News Archive 2021



Posted  December 19, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I am now able to report that a substantially revised Directive #5 was released by the Chief Medical Officer of Health on Friday evening, December 17.

Effective December 22, nurses and health-care professionals who are providing direct care to suspected or probable COVID patients or are interacting with in the workplace area of a COVID outbreak will have barrier-free access to N95 respirators or approved equivalent. This means that the directive removes decision-making regarding N95 respirator precautions. You can click here to read the memo from the deputy ministers to the hospital and long-term care associations’ CEOs.

Given the concerns around the increased transmissibility of the COVID Omicron variant, required precautions for nurses and health-care workers are:

  • A fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator or approved equivalent.
  • Eye protection (goggles or face shield).
  • Isolation gown.
  • Gloves.

Nurses and health-care professionals are still required to complete a point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA), however, PPE must be given to you by your employer.

This is a very important improvement for our members and all health-care workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago, ONA has implored the government to make the use of N95 respirators easily accessible in workplaces. Although Directive #5 was implemented noting employers should have N95 respirators available, the worker still needed to, at times, request one from their employer and occasionally faced resistance. Now that this revised directive is in place, hospitals and long-term care homes must ensure that N95s are available barrier-free for nurses and health-care professionals.

Although these revisions are “interim,” they provide better protection for ONA members and health-care workers since the PPE requirement is crystal clear. The revised directive optimizes protection and takes a precautionary approach for this emerging and more transmissible COVID variant.

I encourage you to access and wear full respiratory protection when caring for any patient or resident with any respiratory or other symptoms related to COVID until such time as a confirmed COVID diagnosis is ruled out. Protect yourself! There is NO shortage of PPE.

If you encounter any difficulties in your workplaces, please contact your Bargaining Unit President.

In addition, the government has extended Bill 195 to at least January 15, 2022. ONA will be paying close attention to see whether the government will extend it beyond this date and will advise you accordingly.

Be well, stay healthy and I hope you get some time to enjoy the holiday season.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted  December 18, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

This is my final message as ONA President. As you may be aware, I am retiring effective December 31, and current First Vice-President Cathryn Hoy, RN, will be leading ONA beginning January 1.

The past two years have been nothing but challenging and, at times, insurmountable. It seemed as though we were bombarded by issues at every turn: the Ford government and his disrespect for nurses and health-care professionals; COVID-19 and the never-ending waves; the continued erosion of the role of registered nurses and ever-increasing workloads.

But, together, we have all strived to make changes to improve our members’ working lives. We won court challenges related to PPE accessibility in workplaces, an amazing pay equity win for our for-profit long-term care members, and more. We provided sound submissions to the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, including our members’ stories, which had a direct impact on the Commission’s final recommendations to the Ford government.

As union members, please continue to push the issues that affect you and your patients, residents and clients the most. Know that you have 68,000+ members standing with you as well as a strong ONA Board of Directors led by Cathryn, as fierce as a leader as they come. I know she will work tirelessly to get results for the betterment of you, our members.

Thank you so much for going above and beyond. Words cannot capture my gratitude for all of the work that you do, but know that I appreciate and respect all that you are doing for our union and our patients.

I hope you are able to have a bit of a respite during the holidays; enjoy your downtime and have a safe and healthy 2022.

Take good care,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President

 

Posted  December 6, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
On December 6, 1989, Canada was shocked by the gender-based murders of 14 female engineering students who were attending l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. These young women were at the beginning of their lives, and the outrage associated with this senseless violence grew into the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Each year, Canadians pause to reflect on the issue of gender-based violence and femicide. From the missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country to victims of domestic violence, thousands of women are harmed and sometimes killed by violence.

We remember all the women and gender-diverse people who have lost their lives to gender-based violence, including Lori Dupont, RN, an ONA member, who was killed by a coworker who was also her ex-boyfriend, in 2005 while working at Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital.

Last month, the federal government announced an amendment to the Criminal Code for the courts to consider – for sentencing – when an assault victim is a health-care worker, as an aggravating circumstance. Although we are very heartened by this news, the government, workplaces, unions and communities still have a long way to go to further improve domestic and workplace violence prevention efforts.

For the past several years, ONA has sponsored the Wrapped in Courage campaign, dedicated to abuse prevention. It is a sad fact that in Ontario one in three women will experience intimate partner violence and that every 11 days, a woman or child is killed by a man known to them. This number is much higher for women of colour and Indigenous women. Visit this page to find out how you can take simple actions to prevent abuse and end violence against women.

As nurses and health-care professionals, ONA members not only care for the victims of violence, we also experience violent workplace attacks on an all-too regular basis. We will continue to advocate to prevent such tragic events from occurring. Enough is enough.

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted November 29, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

Dear ONA member,

Close to 1,000 ONA leaders, front-line members, staff and guests joined our virtual Biennial Convention last week to participate in the work of our union and hear about the many initiatives that ONA has introduced to further support our members.

In fact, we unveiled several key digital projects that will help members and leaders in advancing our work and improving our members’ online experiences. A few of our digital innovations are below:

Visit our ONA Virtual Map at www.ona.org/map. Ever wondered which ONA Bargaining Units and/or Locals are within your geographic area? Or how many members are in a certain Bargaining Unit? Each sector-specific “pin,” contains important information including Region, Local #, address and a contact email address for the Bargaining Unit President. Please be sure to visit the map and see where you – as an ONA member – fit in to the provincial picture. You can filter by region, sector or Local. Happy navigating!

A succinct summary of ONA’s past two years of dedicated work can be found by video here and on our YouTube channel. Called ONA in Action, it highlights four main pillars of our work: COVID-19 response, Bill 124 actions, member mobilizing and engagement, and servicing our members. Be sure to watch and share the video with your colleagues.

Our amazing Biennial Report outlines some of the many wins, achievements, and statistics from the past two years. For example, how many grievances did ONA resolve over this time? More than 9,050. This and other interesting factoids are weaved throughout the report. Be sure to check it out and share it far and wide on your social media channels.

At our Biennial, ONA released its much-anticipated Strategic Plan 2021-2026, which will help guide our work and our services in the coming years. You can access the plan on this page, on the right-hand side. The plan is available in French and English.

Please check out ONA’s anti-racism and anti-oppression video that presents a clear overview of ONA’s commitment to this important work. Here, we outline our plan and ways we will move this vital work forward.

As always, we look for new and innovative ways to give the information that you need to help you with your work of the union. Visit our COVID-19 Chronicles series and watch first-hand accounts of how our front-line members and ONA President-Elect Cathryn Hoy took action to help protect members from COVID-19.

We are producing our popular ONA Guides into digital files. Instead of having the guides available in PDF – which are inaccessible and difficult to navigate on a mobile device – the digital versions are easy to access and AODA compliant. This is a larger work-in-progress project, but we have turned our WSIB Guide, the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work Guide, and the Occupational Health and Safety Guide into digital docs.

Finally, our Access ONA leaders’ and members’ portal is now online, too. ONA leaders can login and visit the portal, with front-line members having the option to join in January. Access ONA is a very important component to ONA’s digital future as it is our one-stop shop for resources and access to ONA information. More details about this excellent digital resource will be available shortly, including new features that underpin our work.

ONA will continue to develop our many digital assets and resources, so members and leaders can be that much more connected to the work of our union. Stay tuned for more great information to come.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


News You Can Use

 


Results from the ONA election

ONA is pleased to announce that Cathryn Hoy, RN, has been elected as the union’s new president. Cathryn is set to become leader of ONA on January 1, 2022. Current ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, has announced her retirement as of the end of 2021. Learn more here.

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • December 1 is World AIDS Day, a time to raise awareness and celebrate advancements in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS. This day also gives us the opportunity to show our support for people living with HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those who have died.
  • ONA urges Cassellholme Board Management to take action and stop RN cuts: ONA is raising the alarm about cuts to registered nurse positions that are risking resident safety at Cassellholme home for the aged in North Bay.
  • Nursing Now Ontario Awards now accepting nominations: the awards recognize a registered practical nurse, a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner who demonstrates the qualities of an exceptional nurse – high professional standards, superior clinical skills and a compassionate practice. Submit your nominations before February 25, 2022!
  • On December 3, we recognize theInternational Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), a time to promote understanding of disability issues and to show support and respect for the well-being and rights of persons with disabilities.
  • On December 6, ONA observes the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The day was established by the Parliament of Canada in 1991 to mark the anniversary of the 1989 murders of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, who were killed because of their gender.
  • Help spread the word about ONA’s Southlake petition: Thousands of members have signed a petition to try to stop a pre-sponsorship program launched by their employer where they are hiring RNs in the ICU without full education and training. Our petition is being read by MPPs in Queen’s Park. To continue the pressure, please share this video on your Facebook feed or Twitter to keep this momentum going!
  • Join our conversations online on the ONA members-only Facebook group:More than 1,500 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. Join our online conversations and be in the know. To join: www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers.
Poetry in Motion

Ontario Poet Laureate Randell Adjei elegantly wrote a beautiful poem exclusively for you, ONA members. Mr. Adjei presented his heartfelt poem at our Biennial earlier this month. Click here to watch his graceful performance.



