premier and his Ministers and their local MPP to repeal Bill 124 or exempt nurses and health-care professionals. If you haven’t sent in your message, please send it today.
  • Keep an eye out for ONA’s print ads in major provincial papers on Saturday that will clearly point out who is responsible for the situation we face.
  • This ad is also in Hospital News for the month of July.

Together, we have a two-year window to put pressure on the government to roll-back the regressive changes to our health-care system introduced by Premier Ford as a result of underfunding and understaffing long-term care, home care, public health, hospitals and primary care.

  • It’s time for a new inclusive vision for Ontario health care.
  • I’m up to the challenge, and I know many of you are eager to get started so let’s work together to make a difference!

Please be safe as we work our way out of this pandemic and take our actions to support our patients, residents and clients.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted, June 16, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

On November 7, 2019, the PC government passed their Bill 124 – An Act to Implement Moderation Measures in Respect of Compensation in Ontario’s Public Sector. All the members of the PC Party voted to pass the bill and all of the NDP and Liberal opposition members voted against it. In short, this Actimposes a cap on compensation increases for a three-year period and prevents ONA from freely negotiating the rightful compensation that our members deserve.

ONA and other unions, including the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), opposed this legislation.

We submitted that the Act would substantially interfere with bargaining in meetings with government and in the government hearings on Bill 124 in 2019. Bill 124 passed because the Doug Ford government has a majority of seats, and has more votes than the opposition parties.

By forcing front-line nurses and health-care professionals to accept compensation increases that fall far below the rate of inflation, Bill 124 negatively impacts morale and the nursing shortage in Ontario and, by extension, the quality of public health care and patient safety.

What is Bill 124 and why does it matter?

  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of employees to act collectively through their union to have a meaningful say over their working conditions through a process of collective bargaining.
  • Bill 124 is a law that interferes with free collective bargaining for ONA members.
  • The legislation places a cap on public-sector compensation at one per cent per year for a three-year period.
  • Compensation includes not only wages but also wage-related items such as benefits, premiums and so on.
  • The Act applies to crown agencies, school boards, universities and colleges, hospitals, non-profit long-term care homes, and children’s aid societies.
  • Bill 124, however, exempts municipalities, including municipal police and firefighters, in addition to nurses in for-profit long-term care homes, home care, and family health team sectors.
  • The legislation applies to both negotiated settlements and decisions by arbitrators. This means that an arbitrator does not have the freedom or authority to award a wage increase greater than one per cent or as they deem fit or their award will be declared void by the government.
  • The legislation also prevents compensation increases before or after the moderation period that try to make up for the government-imposed wage cap.
  • The recent decision by Arbitrator Stout for our hospital collective agreement demonstrates the direct effect of this legislation on free collective bargaining.
  • Bill 124 also perpetuates systemic gender discrimination and violates the right to gender equality under the Charter.
  • The legislation explicitly excludes male-dominated public sector workers, such as municipal firefighters and police, and disproportionately applies to female workers in health care, who are subjected to wage caps.
  • A recent court decision in Manitoba found that their version of Bill 124 did prevent meaningful collective bargaining of monetary issues, and that the wage caps imposed were not consistent with collective bargaining outcomes in other public sector bargaining units.
  • The decision in the Manitoba Federation of Labour versus the Manitoba Government is a significant victory for unions in Canada and it strengthens ONA’s Charter challenge to Ontario’s Bill 124.

What ONA has done about Bill 124

  • On December 17, 2019, ONA put out a media release regarding the launch of our constitutional challenge of Bill 124. Our Charter Challenge has not yet been heard.
  • ONA lobbied the government for specific Ministerial exemptions of collective agreements, which could be allowed under the Act. The government continues to maintain that public sector compensation needs to be restrained under Bill 124.
  • ONA participated in meetings with the government that were billed as “consultations” but were just government-appointed lawyers telling the unions the economic and deficit rationale for why the government was implementing Bill 124. ONA provided a strong statement against Bill 124 during these meetings and asked for disclosure, which the government never provided.
  • ONA provided a full submission to the legislative hearings on Bill 124. ONA’s submission called out the government’s attack on the Charter rights of our members to a meaningful collective bargaining process. As part of our recommendations, ONA argued that nurses should be exempt from the application of Bill 124.
  • ONA met directly with the President of the Treasury Board, and put forward our rationale to exempt nurses and health-care professionals from Bill 124. The government’s position to us has not changed. The government says this Bill is necessary because of the high costs of compensation in the public sector that must be reduced to help to eliminate the provincial deficit. ONA disagrees with the government’s claim that there has been growth in the compensation of public sector workers. Our analysis shows the opposite – a cut to real wages by more than four per cent over the past 10 years.
  • ONA sent a follow up letter to the President of the Treasury Board President seeking an exemption for the hospital sector and other ONA members covered by the Act. The government did not respond to our request for exempting the hospital sector. ONA, again, sent a reminder letter as we did not receive a response to our request.
  • I outlined key messages on the impact of Bill 124 at the ONA Biennial in 2019 and in other ONA communications, such as in Front Lines, eNewsand in This Week @ ONA.
  • I also spoke at a major rally at Queen’s Park on April 30 organized by the Ontario Health Coalition, and publicized to all ONA members, which was attended by a contingent of members, leaders and staff.