Listen now: ONA’s first Nurse Practitioner Podcast

Click here and access ONA’s first podcast dedicated to NPs. Hear  ONA NP members discussing what their job entails and the goals for the future as ONA members.


 


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted November 17, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our health-care system in unprecedented ways. As decision-makers chart a course for recovery, it’s crucial for nurses and health-care workers to be heard.

That’s why the Ontario Nurses’ Association is working with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) to conduct a national study. The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization representing about 200,000 care providers and nursing students in every health sector.

The CFNU will be conducting an online survey with a randomly selected sample of nurses and health-care workers from across the country.

If you are selected, I urge you to participate.

The survey will gauge your job satisfaction, workload, stress and other factors during the pandemic. By illuminating these factors, we can better understand your experience and more effectively advocate on your behalf. The data gathered for this survey will directly inform our recommendations to governments on how to improve working conditions and patient care.

The CFNU has engaged Viewpoints Research Ltd., a professional research company, to conduct the survey. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential, and any identifying information such as name or email address will be removed from the collected data. Results will only be reported in aggregate, and no individual responses will be singled out.

In the next few days you may be randomly selected to receive an email with a unique link inviting you to participate in this important research. I urge you click on the link and complete the survey as soon as possible. The survey should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The survey link will remain open for about one month. If you have any questions about the survey or the process, please contact the CFNU by emailing cfnu@nursesunions.ca or calling 1-800-321-9821.

Your individual responses will be completely confidential and will not be available for review by anyone at the CFNU or the Ontario Nurses’ Association.

Your voice matters, and I urge you to participate and be heard!

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada


Posted November 15, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

As a union representing a diverse membership working in the Ontario health-care system and as an employer, we value equity and human rights. We recognize that our members and staff work in environments where high levels of stress and rapidly changing circumstances are shaped by complex interpersonal relationships.

We know that systemic and individual forms of racism, discrimination, and exclusion can occur in these environments, and ONA is not immune. We also know that anti-Indigenous racism and anti-Black racism have no place in our work environments, health care or in broader society.

As part of the core tenets of our union, we believe in the equal treatment of our members and their right to be free from any form of racism, discrimination, and harassment in work and learning environments.

It is for these reasons, we have decided to embark on a journey to integrate evidence-based anti-racism and anti-oppression practices into every level of ONA’s work and services. To guide us on this journey, we are developing an anti-racism and anti-oppression action plan. This plan will set out the structure and identify priorities. It will be divided into four main sections:members, staff, senior management and elected leadership.

Click here to watch a video regarding our action plan.

To assist us with the design and development of the Action Plan, we are thrilled to work with Tomee Elizabeth Sojourner-Campbell, M.A., as ONA’s Lead Consultant. Tomee brings more than 20 years of experience in the areas of anti-racism, anti-oppression, education and organizational development. She has extensive experience working with unions and legal professionals.

Tomee’s approach to working with ONA on this journey includes:

● Consulting with the Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Action Plan Working Group, the Anti-Racism Advisory Team and other internal stakeholders to co-create the action plan;
● Gathering information about ONA’s current work on human rights, equity, diversity and inclusion;
● Reviewing relevant industry data and research reports; and
● Developing a comprehensive education plan for members, staff, senior managers and elected leadership.

We are thankful that our journey will be guided by the wisdom, experiences, knowledge, and expertise of our members and staff who form the Anti-Racism Advisory Team, as well as the staff and leadership members of the Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Action Plan Working Group.

ONA’s Board of Directors fully supports and is investing in the development of sustainable anti-racism and anti-oppression work as an essential part of our existing commitments to human rights, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We realize that we have a long journey ahead of us as we move beyond words to action to address intersecting forms of systemic and individual racism, discrimination and exclusion. We know that we must develop the infrastructure to integrate anti-racism and anti-oppression practices into our everyday service and work environments.

Together, we will pave the way forward through solidarity, collective and individual actions.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted October 30, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

The “debate” over what type of masks or respirators registered nurses and health-care professionals should be wearing within hospitals and other facilities should never have been a “debate” in the first place. The precautionary principle demands that we err on the side of caution for controlling a new hazard until there is scientific consensus on what level of control is adequate. After March 12, 2020, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams reduced the level of protection for caring of potential or confirmed COVID-19 patients from airborne to contact droplet. Health-care employers were no longer required to provide their staff with respiratory protection. The decision to downgrade to contact droplet precautions was done well in advance of a scientific consensus on how COVID-19 is transmitted. Not only that, but it was made when there was evidence from China that using airborne precautions dramatically reduced the number of health-care worker infections.

nurse.pngThere is now scientific consensus that COVID-19 is spread through inhalation of aerosols. The Public Health Agency of Canada acknowledged aerosol transmission on November 4, 2020. The way to prevent inhalation of infectious aerosols is through respiratory protection.

However, to this day, Public Health Ontario, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), and members of the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee maintain that contact droplet precautions are adequate even though they do not offer respiratory protection as they do not form a tight seal to the face. This position is simply wrong, and it is putting workers at risk of contracting COVID-19, says ONA Region 4 Vice-President Angela Preocanin, whose ONA board portfolio is health and safety.

“ONA is here to try to protect our members, but if the CMOH fails to acknowledge that COVID-19 is airborne, then this is a major problem,” notes Angela. “We helped to initiate changes to Directive #5 to ensure it aligns with the precautionary principle. ONA needed to make certain that if a nurse or health-care worker does a point-of-care risk assessment, and they determine they require an N95 respirator, then they should receive it. Unfortunately, Directive #5 is still a challenge in some workplaces.”

Burden on the worker

The changes to Directive #5 were a clear turning point for all health-care workers. ONA did have to take some of the for-profit long-term care homes to court to release the PPE to nurses, but ONA won.

Yet, our members still continue to face some hurdles. ONA Health and Safety Specialist Nick Bonokoski explains, “Our members are still continuing to have to ask for proper respiratory protection, including N95 respirators. The burden is on the worker, not the employer, where the responsibility should lay.”

With the ebb and flow of COVID-19 – as well as the potential for new variants of concern – nurses and health-care professionals must continue to have direct access to N95 respirators.

“Regardless of what any employer says, workers must continue to insist on respiratory protection. If their employer refuses, they need to report that to their Joint Health and Safety Representative and consider whether or not they feel safe working without adequate respiratory protection,” emphasizes Nick.

team.pngJHSCs must be informed of exposures

Workplaces notifying Joint Health and Safety Committees of potential COVID-19 exposures continues to be a problem. Some workplaces didn’t inform the JHSCs, while others told the JHSCs weeks after exposure. In the new hospital contract that was released in September, ONA won the language indicating that employers must give quick notice to JHSCs.

“It is imperative that JHSCs be aware of any and all exposures within a workplace. This information must be shared swiftly so that we can continue to do what is needed to protect our members,” notes Nick.

The Bottom Line

ONA members must continue to have access to the higher level of PPE, including N95 respirators, without any employer interference. JHSCs must be notified of COVID-19 exposures as soon as the employer is provided with or produces an exposure report, so that further protection may be attained for nurses and health-care professionals.


In other OHS news: bits and bytes

New on the ONA web: Ministry of Labour orders: To help inform and to help leaders prepare for Ministry inspections, ONA has begun to post Ministry orders on the website. The orders are sorted under the following categories: Notice Requirements, JHSC, Violence, and Duties of Employers. Summaries are included to further inform leaders and members on process, resolutions and more. This is a valuable resource for all who are involved in health and safety. Check it out here: www.ona.org/orders.

The MLTSD has approved an updated Guidance Note #10: Guidance for Workplace Parties Regarding the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).  The update includes employer obligations and supervisor competency, as well as guidance on facilitating the efforts of the Joint Health & Safety Committee.

All guidance notes can be found at https://www.pshsa.ca/sectors-priorities/health-community-service.

New Violence, Aggression and Responsive Behaviour (VARB)Tools: On August 30, 2021, PSHSA introduced two new VARB toolkits.

  1. Emergency Response to Workplace Violence (Code White) in the Healthcare Sector Toolkit.
  2. Work Refusal Toolkit for Workplace Violence.

They can be found at https://workplace-violence.ca/tools/


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted October 25, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

As a member-driven organization that advocates for safer workplaces and safe patient/resident/client care, ONA must continue to carry on our previous successful initiatives to inform the public and our many stakeholders about the nursing crisis across Ontario.

As such, I’m pleased to announce the launch of ONA’s new fall campaign, www.KeepNursingStrong.ca.