What we can all do together

  • Nurses play a major role in protecting public health and safety, like police officers and firefighters, and should be granted the same exemption from Bill 124 and treated equally to these other comparable groups in the municipal sector.
  • Together, we can continue to speak out against the effects of Bill 124.
  • We have set up an online email to send to the Premier, Ministers and your MPP. So far, more than 32,000 people have sent the email to the Premier that can be sent from 124.
  • The government will be up for re-election in less than two years, so it is important to keep up the pressure and hold the government accountable for their actions. They were elected by Ontarians like you.
  • We can help. ONA staff in Communications and Government Relations are available to assist you and your colleagues to set up meetings with your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). Staff can assist you in arranging a meeting and with speaking points for your meeting. Your MPP is the most vulnerable because they want to get re-elected and ONA members hold 68,000 votes. Please contact for assistance.
  • Staff in Communications and Government Relations can also assist you with messages on Bill 124 for any interviews or opportunities you may have to talk with your local media. Please contact for assistance.
  • In the coming days, we will be communicating messages to your Bargaining Unit leaders for local actions such as meeting with your MPP, or small rallies outside of your local MPP’s constituency office in accordance with the pandemic Emergency Orders. You can make your vote count.
  • ONA will also continue with our provincial lobby of the government and will continue to put pressure on the government through outreach to the public. We will continue to work with other unions and like-minded stakeholders to have Bill 124 amended or repealed.
  • I will keep you informed. It is important for you to update your contact information at ONA so we can continue to send you ongoing information. Our website contains a wealth of information about the work of ONA, including bargaining updates and issues of importance to our members. Visit:
  • Please go to the ONA website to update your information:

Let’s work together to put pressure on the government to withdraw Bill 124, or exempt nurses and health-care professionals.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted, June 12, 2020

Outraged Ontario Hospital RNs Taking Action to Fight Wage Suppression Legislation

Highlights of Arbitrated Collective Agreement & Items in Agreement (April 1, 2020-June 8, 2021)

Click here Full Arbitrator document.

Ontario Hospital Registered Nurses, Deeply Disappointed with New Arbitrated Contract

Posted, June 10, 2020

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

As your President, I want to acknowledge the disappointment and anger expressed by many of you over Arbitrator Stout’s recent decision for the hospital contract.

As you may know from our media statement on the contract he forced upon us, everyone at ONA is deeply disappointed.

All members in the hospital sector have been deemed to be essential and are not permitted to strike. Instead, the hospital sector is covered by the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA).

This means when your elected Hospital Central Negotiating Team reaches an impasse in bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), we must then refer all issues in dispute to an agreed upon arbitrator.

This round of bargaining was also hampered from the start because the hospital sector is covered under Bill 124 – Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act that restricts increases to compensation to only one percent.

You will read below about the many actions ONA engaged in to seek an exemption of hospital RNs and health-care professionals from Bill 124.  We have and will continue to strongly advocate on your behalf.

Unfortunately, the conservative government was able to push through Bill 124 as they have a majority of seats in the legislature.

Given the experience we have had during COVID-19, Premier Ford may be moved if he feels the pressure from you and your co-workers, the majority of front-line nurses and health-care professionals in our union.

If we take united action together, this could persuade Premier Ford to make the changes you want and deserve.

We will work with each of you and your bargaining unit leaders to organize and mobilize your colleagues to call for Bill 124 to be repealed or at least provide an exemption for the hospital sector. If this happens, the arbitrator is seized and has the ability to reopen compensation in the collective agreement.

ONA Actions on Bill 124

ONA representatives and I participated in a series of meetings with government that were billed as “consultations” but were just government-appointed lawyers telling the unions the economic/deficit rationale for why the government was implementing Bill 124 and restricting free collective bargaining.

We provided a statement during these meetings and asked for disclosure, which was not provided. The government-appointed lawyers simply repeated the government’s key messages.

ONA provided a written submission to the legislative hearings to the Bill 124 hearings (which was posted on the ONA website and promoted on social media).

We met with the Premier in early October 2019 and encouraged him not to pass the legislation. As well, ONA met with the President of the Treasury Board, the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy (MPP for Pickering—Uxbridge). While the Minister listened to our concerns, he did not take action.

We followed up our meeting with the Treasury Board President with a letter requesting an exemption for the hospital sector. The government ignored our request despite a reminder letter.

In addition, ONA put out a media release demanding the government reconsider this unjust interference in our collective bargaining and a further media releaseabout launching a constitutional challenge of Bill 124. As you may know, such challenges take a number of years to work through the courts.

ONA Next Steps – Keeping the Pressure on the Ford Government

Today, we have set up an email message for you and your colleagues to send to the Premier, Ministers and the Treasury Board President. We will be promoting this email on social media. We are calling on Premier Ford to repeal Bill 124, or at least provide an exemption for the hospital sector.

I want you to know that ONA staff are also available to assist you and your colleagues to meet with your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). Staff can assist you in arranging a meeting and with messages.

I will update you as we develop further actions for your participation.

Thank you for your energy and engagement as we put pressure on the Ford government to take action.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN

Posted, May 6, 2020

Posted, March 24, 2020

Hello ONA members,

This communication is the first of many to keep you updated on the actions that ONA is taking on your behalf.

First, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your tremendous courage and commitment to your patients.

Ontarians need every nurse and health-care professional to be screening and treating COVID-19 patients with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in place.

Safeguarding ONA members and our health-care workforce to provide care for Ontarians is our paramount priority.

On March 17, the Government of Ontario declared an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This is in effect until March 31 when it will be reassessed.

ONA has been part of daily teleconference briefings, and we have a seat at multiple government tables.

ONA is closely monitoring this evolving situation, and has initiated a special internal task force to respond, as quickly as we can, to the threat of the emerging coronavirus.

Below are the top five things that we believe you need to know about COVID-19 at this time.

1. Minister’s Order for Redeployment of Nurses and Health-Care Professionals

On March 21 at 9:20 p.m., the Solicitor General issued an Order under the province’s March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency. This temporary order, for 14 days, gives hospitals the ability to cancel and postpone services to free-up space and staff, identify staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans.

Under this temporary Order, hospitals will be able to respond to, prevent and alleviate an outbreak of COVID-19 by carrying out measures such as:

  • Redeploying staff within different locations in (or between) facilities of the hospital;
  • Redeploying staff to work in COVID-19 assessment centres;
  • Changing the assignment of work, including assigning non-bargaining unit employees or contractors to perform bargaining unit work;
  • Changing the scheduling of work or shift assignments;
  • Deferring or cancelling vacations, absences or other leaves, regardless of whether such vacations, absences or leaves are established by statute, regulation, agreement or otherwise;
  • Employing extra part-time or temporary staff or contractors, including for the purpose of performing bargaining unit work;
  • Using volunteers to perform work, including to perform bargaining work; and
  • Providing appropriate training or education as needed to staff and volunteers to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.