Nursing is in crisis – there is no question. Nurses are talking openly about their exhaustion, frustration and their anger at the way they are being treated. ONA has been alerting the government and stakeholders for decades about the nursing shortage, chronic understaffing and workload problems that directly impact the quality of patient care.

The disrespect that the Ford government has shown nurses and health-care professionals by legislating wage cuts and giving employers free reign on workers’ schedules and more, is making the crisis that much worse.

Our campaign includes awareness-raising radio ads, social media shareables that underscore the nursing crisis and video clips that tell the truth about health-care working conditions.

Please share this campaign website www.KeepNursingStrong.ca with your friends, family, and colleagues and ask them to take one of four actions that are listed on this page.

Every action helps, and I thank you in advance for your support.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted October 21, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

Dear ONA member,

I am so very pleased to announce that ONA has won a major pay equity court decision for registered nurses working in private, for-profit nursing homes.

A decision released on October 14 by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) – the highest court in the country – dismissed the for-profit Nursing Homes’ and the Attorney-General of Ontario’s application for appeal to the SCC. The Ontario Court of Appeal decision stands, which notes that RNs in for-profit nursing homes have the right to be compared to the Homes for the Aged nurses and a male comparator for pay equity maintenance.

We have never backed down on this case, and our persistence and energy to fight for pay equity have paid off. This is a very important win for all working women in female-dominated workplaces.

Now that this ruling is final, we can begin to implement the Court of Appeal decision. Our members in the for-profit nursing homes will see that their work is valued and receive the compensation that they are entitled to maintain pay equity. ONA is meeting with legal counsel to determine the next steps, including timelines. We will advise you throughout this process.

I am once again disappointed with Premier Ford. He and his government could have conceded this case several years ago, which would have saved hundreds of hours of time and thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs. Our nursing homes members should have received increases years ago instead of fighting through every court in this province to be paid fairly and eliminate the gender wage gap. Instead, this government, alongside this employer group, pursued every legal avenue possible to quash our members’ right to gender equality and pay equity. Shameful.

Nurses forced to give money back to the Ford government

Which brings me to another unconscionable case involving our nine dedicated members at AbleLiving, a not-for-profit in-home and support organization for people with severe disabilities who require round-the-clock care. Our members are being forced to pay money back to the Ford government.

In an unsympathetic move, the Treasury Board has informed ONA and AbleLiving that it is denying an exemption from its wage-cap legislation, Bill 124, that both parties jointly requested. Our members must now have to pay back money to the government because of this ruling. How the Ford government thinks that collecting these funds back from these hard-working nurses will save the Ontario budget is completely beyond me.

Nearly all of the RNs have turned over within the past five years, making recruiting and retaining qualified staff next to impossible. In fact, the employer has acknowledged their challenging work, and freely negotiated with ONA a two-per-cent wage increase for the nurses. Yet, because of Bill 124, these nurses must now give back money that was freely negotiated. Their negotiated contract came BEFORE Bill 124 was enacted, but the Treasury Board has ruled that our members need to pay the money back. Outrageous.

Bill 124 does nothing to recruit and retain nurses

We all know that nursing in Ontario is in crisis, and with the government being heavy-handed with pushing Bill 124 on nurses, it will continue to break until it completely shatters. This wage suppression legislation is extremely detrimental to recruitment and retention across the province. We are hearing daily of nurses leaving the profession because of disrespect.

It’s time for Premier Ford to do the right thing: Repeal Bill 124. Send your email now to tell him.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


News You Can Use

 


Vote in the ONA election

By now, you should have received your voting pin in the mail. If you haven’t received it, please contact our Dues and Membership Team at DuesAndMembershipIntake@ona.org. Voting closes at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 1.

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • ONA Local 124 members need your help! RNs and RRTs have been organizing to stop a pre-sponsorship program launched by their employer in the ICU where they are hiring RNs without full education and training. Our members have launched a petition which needs 5,000 signatures. Please show your support by asking family, friends, and neighbours to sign their petition. Legislative petitions must be done in hard copy, so please contact ONA’s Stacey Papernick, who will have the petitions sent to you with a self-addressed return envelope. Email Stacey at staceyp@ona.org or call her at 416-964-8833 x 2282.
  • Nov.7 to 13 is Nurse Practitioners’ Week: ONA recognizes the vital role that Nurse Practitioners (NPs) play in our health-care system and we celebrate the work of our NP members during Nurse Practitioner Week, November 7-13. Check out our page and listen to ONA’s first-ever NP Podcast – with ONA NP members discussing what their job entails and the goals for the future as ONA members.
  • Listen now: ONA’s latest podcast is now available: In the latest episode, ONA President Vicki McKenna and First Vice-President Cathryn Hoy discuss COVID-19, ONA elections and the 2021 Biennial Convention. Visit www.ona.org/podcast to listen in.
  • Join our conversations online on the ONA members-only Facebook group:More than 1,500 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. Join our online conversations and be in the know. To join: www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers.
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Biennial Convention registration now open! Win prizes!
Register now for ONA’s amazing Biennial Convention. Held virtually from Nov. 15-19, it promises to be very interactive and engaging. Don’t delay; register today!

WIN A TABLET: We are giving away tablets to our members! Click www.ona.org/contestand enter for your chance to win! It’s as easy as one, two, three!


 


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted September 21, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

It was a long-time coming. On Monday, Arbitrator Gedalof finally released the hospital decision affecting our 60,000+ hospital members.

As expected, because of Premier Doug Ford’s Bill 124 wage suppression law which, in reality, has taken away our right to freely bargain, the arbitrator has awarded a one-per-cent wage increase for registered nurses and health-care professionals effective April 1, 2022. Gedalof also awarded increases in night shift and weekend shift premiums as well as some positive language around health and safety, a fundamental issue that ONA has been advocating for over the past while.

Although the arbitrator was constrained by Ford’s Bill 124 law, with compensation limits of one per cent, Gedalof failed to address ONA’s core demands related to the pervasive gender wage gaps and gender discrimination consistently faced by our members.

Nurses are a predominantly female profession, and Bill 124 specifically exempts male-dominated professionals, such as police and firefighters. The real impact of Bill 124 is a widening of the gender wage. ONA offered both the hospitals and the arbitrator a way to address this very troubling theme within the restrictions of Bill 124. Neither the hospitals nor the arbitrator was willing to address this issue.

Click here to read the hospital decision summary and additional documents, including the draft collective agreement.

This disappointing and devaluing hospital decision rests squarely on the shoulders of Doug Ford. His government used their majority provincial government powers to push through the discriminatory and unconstitutional Bill 124 legislation that imposes the three-year period of caps on wages.

Hospital decision worsens the nursing shortage

By forcing front-line nurses and health-care professionals to accept compensation increases that fall well below the rate of inflation, Ford’s Bill 124 law greatly worsens what is already a very serious nursing shortage, which is now turning into a nursing crisis. Many nurses have told us that they are leaving the profession and their jobs due to Bill 124 and the government’s disrespect.

Laws that prohibit wage increases that not only don’t keep up with inflation but also don’t value the essential work of nurses must be repealed. Although ONA has launched a Charter Challenge, it will take some time to make its way through the courts. Possibly, years, in fact.

Attend a Telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, September 22

ONA First-Vice President Cathryn Hoy, CEO Beverly Mathers, Chief Negotiator Steve Lobsinger, the Hospital Central Negotiating Team and I will host a telephone town hall for our members to hear the details of the decision.

The town halls will be on Wednesday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) for Regions 3 and 4 and then at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) for Regions 1, 2 and 5. When you receive the call, please stay on the line and you will be connected. If you are not able to answer the phone, you will receive a message with the phone number that you can call back to join the town hall.

Alternatively, we are offering a streaming online link at https://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=14432 that you can click on to listen to the town hall. Streaming participants will receive an audio feed from the town hall and will be able to submit questions through the interface.

#BlameFord

I know many of you, like me, are beyond angry and frustrated that you have been disrespected and devalued by the Ford government, employers and arbitrators, especially after all that you have gone through during the pandemic. I stand with you.

So many of you have taken action – organizing and participating in rallies, writing letters, phoning and meeting MPPs, using social media – to fight back on Bill 124, and we must continue this important work.

We will be working hard to ensure that the public understands our concerns about Bill 124, and there are many. We are respected health-care professionals who care for people at their most vulnerable moments.

The least the government could do is to do the right thing: recognize the shortage of nurses and the work of all health-care professionals and repeal Bill 124.

Once again, we need to use our collective power to tell MPPs that Bill 124 has got to go, or they will go on June 2, 2022, Ontario election day.

Today, we launch a province-wide selfie campaign. Social media is powerful in public conversations and MPPs watch it constantly. We are going to use this as one way to immediately show our reaction to the hospital decision and place the blame where it needs to be – squarely on the government. Together, we need to share our knowledge on the impact of Bill 124.