ONA has now had a discussion with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to determine if we can negotiate principles provincially. This will not happen. We have developed some principles to discuss at the bargaining unit level with your ONA Labour Relations Officer to ensure members’ voice is represented. Ideally, this may help with some coordination across hospital employers when they take actions on redeployment.

I know that you and your colleagues will do everything you can to assist with this pandemic, but I also know you need proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95s, and training if you are deployed or reassigned to a higher-risk area than your regular assignment.

I will continue to keep you updated as we progress with our negotiations on implementation of the government’s Order.

2. Proper Personal Protective Equipment

I have been very clear in stating ONA’s position to all levels of government: every nurse or health-care professional screening or treating a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient needs to have access to fit-tested N95 or better protection, as warranted.

We advised the government that all of our members – each of you – are determined to provide the very best care and services to Ontarians.

However, as we learned all too well during the 2003 SARS crisis in Ontario, we need to ensure that each of you are cared for and protected from contracting COVID-19, if you are all to remain on the front lines of this pandemic.

To date, we have seen conflicting scientific research that shows how COVID-19 is transmitted.

We agree the virus is likely spread through droplets but there is evidence that it is also borne through the air.

We do not agree the recommendations in Directive #1 from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (see ONA’s website: provide the proper personal protective equipment when screening or treating suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

For this reason, we are following the recommendations from the SARS Commission that when the science is conflicting and uncertain, every precaution has to be taken to keep health-care workers safe.

To be very clear, we are not calling for every single health-care worker to don an N95 respirator or better.

However, every nurse or health-care professional screening or treating a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient needs to have access to at least a fit-tested N95 or better protection.

Again and again, it’s been shown that when health-care workers are safe, patients are safe.

If a shortage of proper personal protective equipment arises, then the government and employers need to implement other options and engineering measures that can be taken to prevent transmission of COVID-19 during screening – plexiglass barriers, for example.

We cannot afford to have the very same argument in this province that we had during SARS.

We have learned the hard way – with the deaths of two registered nurses during SARS – that the precautionary principle is paramount.

We continue to call on government, employers and public health leaders to work with us to avoid the unnecessary further spread of COVID-19.

We also need to ensure clear, consistent and mandatory directives to employers across all health-care sectors and sites.

3. Self-Isolation after International Travel or Exposure to Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

It is ONA’s position that all nurses and health-care workers must self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada from international travel, including travel from the United States.

The recommendations released by the Chief Medical Officer of Health on March 19 are not directives to health-care employers. Therefore, employers are able to exempt staff from the requirement to self-isolate, after international travel, if designated as essential and critical to the employer’s operations.

ONA believes this is a mistake and will needlessly expose health-care workers and patients to COVID-19, even if health-care workers are not showing symptoms when they are ordered to return to work after international travel.

We also believe that the recommendations should be made mandatory and extended to self-isolation for any health-care worker who has been exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

4. ONA Members who are immunosuppressed (or for family members) or Pregnant

It is ONA’s position that any ONA member who has an immunosuppressed or immunocompromised condition or pregnant should be speaking with their Bargaining Unit President for assistance to be accommodated into a low-risk or administrative area. If you face any issues of being accommodated, please also speak with your Bargaining Unit President.

5. Managing Supplies, Including PPE

While ONA’s position remains that every nurse and health-care professional must have access to fit-tested N95s or better protection if screening or treating suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, we also believe that there may be ways to implement administrative measures and engineering controls, such as plexiglass barriers, to conserve supplies and PPE.

We also agree that ONA members must be good stewards of available supply of PPE and other supplies, while maintaining your safety. Access to N95s must be readily available.

Summary of Our Lobby and ONA Actions to Date

At ONA, our number one priority is speaking out and protecting our members to keep them healthy and safe so they can continue to provide care on the front lines.

As a result, we have taken a number steps to provide communications to our local leaders and members to keep everyone updated on emerging issues and evolving developments.

We have developed a dedicated webpage on our main website: This web page houses all documents issued by the Ontario government and communications from ONA.

ONA held a telephone town hall and Facebook Live event with our members at the end of January, and again on March 17. The audio files of this town hall are posted on Facebook and on our dedicated web page.

ONA Leadership has been actively raising issues at all government tables where we have a seat. ONA Leadership is in constant communication with senior government officials – from the Premier’s office to the Minister of Health to the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

ONA’s President is responding to multiple requests from provincial media throughout the day. I can tell you that I am doing extensive media interviews to get out our messages on PPE and the protection of front-line staff from exposure to COVID-19.

All media releases responding to government actions are housed on our main web page under the media room.

ONA has launched an online email campaign to advocate for proper PPE for our members.

ONA is also working with our labour allies, including holding a joint media conference to advocate for proper PPE.

The Presidents of ONA and three other health-care unions also held a teleconference directly with the Minister of Health to press for proper PPE.

In addition, ONA is working with the official opposition to raise our issues at any tables with government and with their media work.

Directions on labour relations matters have been sent to staff labour relations officers and to ONA bargaining unit presidents on almost a daily basis, including grievance language and processes for health and safety complaints.

ONA is developing a litigation strategy that may include a central rights arbitration for our hospital sector and a possible injunction to await the results stemming from the arbitration.

ONA is participating in daily teleconferences with government officials that provide an update on government priority work for that day.


In summary, the major issues that have arisen in addition to the supply of and access to proper PPE, include:

  • The issue of droplet versus airborne precautions and proper PPE. ONA’s view is that the virus is spread by droplets but may be borne by air.
  • The issue of nurses and health-care workers returning from international travel and the requirement for self-isolation for 14 days. We now have forced the government to issue guidance but it is not a mandatory directive to hospitals and other employers. It requires self-isolation and not returning to work if sick, but it allows employers to determine and to exempt essential staff critical to their operations.
  • Already some hospitals have been designating all nurses and health-care workers as essential. This approach is needlessly risky and potentially spreading exposure to the virus.
  • The capacity (including a shortage of swabs) to test cases showing COVID-19 symptoms and who are under investigation is being stretched, including access to a telehealth line for advice.

ONA will continue to advocate on behalf of the health and safety of our members, including up to their limited right to refuse unsafe work assignments.

Please keep yourself informed as best as possible.