Here is how you can participate

Visit https://www.ona.org/stop/ and download and print one of two posters. Take a selfie holding the campaign poster.  Send in your photos to onamail@ona.orgor send ONA a direct message to ONA on Facebook. Selfies will be shared on ONA’s social media feeds. Add the following hashtags to your post: #BlameFord #NursesDeserveBetter #HealthProfessionalsDeserveBetter #StopBill124.

We will let the Ford government know we have come way too far putting ourselves at risk, struggled far too long, and sacrificed way too much to be swept under the rug without a fight – and we know how to fight for what’s right – and we will win!

Our social media campaign is the first action that ONA will be launching with your participation to put the Ford government on notice. Ford and his elected majority government must remember that NURSES AND HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS VOTE! I know that we can count on everyone to join the campaign to show the Ford Conservatives that we are not stopping and that nurses and health-care professionals are a cohesive force.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted September 15, 2021

To help you make an informed decision, ONA has launched its federal election page, which contains many resources including key facts on the nursing shortage, where the political parties stand on several issues, and more. Be sure to check it out so you can make an informed decision on September 20.


Posted September 8, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Many employers across Ontario have introduced policies related to COVID-19 vaccinations for staff. Some workplace policies exceed the minimum statutory requirements, which are outlined in government directives and/or legislation, imposing a leave of absence or termination for nurses who are unvaccinated.

ONA’s position on the COVID-19 vaccine

ONA recommends that you, as a health-care worker receive the vaccine, if you are able to do so. However, this is a decision that needs to be made by you based on voluntary and informed consent.

While COVID-19 vaccinations are beneficial, they are not a complete and holistic solution. Vaccines are part of a comprehensive health and safety and infection control program, and we expect all employers to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and take every precaution reasonably necessary to protect the health and safety of workers. This includes easy access to, and the use of, N95 respirators or equivalent or better and other personal protective equipment. We also encourage employers to remove the barriers that are likely causing vaccine hesitancy. Our members have told us that some employers are making little effort to facilitate staff vaccination uptake, which can impact overall vaccination rates.

ONA and grievance management

We have seen hospitals, long-term care, LHINs/HSSCCs and other sectors introduce policies that exceed the minimum legal requirements outlined in ministry directives for vaccines. For example, several employers have introduced “vaccinate or terminate” policies. These policies mandate that employees should be fully vaccinated by a particular date. If employees fail to do so, they will either be placed on an unpaid leave of absence under the threat of termination and, if they remain unvaccinated at the end of the temporary leave, their employment relationship will end.

ONA will file grievances only for nurses or health-care professionals who are disadvantaged through the imposition of a leave of absence or termination. It is important to note if you are terminated, you will need to mitigate your losses. Mitigation will be challenging given widespread pre-hiring COVID-19 vaccination requirements now in place and employees who are refusing the vaccine should be advised to consider the challenges of mitigating losses in the current context.

Please be advised that ONA has not made a final determination whether to proceed to arbitration with these grievances. Despite our position, it is uncertain whether ONA would be successful in challenging suspensions or terminations imposed as a result of mandatory vaccination policies. We are considering the terms of our collective agreement, provincial laws, and the Charter. ONA is also undertaking a full legal analysis generally, for each policy, and each individual nurse on a fact-specific case-by-case basis.

ONA will not file grievances against vaccination policies that adopt the following measures, subject to the exceptions noted below.

Vaccine Status or Proof

  • Requirement to disclose vaccine status or proof that there is a medical reason for not being vaccinated or reasonable information related to other human rights grounds such as religious exemption. There should be appropriate safeguards in place to protect the privacy of employee personal health information. In particular, vaccination status should be shared with Occupational Health and only disclosed with managers for specific purposes related to COVID-19 and outbreak management.

Education

  • Requirement for vaccine education for unvaccinated employees and discipline for refusing to attend vaccine education will be upheld as reasonable if we proceed to arbitration.

Testing

  • COVID-19 testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated staff. ONA will not file grievances on regular testing for unvaccinated and/or vaccinated employees. Given the reduced efficacy of the vaccine against the Delta variant, extending testing to fully vaccinated workers would also be considered reasonable and will not be grieved.

Temporary exclusion from workplace/temporary leave of absence during outbreak

  • Unvaccinated employees may be temporarily excluded from workplace/reassigned/placed on leave of absence during a COVID-19 outbreak similar to the influenza protocol in the Hospital Central Agreement.

Mandating Vaccination Pre-Hire

  • Requiring all new hires or nursing students to be vaccinated. Employer policies setting out requirements prior to the employment relationship are not within the jurisdiction of the collective agreement. ONA cannot file grievances for new hires or students. This would be relevant for unvaccinated nurses and their ability to seek alternate employment or seek recourse for mandatory vaccination policies pre-hire.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • ONA objects to differential treatment of vaccinated and unvaccinated nurses when it comes to personal protective equipment. Employers should take reasonable precautions to ensure universal health and safety precautions in the workplace, including that all nurses regardless of vaccination status should be wearing an N95 respirator where there is a risk of both airborne and contact transmission of COVID-19. Directive 5 is also unchanged and still remains in effect. There is no shortage of PPE!

ONA holds Telephone Town Halls

ONA CEO Beverly Mathers, First Vice-President Cathryn Hoy and I are cohosting Telephone Town Halls on Wednesday, September 15 to discuss the vaccine policies, ONA’s position and answer any vaccine-related questions that you may have.

For members in Regions 3 and 4, the Telephone Town Hall will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For members in Regions 1,2 and 5, it will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. When you receive the call, please stay on the line and you will be connected. If you are not able to answer the phone, you will receive a message with the phone number that you can call back to join the town hall.

If you have any questions, please contact your Bargaining Unit President. They are your best resource to answer your questions.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted September 4, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I am proud to wish you all a Happy Labour Day, a time in which we renew and acknowledge our continuing commitment as union members – and nurses and health-care professionals – to work to improve the lives of all Ontarians.

This past year has challenged us like no other. Our members continue to face many uncertainties in workplaces as we are now in the fourth wave of COVID-19. ONA is proud to continue to advocate on your behalf for strong infection prevention and control protocols and ready access to appropriate PPE. ONA has led the battle to protect our members and all health-care workers including in the courts fighting to ensure that protections are in place for airborne transmission.

And, we continue to fight Bill 124 with our Charter Challenge in the court. It will take some time – years perhaps – but we will not give up. In the meantime, we continue to negotiate collective agreements despite the challenges, proceeding with our proposals developed based on your needs as identified in the Have-Your-Say questionnaire.

I have witnessed many of our members voice their concerns and become union-activists in their workplaces. I am truly heartened by this surge in members’ advocacy and I encourage you all to become involved in your union. Talk to your unit representative or Bargaining Unit President – I know they will welcome any help – large or small – that you are able to offer.

You can help us to make your workplaces, our health-care system and our communities better for everyone. Help us to continue to build our union movement to improve Ontario, together.

Even as we continue to follow public health guidelines, the spirit of solidarity is prominent as we mark Labour Day. While many events have been cancelled, we will be able to celebrate by way of online events. Visit ONA’s website (https://www.ona.org/news-posts/labour-day-2021/) for more resources and information on Labour Day, including posters and shareables for use on social media.

ONA is your union and your future.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted August 31, 2021

Nurses are more burnt out than ever.

As Labour Day approaches, we’re showing solidarity with workers by highlighting some of their stories and experiences during the pandemic.

Today we’re showcasing the story of Birgit Umaigba, who has been working as a registered ICU nurse throughout COVID-19. The last year has been incredibly rough—and now nurses are often working more hours than they were at the height of the pandemic. They’re overworked and exhausted, with many people quitting nursing entirely.

The Ford Conservative government continues to deny nurses better pay and their right to free and fair collective bargaining. We have to keep fighting back.

Workers are the Recovery!

Read Birgit’s full story and share your own story about being a worker during the pandemic by using #RealPeopleRealImpact.

toronto.ctvnews.ca/an-alarming-exodus-ontario-nursing-sector-slammed-with-staffing-shortage-as-many-rethink-careers-1.5522610

In solidarity,

The Ontario Federation of Labour


Posted August 28, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Southlake Hospital senior management has announced its plan to implement a Pre-Sponsorship Program in the ICU and the implementation of a team-based model of care in the ICU.

Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) in the ICU, CVICU, CICU have joined together, united, behind their demand that the CEO and Board of Directors stop these initiatives. They asked to meet with the Board of Directors. This is senior management’s solution to RN recruitment. Pre-sponsorship positions and team-based nursing in the ICU put patients and staff as risk. This is not the solution. The RNs and RRTs requests were denied.