As information becomes available, the ONA website is being updated as quickly as possible – it is your best resource for new information.

As a reminder, please visit:

Stay safe and stay protected.

Thank you for your tremendous courage, and your dedication to your profession and your patients.

Vicki McKenna, RN
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)

March 10, 2020

September 28, 2019

Nurses know what its like to work on the front-lines of health care in Ontario.

Our experience providing care for our communities is invaluable and our votes matter. is a resource to help members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) get reliable, evidence-based information before we mark our ballots in the federal election this fall.

September 19, 2019

Dear ONA members,

You may have heard or read about HOOPP’s (Hospital of Ontario Pension Plan’s) lawsuit with the Tax Authority in Denmark in the media.

As you may know, the Danish Tax Authority is claiming that HOOPP is not entitled to tax reclaims. HOOPP’s position is that HOOPP is eligible through the Canada/Denmark tax treaty.

Please be assured that HOOPP followed the laws and processes of the Denmark/Canada tax treaty, and should be entitled to recover the dividend tax refund. The dispute is before the tax tribunal and court, and so it would not be appropriate for ONA to make any further comment.

We continue to monitor this case closely.

We have been briefed by HOOPP management and are confident that they are managing the situation appropriately.

Please be assured that HOOPP has your best interests in mind as they manage this situation. The situation has no impact on HOOPP’s ability to pay pensions.

ONA will continue to keep you informed and will provide you with any key updates as quickly as we can.

in solidarity,


Vicki McKenna, RN

Ontario Nurses’ Association
85 Grenville Street, Suite 400
Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

416-964-8833 ext. 2314
toll free 1 800 387 5580


Federal Election 2019 fact sheet for ONA members

Source available here

Canada’s Federal Election is on Monday October 21, 2019. ONA’s Nurses’ Vote campaign is a call-to-action to protect and strengthen public health care. As nurses and health-care professionals, we have tremendous power when we raise our voices and vote.

What’s at stake and why should I vote?

This election comes at a politically uncertain moment. Recent polls show that the Conservative Party – led by Andrew Scheer – either leads or is in a statistical tie with the governing Liberal Party. Already, Scheer’s discussions of a balanced budget within two years, threats to labour and union rights, and hostility towards spending on the public sector signal a difficult political landscape should the Conservative Party be elected to form the next federal government.

Nurses remember former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cuts to health-care funding. In Ontario, we are increasingly alarmed by Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford’s reckless shot-in-the dark approach to health-care reform. The situation is already bad enough – and Ontario’s population is aging and growing. This October, we need to elect a federal government that will strengthen and protect public health care.

Isn’t health care a provincial issue?

The federal government is a major funder of public health care. It is responsible for the Canada Health Transfer, Canada’s largest major transfer payment, which provides financial support to help provinces and territories pay for health care. The federal government also enforces the guiding principles of the Canada Health Act, the legislation that governs our universally accessible, publicly funded and not-for-profit health-care system.

For these reasons, all political parties must clearly communicate their plans for a strong public health-care system. Federal health-care transfer payments must be increased to ensure that all Canadians can access a robust, properly funded and staffed health-care system. The Canada Health Act must be enforced to stop the proliferation of private, for-profit delivery of health-care services. We need to demand more from politicians vying for our votes.

What specific issues is ONA focused on this election?

  • Universal pharmacare: For decades, nurses have been outspoken advocates for making prescription drugs more affordable. We support a national pharmacare program that is governed by the following principles: public, single payer administration; accessibility; comprehensiveness; universality; and, portable coverage.
  • Violence in the workplace and staffing: We support a pan-Canadian prevention strategy to address violence against nurses and health-care workers. This includes a health human resources plan to recruit and retain RN positions, targeted funding for violence-prevention programs and infrastructure, and research funding to better track violent incidents.
  • Long-Term Care: We support calls for the federal government to develop national care standards for home care and long-term care to be amended into the Canada Health Act. We have long advocated for the elimination and/or phasing out of all for-profit long-term care homes. Public funding flowing to long-term care homes must ensure a minimum care standard of four hours of nursing and personal care for residents.In addition, we are on record as supporting public funding for a transition to a public home-care system in Ontario that eliminates the current competitive bidding system for contracts primarily delivered by the for-profit sector.
  • Social determinants of health: ONA supports upstream policy approaches that improve the health and well-being of all Canadians, including: affordable child care and supportive housing, implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and tackling catastrophic climate change.

How do I get involved?

Check back here at You will find up-to-date information on events in your riding, all-candidates debates, and our phone banking schedule. We will also feature election-related materials that you can use in your workplace and with your colleagues to talk about the issues that matter to nurses and health professionals.

I need information on how to vote!

Elections Canada is your one-stop-shop for all information related to the 2019 Federal Election. Find your federal riding, voting hours and locations, registration and identification, key dates and everything in between. Visit or call 1-800-463-6868 (toll free).

Key Dates

  • Televised Election Debate (French): Wednesday, October 2
  • Televised Election Debate (English): Monday, October 7
  • Televised Election Debate (French): Thursday, October 10
  • On-campus voting open: October 5 – 9, 2019. New for Election 2019: cast your vote at 115 campuses across Canada. You don’t need to be a student to vote on a campus.
  • Advance polls open: October 11 – 14, 2019. Your assigned polling station will be open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  • Election Day: Monday October 21, 2019. Your assigned polling station will be open from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Last again – Ontario has the most dismal RN-to-population ratio in the country

June 27, 2019

TORONTO – The ratio of registered nurses per capita in Ontario remains the lowest in the country for the fourth year in a row, continuing to put the quality of care for the province’s patients at risk, says the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

A report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on registered nurses (RNs) in Canada shows that the province of Ontario continues to be in last place in the RN-to-100,000 population ratio.

Full article here

June 1st is Injured Workers’ Day

May 27, 2019

On June 1, we join with labour and social justice organizations from across Ontario to recognize Injured Workers’ Day and stand up for those who have been injured or made ill as a result of their work.

Over three thousand injured workers gathered at Queen’s Park on June 1, 1983 forcing a government committee working on major changes to Ontario’s workers’ compensation system to conduct a public hearing on the steps of the legislature. This historic day led to subsequent annual rallies— on the day known as Injured Workers’ Day – to continually advocate for the worker’s protection.

Health-care workers have some of the highest rates of injury and illness statistics in the workforce. At the same time, our workers’ compensation system is in crisis as cuts to benefits and changes to policies make it more difficult for injured workers to get fair compensation and adequate protection.

On the night before Injured Workers’ Day (May 31), the annual Women of Inspiration Overnight Vigil will take place at Queen’s Park. The Injured Workers’ Day Rally will take place on June 1 at Queen’s Park starting at 11:00 a.m.

ONA Celebrates Historic Pay Equity Win; A 13-year pursuit for fairness and equity for nursing home Registered Nurses

May 1, 2019

TORONTO, May 1, 2019 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is celebrating a significant win following a 13-year-long battle to maintain pay equity rights for registered nurses (RNs) working in female-dominated professions.

Original article available here

Posted March 20, 2019

Source: Ontario Health Coalition

Private Health Care Will Hurt Ontarians: Ontario Nurses’ Association Urgently Calls on Government to Consult Front-Line Providers

Posted: February 4, 2019

TORONTO, February 4, 2019 – The privatization of parts of Ontario’s health-care system has the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) deeply concerned about the impact on health-care professionals and patient care.

ONA is calling for the province to maintain the publicly delivered, publicly funded system and consult now with front-line health-care providers before implementing changes to the health-care system.

“ONA represents more than 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals delivering care across this province,” notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “We are there at our patients’ side throughout the health-care system, delivering high-quality care to those in hospitals, long-term care, in the community, in clinics, public health units and even in industry. It is absolutely vital that before any restructuring of health care occurs, the government consult with us.”

McKenna adds that nurses know the challenges facing the province and has a wealth of knowledge and advice to offer. Nurses also know that privatizing health-care delivery will not benefit anyone but for-profit corporations.

“Experience in home-care delivery has shown us that private, for-profit delivery is detrimental to not only our clients but to taxpayers,” said McKenna. “Why would any of us, as taxpayers, want our public dollars to go to for-profit companies?”

McKenna said that ONA is monitoring potential changes to the health-care system closely and is available to share front-line nurses’ knowledge with government to improve the system.

ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 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.


Posted November 25, 2018

Updates from the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is participating in the Public Inquiry into Long-Term Care.

ONA has signaled that it is participating in order to ensure that a tragedy like the Elizabeth Wettlaufer case never again occurs. ONA will post updates on the proceedings regularly.

Posted August 1, 2018

July 31, 2018

Click here to read the hospital decision by Arbitrator Kaplan and the summary document.

TORONTO – Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) nurses and health-care professional members working in the hospital sector will learn details of their new two-year contract today.

The contract for 61,000 hospital members is the result of an arbitration award; the contract includes a wage increase of 1.4 per cent retroactive to April 1, 2018 and a 1.75-per-cent increase on April 1, 2019. The contract expires on March 31, 2020.

“These wage increases do not reflect the value of the care of our dedicated members,” said ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “However, they are significantly higher than the increases proposed by the employer. This contract is certainly not everything our dedicated registered nurses and health-care professionals hoped it would be. However, the award does provide for some improvement in benefits, and it clarifies that the obligation to keep workplaces free from violence includes being free from domestic violence.

“Heavy workload issues and workplace violence continue to be of deep concern to ONA members,” McKenna notes, “as they impact both the safety of their patients and their own work lives.”

In addition, there is now protection for new nursing graduates who do not pass the controversial NCLEX entry-to-practice exam. “Rather than being terminated if they have secured employment, the nursing graduates can take an unpaid leave until they achieve certification,” McKenna said.

McKenna notes that arbitrator William Kaplan did not agree to the concessions sought by the Ontario Hospital Association.

ONA is the union representing 65,000 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.

Posted March 7, 2018

Dear ONA Member,

Your employer has proceeded with their new ID badge initiative despite counter advice from ONA, OPSEU, SEIU Healthcare and employee representatives on the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

On February 23, 2018, Arbitrator William Marcotte, in OPSEU vs Cambridge Memorial Hospital, found the hospital’s new name tag policy to be unreasonable under the KVP test and to be in breach of s. 25(2)(h) of Ontario Health and Safety Act. In the ruling, he directed that current hospital policy and practices continue to apply to OPSEU members and he recommended that a risk assessment of the hospital’s name tag policy be conducted.

ONA’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for June; SEIU Healthcare’s arbitration hearing will be in July.

ONA asked the hospital to immediately suspend the issuance of its new employee ID badges that commenced on February 26 and is to conclude on March 9. Moreover, your union asked the hospital to reverse its decision to show both first and last names on employee ID badges. It is believed the hospital will only apply the above ruling, for now, to OPSEU members.

Please note, the hospital has not responded to your union’s inquiries at labour management meetings regarding the hospital’s commitment to accommodate the safety and privacy of employees with “special circumstances” which is consistent with CMH’s overall dismissal of employee concerns as “tenuous at best.”

In contrast, Arbitrator Marcotte found that the requirement to have first and last names on name tags is a new safety risk for employees. With full names on ID badges, stalkers and disgruntled individuals can more easily discover additional personal information through the internet and modern technology. While the likelihood of increased risk may be low, the consequences may be serious for the employee and the employee’s family.

The hospital has procedures in place concerning workplace safety risks, but they do not consider the new risk created by its name tag policy and are reactive in nature. ONA believes that any perceived benefit that may exist due to full names appearing on ID badges is overshadowed by the increased unease and vulnerability employees feel outside of the workplace.

As this matter continues to unfold, any employee who feels that an unnecessary risk to personal safety is being taken by having both their first and last name appear on their ID badge should immediately communicate their concern to their manager and a steward.

If you have any questions, or any incidents in which you want to share with ONA, do not hesitate to contact your Bargaining Unit President, Brenda Pugh at or in Brenda’s absence, Deanna King at

In Solidarity,


Deanna King, RN

Labour Relations Officer
55 Head Street West, Suite 306
Dundas, ON L9H 3H8

Phone: 905-628-0850 Ext. 5047
or 1-800-387-5580, Press ‘1’ for English, press ‘1’ for Hamilton, Ext. 5047
Fax: 905-628-2557
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. “
Maya Angelou

Posted January 31, 2018


Thank you Ruth Ann Vlassic

Ruth Ann has been our Treasurer for Local 55 and this portfolio has now been transferred to Tara Farias.