RNs and RRTs are concerned that the Pre-Sponsorship positions will not be provided full education and training in critical care nursing prior to working in the ICU. They will not have successfully completed the critical care course. Existing expert ICU RNs will no longer be able to focus on providing 1:1 care because they will be coaching and mentoring and assuming care as necessary. There is a potential for miscommunication, improper assessment, missed or delayed care and other errors. As a result of the employer’s plan, expert ICU RNs are leaving. This impacts the ICU’s ability of provide the critical care that patients need and the necessary support for newly hired RNs.

Ninety-five per cent of the RNs and RRTs in the critical care areas have signed postcards expressing their demands to the Minister of Health, Christine Elliott. They want her to do the right thing and intervene on behalf of the safety of patients who require critical care in Newmarket-Aurora. The have asked to meet with her to hear their concerns directly.

Minister Elliott has not yet accepted their request to meet. I invite you to join RNs and RRTs to deliver their postcards and make their demands in person. Together let’s hold the Minister of Health accountable for patient, staff safety and quality critical care that the patients and communities they serve need and deserve.

As nurses and health-care professionals, it is crucial to support the Southlake RNs and RRTs who are taking a stand for safe quality critical care. We must ensure that education, training, and models of care provide a safe practice environment for patients and staff. We do not want to stand by and let the standard of care in critical care areas be eroded because of historic and on-going retention and recruitment issues that have been exacerbated by this pandemic. In many cases, across this province these issues are a result of government and management decisions or inaction.

What: Rally to Stop Pre-Sponsorship and team-based nursing model of care in the ICU

When: Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Time: 10-11 a.m.

Where: In front of the Minister of Health Christine Elliott’s MPP Constituency office, Unit 22 16635 Yonge St. Newmarket, ON.

We are strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocols as set by Public Health for outdoor gatherings. To participate, you must wear a mask covering your mouth, nose and chin and maintain two meters of distance between yourself and other participants. Organizers will require social distancing during the rally.

Please bring handmade signs. They are personal and have an impact. There will be some ONA handheld and large flags. Please only use the slogans listed below for your signs. They ensure we are clearly communicating our goals and focusing on the decision-makers who have the power to make the changes patients and staff need.

Stop Pre-Sponsorship ICU Program Now! Patient safety is at risk!
Critical patients need 1:1 skilled nursing care
Minister Elliott – Please listen to front-line staff. Protect ICU Patients Now!
Front-line staff to Minister Elliott – hear our concerns
Stand up for strong ICU care in Newmarket-Aurora!
Stand Up for safe quality care at Southlake
Patients Deserve High Quality Care – Not a Lesser Substitute
Patient lives depend on fully trained ICU nurses
Southlake training puts patients at risk!
Cutting training is cutting care
Cutting corners on training hurts patients
ICU Patients Need Full Care, Not Less
Southlake training model cuts corners. At what cost to patients?
Patient Safety is #1 for us
Mentoring New RNs takes Time, Fix ICU RN Staffing Shortages, Don’t Make it Worse!
Stop Burnout and the Crisis in ICU Staffing
Full training for ICU Nurses is critical. Patient safety at risk!
Let’s Hire Fully Trained ICU Staff
Full training for ICU RNs at Southlake now!
Full Training Now for All ICU RNs! Safe Practice = Safe Care
You can’t make a critical care nurse in 15 days!
Retain ICU RNs! Full Training for new Recruits

Together, we must collectively show the Minister of Health, Southlake senior leadership and the Board of Directors that nurses deserve full education and training and that any model of care must make patient and staff safety the #1 priority.

In solidarity,

Cathryn Hoy, RN
First Vice-President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted August 24, 2021

From the Canadian Labour Congress

Canada has the worst record for COVID-19 deaths in long-term care homes compared with other wealthy countries, according to a recent report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

69% of COVID-19 deaths in Canada were in long-term care.

This is a direct result of decades of cuts and increasing privatization. Private care homes focus on profit, not patients.

Long-term care needs to be part of the public health care system.

Canada votes on September 20, 2021. Ask your candidate to end privatized long-term care.

Call on your candidate to make LTC part of our public health care:

https://workersvote.ca/long-term-care/

Recovery has to include a strong health care system that doesn’t leave anyone behind. Let’s vote for a better way.

-Elizabeth

Elizabeth Kwan
Senior Researcher
Canadian Labour Congress
Standing up for workers and their families

Canadian Labour Congress/
Congrès du travail du Canada

2841 promenade Riverside Dr
Ottawa, Ontario K1V 8X7
613-521-3400


Posted August 24, 2021

Ontario health-care workers warn of ‘brutal’ nurse shortage as hospitals brace for 4th wave

Critical care nurses in southern Ontario say they’ve reached a breaking point as their colleagues leave in droves and those left behind struggle to keep up. (Evan Mitsui)

Critical care nurses in southern Ontario have reached a breaking point after they say more than a year and a half of brutal pandemic work and stagnant pay has led to a staffing shortage so severe they believe it’s putting patients in danger.

Full article available here


Posted August 23, 2021

Labour Day 2021

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.

Source and details available here


Posted August 23, 2021

Nurses in Ontario — and across the country — call for action on staffing crisis

The current pandemic has hurled us toward a full-blown nursing crisis.

In virtually every part of the country, in every health-care setting, there isn’t enough front-line staff to provide the quality care that Canadians need. Our health-care system stands at the brink of catastrophe.

Niagara nurses protest against government decisions that are threatening their profession and the entire health care system.

Full article available here.


Posted August 17, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued Directive #6 regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, in accordance with the Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA). This supports the government’s focus on promoting vaccination of health-care workers to ensure safety for workers and patients.

Directive #6 applies to:

  • Public hospitals within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act, including all employees, staff, contractors, and students.
  • Service providers within the meaning of the Home and Community Care Act, including all front-line home and community care staff (employees, contractors, volunteers and students), and those supporting them.
  • Local Health Integration Networks (Home and Community Care Support Services) within the meaning of the Local Health Integration Act, including all front-line home and community care staff (employees, contractors, volunteers, and students), and those supporting them.
  • Ambulance Services (paramedics) within the meaning of theAmbulance Act.

It does not apply to long-term care homes (they are already covered by a Ministerial Directive communicated on June 3, 2021, effective July 1, 2021).

Vaccination policies will also be implemented in other higher risk settings such as:

  • Post-secondary institutions
  • Licensed retirement homes
  • Women’s shelters
  • Congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres and other services for children with special needs, and licensed children’s residential settings.

Note: These will be covered by separate orders.

At this time, we are not aware of orders for public health, primary care, and community mental health.

Under the Directive, employers must develop vaccine policies consistent with the Directive, to be effective on September 7, 2021. The new Directive requires employers to implement a policy containing the following requirements, for those described above, to do one of the following:

  1. Provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19; or
  2. Provide written proof of a medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective period of time for the medical reason; or,
  3. Provide proof of completing an educational program approved by the covered organization, about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination prior to declining vaccination for any reason other than a medical reason. These sessions must at a minimum address:• How COVID-19 vaccines work.
    • Vaccine safety related to the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • The benefits of vaccination against COVID-19.
    • Risks of not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • Possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.

Where an individual chooses not to be vaccinated (or to disclose their vaccination status) and participates in the education program or has a medical exemption, they will be required to participate in a regular antigen point-of-care testing program, and demonstrate continued negative test results, in accordance with the provincial guidance on antigen testing. At the current time and stage of reopening, it is expected this testing will be required at least once to three times per week. This may increase subject to public health orders or in the case of outbreaks.

Organizations will be required to verify test results; the method of verification will be at the discretion of the organization.

Compliance with one of the above is to be tracked and reported to the MOH in a manner that does not identify individuals.

This Directive confirms ONA’s position that while vaccines should be strongly encouraged, vaccines are not mandatory and, in fact, some employees will not be able to be vaccinated for reasons protected by human rights legislation, for example, disability or religion. Employees who are not vaccinated may be reassigned to non-patient care areas, if available.

Remember, even if you are fully vaccinated, vaccines do not provide 100-per-cent protection. Variants of concern continue to be an issue. Vaccine status does not change the need to access personal protective equipment (PPE) and comply with Directive #5.

COVID-19 vaccinations, while beneficial in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, are not a complete answer, but only part of a comprehensive health and safety and infection control program. ONA expects all employers to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and take every precaution reasonably necessary to protect the health and safety of workers. This includes easy access to, and the use of, N95 respirators and other PPE.

ONA encourages employers to remove the barriers that are likely causing vaccine hesitancy. Some employers are making limited meaningful effort to facilitate staff vaccination uptake.

On May 20, 2021, Public Health Ontario (PHO) confirmed what ONA has been saying throughout the pandemic, that COVID-19 can be aerosolized in circumstances other than aerosol generating medical procedures. I encourage all ONA members and health-care workers to ensure they are using PPE appropriate for airborne precautions (an N95-fitted respirator or equivalent or above) when caring for a patient or client with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19. The point of care risk assessment (PCRA) should include the mode of transmission of COVID and the patient’s COVID status.

Despite our past successes with the influenza vaccinations, this situation is different. ONA has recently seen arbitrators providing employers with leeway to manage COVID-19. ONA will continue to fight to ensure your rights are enforced!

Please look for this and other government Directives and related documents on our COVID-19 webpage.

ONA has attended a briefing on the Directive and reviewed the government’s press releases. At this time, we do not have a copy of Directive #6 but will post it as soon as it is available. We are fighting on your behalf.

Vicki McKenna, RN
President
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted August 12, 2021

Ont. emergency order holds nurses ‘basically hostage’

An interview with Cathryn Hoy, the vice president of the Ontario Nurses Association, on why her colleagues are leaving.

Maija Kappler7 minute read August 12, 2021
nurses quitting Ontario
A respiratory therapist and six nurses prepare to prone a coronavirus disease at the intensive care unit of Humber River Hospital in Toronto. CARLOS OSORIO / REUTERS CARLOS OSORIO / REUTERS

Cathryn Hoy became a registered nurse because she wanted to help people. But there’s a big difference between wanting to help, and being dehumanized and forced to sacrifice your own wellbeing — which is what the Ontario government forced nurses to do over the course of the pandemic, she says.

Hoy, vice president of the Ontario Nurses Association, says she’s not surprised by the endless headlines about nurses across the country leaving the industry in droves. Job vacancies in healthcare have risen by nearly 40 per cent since last year, according to Statistics Canada, with the most need for registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, nurses aides, and practical nurses.

Full article available here


Posted August 12, 2021

Shared with permission

To the Editor of the Hamilton Spectator
Over the last 18 months, Registered Nurses have been recognized by Ontarians as a critical part of Ontario’s health service, and the support has not gone unnoticed. The Ford Government has claimed to support Registered Nurses, but their introduction of Bill 124 shows that government support is entirely performative. Bill 124 and its ongoing impact on the healthcare outcomes of Ontarians and the overall integrity of the Ontario healthcare system cannot be understated.
As members of an educated and trustworthy profession, we are disappointed in the lack of support and respect that Registered Nurses have been shown by the Ford Government. The deliberate unwillingness to exempt nurses from Bill 124 shows blatant disregard for the work nurses have done for years and continue to do during this pandemic.
Bill 124 was introduced in 2019 to freeze public sector wage increases at 1% per year during a four year contract. Many of our frontline public sector peers, including firefighters, police, and paramedics are exempt from this bill. While our communities are cared for by numerous frontline staff, the Ford Government continues to only acknowledge the work done by male dominated sectors.
Over a four-year contract, firefighters are receiving a 10% raise and police are receiving an 8% raise. In May of 2021, Stats Canada released that the rate of inflation is currently 3.4%, meaning nurses are effectively taking a pay cut every year.
Furthermore, nurses experience greater rates of violence than other male dominated public sector jobs. While other hazardous and dangerous jobs are acknowledged and compensated with danger pay, nurses are not. The International Nursing Review published data in 2001 showing that healthcare workers experience workplace violence at a rate 16 times greater than any other public servant. In fact, nurses are significantly more likely to be attacked at work than a police officer or a prison guard.
In addition, healthcare workers have higher rates of lost time as a result of workplace violence than any other profession. According to the WSIB, sectors claiming the most lost-time for injuries include healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. In 2017 there were 863 healthcare claims for lost time as a result of workplace violence, while manufacturing had 119 claims, and construction 19.
During the pandemic, nurses only received four months of danger pay, which ended before the second major wave of COVID-19. We work with all types of illnesses while providing compassionate and skilled care despite not receiving meaningful recognition from the Ford Government for the mental and physical harm endured by healthcare workers.
The nurses of Ontario are an essential service and are therefore not legally allowed to strike. This inability to strike has permitted the Ford Government to continue to take advantage of us. The COVID-19 crisis is a demonstration of the importance of our profession in the wellbeing of Canadians and how nurses are exposed to life threatening illness daily. Even so, the Ford Government refuses to acknowledge our experiences in a meaningful way.
In March 2021, the RNAO released the results of a survey that are cause for concern regarding patient safety, patient care, and health outcomes in Ontario hospitals. Surveyors found that between the government, employers, and the RNAO, respondents felt that the weakest level of support came from the provincial government. They also found that 26.3% of nurses aged 26-35 say they are very likely to leave the profession. Furthermore, out of the 22.2% of respondents that were eligible to retire at the time of the survey, 27.2% will retire within two years post pandemic.
With an overwhelming amount of nurses looking to leave the profession, the cycle of hospitals working short staffed and with staff burning out will severely compromise the quality of care received at Ontario hospitals and the health outcomes of Ontarians. This cycle will ultimately negatively affect the care of our communities’ loved ones.
Doug Ford has called us “Healthcare Heroes”, but time and time again refuses to put his money where his mouth is. We are asking that our time, risks, and responsibilities are acknowledged and appropriately compensated. Nurses will continue to dedicate their lives to ensure the most vulnerable populations are cared for.
Right now we are asking our communities to care for us.
Please support healthcare workers in demanding that registered nurses be exempted from Bill 124, to ensure that healthcare workers are able to continue to provide world-class public healthcare to the people of Ontario for years to come.
Sincerely,
Aaron Haines, RN and Kate Asser, RN


Posted July 15, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
banner

Dear ONA member,

There are several updates related to central bargaining in various sectors I’d like to share with you.

Like you, I continue to anticipate the release of the Arbitrator’s decision regarding the new hospital contract. Originally, ONA had expected that the decision would be released in June. The arbitrator is still considering his decision at this time.

Although we are still bound by Premier Ford’s Bill 124 – which will cap the total compensation at a maximum one per cent per year for each of three years – we hope to see some positive contract language that will benefit members and their needs to address workplace issues. In particular, we hope to see sections that specifically address pandemic-related issues as well as human rights and equity language and more. As always, the ONA website’s bargaining page at www.ona.org/bargaining is your best resource to keep updated.

Nursing Homes Update

As with the hospital decision, ONA hopes to see the Arbitrator’s decision on the for-profit nursing homes and the not-for-profit nursing homes in the coming while. There is a bit of a challenge in this sector regarding bargaining. The for-profit nursing homes are not bound by Bill 124, whereas the not-for-profit and charitable nursing homes do fall under the Bill. Given this, there may be a separate outcome for each sub-sector in the long-term care sector. We have no timeline regarding the release of these decisions and will keep you updated through our website, as well as by email.

Victorian Order of Nurses Decision

Last month, ONA received the arbitration decision for our members at the Victorian Order of Nurses. We were pleased to see that there were no concessions. The employer had proposed many concessions and rollbacks, and all were flatly turned down. In fact, the decision provided clarity and consolidated some language to make it consistent across the VON bargaining units, which is something that ONA has been demanding for quite some time.

As soon as we are aware of any details related to the hospital and nursing homes decisions, we will let you know via our website at www.ona.org/bargaining, through email and on social media. Please keep a lookout for more details to come.

Finally, I hope you are all able to take a bit of time over the next couple of months for some well-deserved respite, to recharge. The busy fall will be here in no time. Let’s all hope that the fall does not arrive with any further challenges from COVID-19.

Take care and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


News You Can Use


ONA’s feedback on proposed government regulations: “…inappropriate, untimely, unclear and untested…”

ONA has made a submission to the government regarding proposed home and community care regulations under the Connecting Care Act, 2019. In it, ONA states in part: “In our view, the proposals are inappropriate, untimely, unclear and untested. We strongly oppose to privatize care coordination as this would be detrimental to patient care, fiscally irresponsible and create a clear conflict of interest for Care Coordinators.”

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • Read the June Board Highlights: The Board held its summer meeting to receive updates on ONA operations and to plan next steps. Read about updates to strategic planning, region updates, Constitutional amendments, and more. Click here to download the highlights.
  • Learn more: Ask A Specialist webinars: Want to learn more about the professional responsibility clause? Or how to move workplace issues forward? Sign up for one of ONA’s tailored webinars today. Sessions are available throughout the summer.
  • 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 1,300 members have already joined, and we invite you to do the same. To join, click here www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers.
ltc_imagesidebar.png

Implement four hours of direct care for residents now!

We must keep the pressure on new Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips. Send your message now to demand four hours of direct resident care be implemented now: www.ona.org/now.


 


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted June 24, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

We are shocked and heartbroken to learn that additional unmarked graves of Indigenous children have been found, this time 751 burial sites at a former residential school in Saskatchewan.

It hasn’t even been a month since the world learned of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops, British Columbia, opening the door to investigations across Canada for similar sites, and tearing a fresh wound in the hearts of our Indigenous communities.