While Ruth Anne embarks on a new chapter (retirement), we like to thank her for her service and all the years at the helm of our local Finances.

Posted January 7, 2018

Bill 148, what you should know.

A plan for fair workplaces and better jobs (Bill 148)

Learn more about changes to Ontario’s employment and labour laws and how you benefit.

Click here for a summary, click here to read about the legislation

Some highlights:

Personal emergency leave

What’s changing

Currently, some employees have the right to take up to 10 days of unpaid, job-protected leave, each calendar year due to illness, injury and other emergencies/ urgent matters. But these rules only apply to workplaces with 50 or more employees.

The legislation will require all employers to give all employees 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two paid days if the employee has been employed for one week or longer (7 days).

Comes into effect

This will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

Posted December 6, 2017

ONA Celebrates Win for Front-Line Nurses: Government announces nurses to be covered under PTSD presumptive legislation


December 6, 2017

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is celebrating an announcement by the provincial government that nurses will be included in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) legislation.

“We are ecstatic that the government has decided to do the right thing and include front-line nurses in the presumptive legislation,” said ONA Provincial President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. “ONA has always known that nurses are in every way first responders and vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a great day for nurses who work so hard to provide quality patient care.”

ONA has been “getting loud” about the omission of nurses from the legislation since it was passed in 2016. Most recently, members participated in an on-line campaign, emailing more than 1,000 letters to their MPPs, the Health Minister and Premier calling for nurses to be included.

“Nurses do suffer from PTSD due to their workplace experiences,” notes Haslam-Stroud. “The top-five triggers for PTSD in nurses are:

-Death of a child, particularly due to abuse.
-Violence at work.
-Treating patients that resemble family or friends.
-Death or injury of patients.
-Heavy patient workloads.

ONA is currently holding its Biennial Convention at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, where Health Minister Eric Hoskins made the announcement to the cheers of the approximately 1,000 front-line nurses and health-care professionals. “This is a wonderful development and a great way to end my tenure as the elected Provincial President of ONA,” said Haslam-Stroud. “Our incoming President, Vicki McKenna, RN, will be working with the government to implement the legislation in a timely manner.”

ONA is the union representing 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

For more information:
Sheree Bond: (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430; cell: (416) 986-8240;

Posted December 5, 2017

Posted July 3, 2017.

“Canada’s Nurses Speak Up!”

CFNU Calgary Convention

Local 55 Brenda Pugh (CMH) and Laurie Kudoba (SMH)
The CFNU is the national voice for nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses across Canada. We are relentless advocates for the health and safety of our members and the patients that we care for from coast to coast. Join us as we speak up for a stronger health care system and a better workplace for all nurses.

Posted May 1, 2017.

Demand that nurses be included in PTSD legislation

Submitted by rnaopolicy on Mon, 2017-05-01 17:48

More than a year has gone by since RNAO wrote to Premier Wynne urging that Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, 2016) be amended to include nurses. Thanks to the 6,405 people who responded to our call urging Premier Wynne to correct the shocking oversight of excluding nurses among the list of first responders, the government has committed to ensuring that nurses be included in this legislation. However, we were disappointed this wasn’t announced at RNAO’s Annual General Meeting held on April 27, 2017, nor it was announced on May 1 – First Responders Day. Clearly, we still need your urgent action to make this a reality.

Petition available here

Posted February 20, 2017.

Have you always wanted to get more in­volved in the work of our union? Or perhaps you are a new or seasoned leader and want to hone your skill set. If so, we have just the program for you!

Back by popular demand, ONA’s 2017 Leadership Conference will take place from September 18-22 at the Oakwood Resort in Grand Bend. As last year, the conference will focus on three streams: activists, novice and advanced.

More details here


Posted October 4, 2016

ONA recently made changes to the Legal Expense Assistance Plan. I’ve attached the revised version of the Plan, which I ask that you share with ONA members.

The significant changes to the Plan are the following:

  1. We have clarified that we will reimburse legal expenses for criminal charges which are
    withdrawn. Previously, the Plan offered coverage only for charges dismissed, stayed or
    where the member was found not guilty. (see p. 7-8)
  1. LEAP now automatically offers up to $5000 coverage to members who have complaints
    against them at the Information and Privacy Commission (see pages 8 – 9).
  1. We now offer coverage for prosecutions under PHIPA. We will reimburse up to $100,000
    if the member is found not guilty or charges are withdrawn, dismissed or stayed, similar
    to our process for criminal charges (see pages 9 – 10).

Be sure to read the Plan carefully for full details of the conditions and limitations. Feel free to
contact me if you have any questions.

Sheila Riddell

LEAP Team Leader

Ontario Nurses Association

tel: 416-964-8833, ext. 2383

(1-800-387-5580, dial 0 for Toronto) ext 2383)
Fax:(416) 964-8864 (1-866-964-8864)


Bargaining 2016

September 07, 2016

September 7, 2016: The Hospital Award has been released by Arbitrator Christopher Albertyn.

Click here to download the full Award by Arbitrator Christopher Albertyn.

Click here to download a summary of the Award

Click here to read ONA’s media release about the Award

The details of the award will be explained to Bargaining Unit Presidents from Participating and Non-participating Hospitals at  a sector meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

ONA Provincial Professional Practice Teleconnect

KISS – Keep it Simply Succinct

                  Tuesday September 27, 2016
Time:                 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Topic                 “New Look” – Keep it Simply Succinct- KISS

During this session, ONA’s Professional Practice Specialist will provide an update on the new KISS document to help nurses on the front line document and push their patient safety and workload issues forward for faster resolution.

Online format and presentation. Full description available here.


Labour Day is September 5

Since its inception, ONA has been a leader on human rights issues that affect not only our members, but all members of our society. In 2015, ONA launched a human rights and equity initiative to champion human rights causes even further and to highlight major human rights and equity observances including Labour Day.
Source: ONA central.