Residential schools are a despicable part of Canada’s history. The separation of Indigenous children from their families constituted cultural genocide of Canada’s First Nations peoples.

ONA remains dedicated to diversity and the elimination of discrimination and racism in all forms. We continue to seek the valued input of our Indigenous members in helping guide us in meaningful but difficult conversations on this issue.

In sorrow and solidarity,

Vicki

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted June 23, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Our sisters and brothers from OPSEU Local 5117 Black Creek Community Health Centre have been on strike since June 12. They were forced to do so after the employer walked away from negotiations.

This dedicated group of health-care workers serve the Black Creek and Jane and Finch areas supporting their communities mentally, emotionally, and socially. Please join them on the picket line in solidarity, so they can get the respect they deserve and continue to keep caring for their community.

Visit this page for up-to-date picket information, including locations and times as well as donation information and social media asks for support.

Purchase your “Meet the Resistance” T-shirt today Show your solidarity and purchase “Meet the Resistance” T-shirts, which are now available through the ONA eStore. As nurses and health-care professionals, we deserve respect; and we continue to hold strong. Visit this link to purchase your T-shirt today ~ click on the “Start Shopping” blue button at right to see styles and sizes. The cost per T-shirt is $25 all in, which includes shipping and taxes.

Complete the ONA Survey by June 25: A final reminder that we want to hear from you about ONA provincially as our survey is ending on June 25. Take the survey at the link below – your responses will help us to better understand your needs and how they interact with ONA at the provincial level. The survey is available in English and French:www.ona.org/survey

Participate in a research study: Researchers from CROSH and the Public Services Health and Safety Association are inviting RNs and RPNs to participate in a study exploring the mental health of nurses working in Northern Ontario during COVID-19. Learn more and participate at: https://crosh.ca/mental-health-of-northern-ontario-nurses-working-during-covid-19-study-invitation-to-participate/

Register now for “Ask a Specialist” webinar: Registration is open for sessions of “Ask a Specialist: Navigating the Professional Responsibility Workload Report Process.”

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

Here are the upcoming webinars for the first week of July. Please click on the applicable link to register.

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.

Thursday, July 8, 11 a.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Bm0EV6B8QNuvnzeJQnXaxw

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.

Thursday, July 8, 4 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fLyWJauoScesIXFwrneP6w

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.

Thursday, July 8, 7:30 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CH3AcIeTQdm7N5yvJKmYDw

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted June 10, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

Dear ONA member, your Joint Health and Safety Committee is your safety go-to!

Have you ever heard of the phrase “knowledge is power”? When it comes to health and safety, it certainly is the truth. The more you know about your workplace rights and responsibilities, the better you can use the information to prevent workplace injuries from occurring.

And, your Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC)? That is your go-to for all-things-safety. They have your back and will help to protect you and prevent workplace injuries and illness. During this pandemic, JHSCs have become more important than ever.


Leveraging the Power of JHSCs

ONA’s popular spring Health and Safety Caucuses – attended by hundreds of front-line members – provided much-needed information on leveraging the power of the JHSC in a pandemic.

“Given that our members work in health care, COVID-19 and its variants of concern as well as ongoing community spread are reasons to improve precautions to prevent transmission in workplaces,” notes ONA Health and Safety Specialist Michael Benoit. “JHSCs have been integral in advocating for our members so that they have access to appropriate PPE, including proper fit-testing N95 respirators.”

What the Occupational Health and Safety Act States

During the pandemic, the Occupational Health and Safety Act is still in effect. This means that the rules that are encased in the Act are still applicable and relevant. No Ford legislation – such as Bill 175 – can overrule the Act. “Our members – including JHSC member co-chairs – were reaching out to ask about whether employers can cancel JHSC meetings or employers not show up,” says Benoit. “Our answer is no – employers must continue to hold JHSC meetings, provide committee members with reports, and listen and try to resolve health and safety problems. We found that a lot of employers arbitrarily cancelled JHSC meetings, which caused many issues for our members who needed to know the facts and information to keep everyone safe.”

ONA had to step in a couple of times to tell employers that the JHSC meetings had to continue, especially during the pandemic. “It is vital that the employer and workers come together as often as possible to resolve issues that, frankly, are a matter of life and death,” he says.

No Employer Cooperation? Involve the Ministry

Sometimes, issues cannot be resolved even after much reporting and discussion with your employer, supervisors and even the CEO. It is your right to escalate unresolved concerns as high as necessary and as quickly as necessary to protect workers. This is when you may need to turn to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), and your JHSC will help you with this process. Calling the Ministry is not to be taken lightly, and your JHSC and ONA Local leaders will support. The MLTSD has the authority to inspect workplaces and issue orders to improve workplace safety.

Together, with your JHSC and ONA leaders, it is best to build the case first. If the risk is not imminent, in a letter to the CEO/Administrator, document your concerns and the remedies you are seeking that could protect workers. Outline any breaches of the Act and request action. Inform and copy the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and Bargaining Unit President. Let the inspector know that you tried to resolve the issues by writing to the CEO for action, but the issues remain unresolved.

When the inspector comes to your workplace, ask to be part of the inspection and investigation. Take notes and document all involved, plus the details and evidence that was provided to the inspector. “Be sure to ask the inspector for a file number and when to expect the next steps,” notes Benoit. “It’s always best to capture as much information as possible with the inspector, just so that a full picture is presented.”

ONA is an email or phone call away

It is the right of all of ONA members to work in a healthy and safe work environment. Part of ONA’s mandate is to take a strong leadership role in achieving greater gains in the occupational health and safety. If you or your JHSC needs assistance, ONA is here to help. Please contact your Bargaining Unit President – here is a handy email tool: www.ona.org/bup — or if you are a Local leader, reach out to your Labour Relations Officer. ONA has many resources on hand to help you with your JHSC needs.

The Bottom Line

Your Joint Health and Safety Committee is your go-to in helping to protect you and prevent work-related injuries and illness. They are an excellent resource and they are on your side. Please reach out to them if you have any occupational health and safety concerns.


In other OHS news: bits and bytes

Attend a lecturette on June 29 at 4:30 p.m. about ONA’s new investigation guide: Health-care workers are one of the most injured/ill workers in the province. Health and safety representatives and Joint Health and Safety Committee members play an important role in advocating for all workers, but especially those that become injured/ill as a result of a workplace fatality, injury, illness, accident or exposure.

Join Region 4 Vice-President Angela Preocanin for a lecturette about ONA’s Investigation Guide to Fatality, Critical Injury, Illness, Accident, and Exposure, which will help educate those who are engaged in this important role, or for those who have an interest in knowing more about health and safety advocacy. After this session, learners will know more about:

  • The purpose of an investigation for fatality, critical injury, illness, accident, or exposure.
  • Key concepts in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
  • Conducting an investigation.

ONA Health and Safety Specialists will be on hand to answer questions about this important topic. Click here to register.

Suffering from a psychological injury due to work-related COVID-19 trauma or stress?

Here what’s you need to do:

  • File a Form 6 with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
  • Notify your employer.
  • Seek medical attention.

You must file a claim within six months of the date of your injury. The WSIB will make a decision on your claim. If the WSIB denies your claim, contact ONA’s WSIB Intake at WSIBintake@ona.org or 1-800-387-5580 (press 0 and ask for WSIB intake or dial extension 7721).


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted June 10, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

I am deeply troubled by the Ford PC government’s heavy-handed decision to block Ontarians’ rights to freedom of speech by invoking the never-before-used notwithstanding clause to strike down a recent court ruling.

This is an extreme abuse of power by Premier Ford to achieve personal gain. It shows disrespect for our courts and is a violation of our charter right to freedom of expression.

Regardless of what tactics Ford and his MPPs will use to try to muzzle our stories and messages leading up to the provincial election, WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!

Please join us and tell the PC MPPs to vote against this clause and defend the rule of law.

Visit ONA’s webpage, www.ona.org/no-silence, to send an email to the PC MPPs, call and tell them what you think about the government’s actions, and share our social media shareable with friends, families and colleagues.

We are in this together, and we must show the MPPs that we will not be silenced.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted June 8, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

Dear ONA member,

ONA extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Salman Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, who were tragically killed after a truck slammed into them as they took an evening walk in London, Ontario on Sunday evening.

The youngest member of the family, Fayez, 9, survived the attack and was in hospital on Monday in serious condition. We are deeply saddened and heart broken by all of this and our thoughts and prayers are with this young boy.

Police say the 20-year-old driver of the truck, who was arrested about 10 minutes from the scene the same evening, planned the attack and targeted the family because of their Muslim faith. He has been charged with four counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

ONA deplores any such acts of hate. We remain committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and human rights, and we continue to speak out against discrimination.