Click here to learn about how union activism and nursing professionalism go hand in hand.

In a time when workers’ rights are taken for granted and even workers’ benefits have come to be expected, it’s no wonder that the origins of Labour Day are confined to the history books. What evolved into just another summer holiday began as a working class struggle and massive demonstration of solidarity in the streets of Toronto.
Source: Canada’s history


Bargaining 2016

August 25, 2016

Source: ONA Central

August 25, 2016: We have just been advised that the award of Christopher Albertyn for our contract will be released the week after Labour Day. Please find below the notice of the Hospital Sector meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 in Toronto.

Document Download: Hospital Sector Meeting Notice (English | French)

We ask that Local Coordinators connect with all their hospital Bargaining Unit Presidents ASAP. They will need to immediately arrange time off for September 13. If there are any issues, please notify their LRO who will assist.

Who can attend: Bargaining Unit Presidents from Participating Hospitals and Non-Participating Hospitals, Local Coordinators and Observers (up to 8 from each Chartered Local Association, if local budgeting allows), in accordance with Article 6.23 of the Constitution.


Bargaining 2016

July 27, 2016: 


Please download and read the Hospital Bargaining Update from Chair Cathryn Hoy, RN. 


The notice states in part, “By now it is obvious that the Hospital Central Arbitration Award was not released in June as anticipated. 

This is because of a couple of interesting developments since the hearing was concluded in March of this year.


The first, and most significant, is the fact that the hospitals have now agreed to a two-year term for the new contract.”

Download: Notice, Hospital Central Arbitration Update – July 25, 2016
Your go to place for most of your questions

Posted July 20, 2016

Province confirms budget bump for Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital posts $2M surplus

See articles of interest for more details.

CAMH fined $80,000 after beating that left nurse ‘beyond recognition’

See violence section for more details.


Posted July 4, 2016

Hospital’s Attendance Management Program contrary to Human Rights Code

ONA has won an important decision, challenging a hospital’s Attendance Management Program (AMP) as being contrary to the Human Rights Code.

When the hospital changed its AMP, ONA filed a policy grievance challenging aspects of the new policy, including the treatment of disability-related absences and the requirement for a medical certificate after each and every absence for employees placed in the program.

See articles of interest 
for more details.

 Posted June 29, 2016

The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) has passed in the Ontario legislature.

The act introduces new measures related to privacy, accountability and transparency in the health-care system, and will amend existing legislation to protect the personal health information of patients, including:

• Making it mandatory to report privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner and, in certain
circumstances, to relevant regulatory colleges.
• Strengthening the process to prosecute o ences under the Personal Health Information Protection Act by removing
the requirement that prosecutions must commence within six months of the alleged offence.
• Doubling the maximum fines for privacy offences from $50,000 to $100,000 for individuals, and from $250,000 to
$500,000 for organizations.

Also updated:

FAQ: How does sick leave work for hospital nurses?
Human Rights: Do you have a disability that affects your ability to work?

Posted June 24, 2016

Information sessions for Local Contract

June 29, 2016
From 0700 hr to1930 hr

Meeting Location: Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre
700 Hespeler Rd, Cambridge (Right beside China house)

We will be in the Norfolk Room 

Come an find out what the arbitrator decided  on the regressive proposals!
e.g.: removing seniority from calling in for overtime.

Other Topics: 
Agreed items
                              Arbitrated items

We will also post ‎the award on-line on June 29 on our local’s website.


How to destroy a great ER: A step by step guide



If you are a hospital administrator and want to know the best strategies to quickly destroy your emergency department, this list is for you.

Available under Articles of interest

May 13, 2016 | Vote

Fight the cuts at Cambridge Memorial

Waterloo Region Record

Registered nurses working at Cambridge Memorial Hospital are taking action to fight cuts to care that hurt patients.

Despite being in the minority of Ontario hospitals that are not experiencing budget deficits, Cambridge Memorial is cutting four registered nurses from its in-patient Mental Health Unit, and reducing the registered nurse complement in the emergency department.

Full article available here

Since implementation of the Ottawa “model of care” in August 2015,  below some interesting facts and statistics from CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) and HQO (Health Quality Ontario)

2014–2015: Comparison of hospital deaths to the average Canadian experience

Click on a province or territory to compare to the national average and customize your view on this page.

The determination of higher or lower than average is based on a statistical assessment and the desirable direction of the indicator. Above average, which is colour-coded as green, represents the desirable direction for each indicator.

Hospital Deaths (HSMR), 2010–2011 to 2014–2015

Display up to 3 provinces or territories by selecting the boxes. Click again to unselect. You can also ADD a city to find results for its health region or ADD a hospital, using the search boxes below. At least 3 years of data must be available for trend results to appear on the graph.

Lower is better. The measure is adjusted for some of the differences in the types of patients a hospital sees. For example, more deaths would be expected in a hospital that cares for severe trauma patients than in one that focuses on maternity care. The HSMR is most useful to follow a hospital’s performance over time.

Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Also updated: CMH Bulletin Board. (5B, 3B medicine and Floats, please review)

Posted May 6, 2016

Nurses week biography (Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole)

Documentary and other fun facts available here under “Did You Know”

Local 55 (CMH) Nurses week dinner.

Details here


Posted April 30, 2016

Bargaining Unit Success Story!

Members Bring about Significant Changes to Kingston Hospital.

Thanks to our members diligently  filling out their workload forms, they are seeing significant improvements in the emergency department (ED) and Critical Care Program at Kingston General Hospital.

ONA Professional Practice staff  got involved and an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) hearing was called.

The unit will now see an increase of one RN 24/7, and an increase of  five permanent full-time and six permanent part-time positions to achieve new baseline staffing. The RN  float position hours returned to a 12-hour shift (it had been reduced to 10 hours). There is also an increase in security guards and coverage by 16 hours per day. Also, all entry points to the ED have been secured with card swipe entry.

Full article available here

Attached document: “ONA Nurses Know”


Posted April 12, 2016

Attention ER RN (CMH)

On April 20th, we will be holding an emergency meeting for the RNs of the the ER department to discuss our next steps as we are preparing for and independent assessment committee to deal with all your unsafe work forms.

Our labor officer Deana King will be there to discuss

–          Process of independent assessment
–          Data we need
Meeting Location: Small class room by the auditorium
April 20: Start 1800 hr , repeats at 1915 hr.

Sign up here

For this process to work we need staff to participate and keep doing your unsafe forms.

See you at the meeting
Any questions email me.
Brenda pugh

Also see CMH bulletin board for other current updates

Floor Reps, please complete your Enviro Scan for floor Reps  for your unit

Posted April 7, 2016

A CONFRONTING awareness campaign has been launched to stem violent attacks on paramedics and nurses in Queensland.

Last year more than 3300 healthcare workers were assaulted while on the job.
An offender faces up to 14 years jail.
Source available here

Also updated: Workplace Violence
New: Enviro Scan for floor Reps (submit monthly please)


Posted April 1, 2016

First time ever, Cambridge Memorial Hospital local negotiations are at an impasse.

Membership meeting on April 4.

see your CMH bulletin board for details.


Posted March 25, 2016

Hospital Central Bargaining Update

Your ONA Hospital Central Negotiating Team had a very difficult three weeks of bargaining during which nothing of substance was agreed to by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), the organization that represents the majority of hospital employers in the province.

As a result, we spent two long days at arbitration this week and have subsequently provided additional written submissions to the arbitration board.

I’ve recorded this video to give you a quick update:

In solidarity,



Posted March 19, 2016

Also updated: Workplace Violence and Occupational Health and Safety

Pension News: The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) was 122% funded at the end of 2015, up 7% from 115% in 2014. (see Benefits / Legal / Insurance)


Posted March 9, 2016

Also updated: CMH community board (Article of the month)

Call to action!

As you may know, many hospitals are balancing their budgets on the backs of RNs.
It may be known as “The new model of care to improve the patient experience” or “The return to functional nursing” but in the end it often results into lowering the calibre of Nurses working in areas that require the knowledge and expertise of Registered Nures. Diluting the skill set is a recipe for disaster and it is shocking to know that certain hospital administrators go as far as experimenting with one of our most vulnarable group of patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care. These patients typically do not fall under the scope of RPN practice as defined by the College of Nurses. These patients have care needs that are not well defined, are unpredictable in terms of fluctuating health conditions that require close frequent monitoring and reassessments. Due to unpredictable, systemic or wide ranging responses that can be subtle, these tiny patients carry a very high risk of negative outcomes. Hopefully it will not require a post mortem to learn that this idea of saving money isn’t worth it.

Please sign the RNAO petition below and let our voices be heard.

Over 17,000 colleagues who have already demanded a stop to RN replacement in Ontario, can we count on you to add your voice?

Due to the inaction of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, RN replacement in Ontario has become critical. The latest catastrophe is the replacement of RNs – specialized in neonatal intensive care (NICU) – with RPNs at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

Over 17,000 respondents have written to Minister Hoskins and asked him to stop RN replacement. Now it’s your turn. We urge you to sign the action alert to stop cost saving experimentation with vulnerable babies and ask Minister Hoskins to immediately mandate that St. Joseph’s Healthcare reverse its decision. Furthermore, we ask Minister Hoskins to issue a letter to all hospitals placing a moratorium on RN replacement with RPNs.

To read more about the replacement of RNs with RPNs at St. Joseph’s Hamilton, see:

We can’t allow this to happen. In the name of patient safety, we must do all we can to stop RN replacement. Join the 17, 000 respondents, who have already acted and made their voice heard.

  1. Sign the action alert addressed to:
  • Premier Kathleen Wynne;
  • Honourable Minister Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care;
  • Patrick Brown, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario;
  • Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario;
  • Jeff Yurek, PC Critic – Health and Long-Term Care;
  • France Gélinas, NDP Critic – Health and Long-Term Care
  1. Retweet our CEO Dr.Doris Grinspun’s tweet #StopRNreplacement


Posted February 1, 2016

Arbitration Win about Article 14.01 and Changes to Scheduled Days Off

Full details Arbitrator Barry Stephens award available here

Earlier this fall, at the MICs Group of Health Services (Lady Minto Hospital), Arbitrator Barry Stephens issued an arbitration award that is significant to the sector. In this case, the arbitrator held that nurses are entitled to premium pay under the clarity note of Article 14.01(a) for working on their scheduled day off even if the employer provides 48 hours notice of the change. The arbitrator went on to say that scheduled days off are defined at the time the posted schedule is posted.

In this case, the grievors had their posted schedules changed in a manner that required them to work on days that had originally been scheduled as their days off on the initial posted schedule. In all instances, the employer gave greater than 48 hours notice of the change. The grievors claimed they were entitled to premium pay under the clarity note in Article 14.01 (a) for being required to work on their scheduled days off.

In his decision, the arbitrator noted that although the employer was permitted to make the changes in question, the parties intended for a “scheduled day off” to refer to a day on which the employee is not scheduled to work on the originally posted schedule. As such, the change constituted a violation of the scheduling language and the employees ought to be paid a premium for that violation.

This is a significant win for ONA on Article 14.01(a). As this is central language, nurses across the province should now have more predictability because their scheduled days off are clearly determined at the time the employer posts the schedule. The employer cannot change these scheduled days off without incurring the premium once the schedule is posted, regardless of how much notice is given.

Next Steps

Where schedules are being changed in this manner, the hospitals should be paying premium pay to our full-time employees who have the same collective agreement language. Please contact your Labour Relations Officer (LRO) for assistance enforcing this decision. Grievances may need to be filed.


Posted January 24, 2016

Being “on call” is not a real break. That was the decision reached by an arbitrator in response to the Washington State Nurses Association’s grievance, and subsequent arbitration, against MultiCare Health System, which owns the hospital.

In a groundbreaking decision, the arbitrator stated that the buddy system does not work, failing to give nurses true breaks from responsibility for their patients and from nursing’s physically and mentally demanding work:

“The requirement of a nurse on break to be ‘on call’ diminishes the purpose of a break from work. Nursing requires knowledge, experience, dedication and concentration, tempered with compassion and patience, to successfully care for patients in need.

Full article here or download PDF

Source: Washington State Nurses Association