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted May 31, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

ONA is heart-broken to learn of the discovery in British Columbia of a mass grave of 215 Indigenous children near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the lands of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation.

It is shameful that Canada’s history includes a residential school system, which forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families, constituted cultural genocide of Canada’s First Nations peoples.

Our hearts go out to the families and communities who experienced such grievous loss and suffered from the forced internment of children in residential schools. It is a blight and shame in the history of our nation.

ONA remains dedicated to diversity and the elimination of racism in all forms. We continue to seek the valued input of our Indigenous members in helping guide us in meaningful but difficult conversations on this issue.

Indigenous staff or members who need support can call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) toll-free at 1-800-721-0066. For more information, visit the IRSSS website.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted May 30, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

In spring 2022, Ontarians will be going to the polls to elect a new provincial government. The election will take place on June 2.

ONA, as well as many other organizations, make use of the months leading up to a provincial election to engage in advertising to amplify our members’ main concerns on issues of importance. These issues are broad in scope from working conditions and the safety of our members, laws that impose wage restraints, collective bargaining, pay equity, public spending in health care, and the ongoing government management of the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few.

In April, the Ford government passed Bill 254, Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021. This is very troubling legislation because it extends the period for spending caps in the pre-election period from six to 12 months leading up to the provincial election. This means that the government requires trade unions to spend the same amount over a longer period of time – starting in May 2021.

This regressive law also prevents ONA from joining with other allies on a common campaign that would benefit our members. The government is calling this “anti-collusion.”

ONA is part of a coalition called “Working Families,” which is challenging parts of this legislation in the court as a violation of our right to freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and  Freedoms. Bill 254 prevents labour unions and other organizations from engaging in effective political advocacy and organizing on issues of importance to their members and the public more generally in the 12-month period prior to the writ in a provincial election.

In short, it is trying to hamper our ability to criticize government policies or speak out on important public policy issues. At the same time, these restrictions imposed on ONA and other trade unions do not apply to government, setting up a double standard.

We must demand this in court because you, our members, are holding your union to engage in advertising to highlight the issues we face, which are inherently political in nature. The central tenet of the Ford government’s approach to public health is to suppress nursing and health-care professional wages, cut health-care funding, compromise the health-care environment or safety within which you work, and limit freely bargained collective agreements. ONA is taking a stand to fight Bill 254 so that your stories can be told and heard leading up to this very important provincial election.

A date for a hearing for our application is set for June 2 and 3 in the Ontario Divisional Court and it will be livestreamed. Once ONA receives the link, it will be posted on our website and promoted on our social media channels. Please tune in to watch some of the proceedings.

I will keep you informed of updates related to our work on this very vital issue.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted May 24, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association

Dear ONA member,

Every day, I hear your horrific stories of working on the front lines of this pandemic. You are stressed and angry, and I share your outrage. The utter disrespect the Ford government has shown registered nurses and health-care professionals by passing the regressive Bill 124 is unfathomable.

The Ford government seems to be picking and choosing who is worthy of receiving recognition. Nurses and health-care professionals deserve a fair wage increase too! This year’s hospital collective bargaining arbitration decision will likely be released by the arbitrator at the end of May or in June. With Premier Ford’s Bill 124 still law, it is likely that hospital-sector members will not be awarded more than a one-per-cent wage increase.

ONA continues our strong advocacy work, demanding that Premier Ford repeal Bill 124. So far, more than 47,000 people have emailed their MPPs to express their concerns. It would be a very strong statement if we can exceed 50,000 emails. Please share this link with your colleagues, friends and family to help us reach that milestone: www.ona.org/bill124.

Our joint press conference with three other unions last Tuesday was a success that garnered many media highlights including this one and this article. Our phone zap last Thursday saw many of our members call and email their MPPs about how Bill 124 affects them, and this Friday, we are planning an action-packed virtual rally.

Please join us for ONA’s “Virtual” Rally on Friday, May 28 from noon to 1 p.m. Register here. The rally will be streamlined on ONA’s Facebook feed www.facebook.com/ontarionurses beginning at noon.

Our virtual rally lineup of engaging speakers includes our front-line members, Ontario labour leaders, special guests, and more – all with the same purpose: to demand the repeal of Bill 124.

We are 68,000 members strong: together, let’s show the Ford government that we are united, and we have had enough!

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


News You Can Use


ONA celebrates PRIDE!

ONA is proud to recognize and support the diversity of our members and staff, and to join in the fight against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. ONA believes in everyone’s right to dignity and equal treatment on the job. Check out our resources, virtual event listings, posters and shareables here: www.ona.org/news-posts/pride/

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • Ford government appealing pay equity court decision: ONA is appalled that the Ford government and for-profit long-term care homes have appealed a recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal and have filed the appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada in an effort to deny pay equity maintenance to long-term care home registered nurses and health-care professionals.
  • Read ONA’s submission regarding Bill 283, Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario’s Health System Act, 2021: Our submission states, in part, “ONA maintains that this is not the time to regulate personal support workers and physician assistants in Ontario. Instead, if the government is truly serious about improving health care, the priority should be placed on recruitment and retention of RNs and PSWs and broadening the duties of nurse practitioners throughout the system. The key to solving so many of the problems blighting the Ontario health-care system is better pay and working conditions.”
  • Register now for the June Provincial Coordinators Meeting: Registration is now open for the June PCM, which will be held virtually on June 15 and 16. Click here to visit the registration page and for additional information, including how to donate to Feed Ontario.
  • Attend a lecturette on June 29 about ONA’s new investigation guide: Health and Safety Representatives and Joint Health and Safety Committee members play an important role in advocating for all workers, but especially those that become injured/ill as a result of a workplace fatality, injury, illness, accident or exposure. Join Region 4 Vice-President Angela Preocanin for a lecturette about ONA’s Investigation Guide to Fatality, Critical Injury, Illness, Accident, and Exposure, which will help educate those who are engaged in this important role, or for those who have an interest in knowing more about health and safety advocacy. Click here to register.
  • 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, click here www.facebook.com/groups/onamembersand complete the two mandatory questions AND agree to the group rules.
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COVID-19 Chronicles: ONA examines the devastating consequences that occurred in long-term care. Click here to read the detailed account.


 


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted May 11, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

ONA is involved in two court cases this week in the midst of Nursing Week and the court has granted our request to livestream the proceedings. You’re all invited to watch.

Urgent Judicial Review

ONA has brought an extraordinary legal challenge – an urgent judicial review application against the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. David Williams – for failing to protect registered nurses and health-care workers against the grave risks of COVID-19 in the Ontario Divisional Court. This is the first time that such a novel case will be argued in Court.

Tune in live on Wednesday, 10 a.m. at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dNx4IX3O-4

ONA is standing with its members and demanding a safe working environment as the best possible way to demonstrate respect for registered nurses who are battling to save patients during an unprecedented third wave. ONA is calling on the CMOH to act now and protect health-care workers so that they stay healthy and be there for patients.

Despite other well-respected organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada changing their guidance to recognize aerosol and asymptomatic transmission, Ontario has failed to follow suit and do the same.

At the heart of this case is ONA’s claim that the CMOH has failed to honour the most important lesson from the SARS Commission – the precautionary principle. This means that reasonable action to reduce risk should be taken – especially in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century – if there is any scientific uncertainty or disagreement among experts.

ONA is seeking changes to the directives to require that health-care facilities provide N95 respirators to health-care workers to protect against a risk of exposure to COVID-19 or in higher-risk health-care environments such as long-term care, emergency departments, intensive care units, COVID-19 units and testing sites, and other settings.

Pay Equity Maintenance Challenge

On May 12 and 13, you can also watch ONA in court action (May 12: https://youtu.be/KYrOamldq3g and May 13: https://youtu.be/J_yn5IYipLw) regarding pay equity maintenance for the 10 former Community Care Access Centres (these agencies subsequently became the Local Health Integration Networks and then Home and Community Care Support Services).

ONA is seeking a judicial review to overturn a decision of the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal that noted that unions do not have the right under the Pay Equity Act to negotiate pay equity maintenance for our members. Because of this decision, employers have been proceeding with pay equity maintenance without the unions’ fulsome input. ONA is now seeking to overturn the Tribunal’s decision so that ONA can actively and meaningfully participate in pay equity maintenance negotiations.

It is time for equal pay for predominantly female health-care workers!

I encourage you to watch ONA’s excellent legal team standing up for your workplace rights.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada

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Posted May 10, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Great news! Accelerated second-dose vaccines for high-priority health-care workers

First, a bit of good news. Thanks in part to ONA’s continuous advocacy efforts with the Ford government, health-care workers in high-risk areas will be eligible for a shortened second-dose interval. Although details are still rolling out, the following are included to be eligible:

  • All hospital and acute care staff in front line roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19; all patient-facing health-care workers involved in the COVID-19 responses; community health-care workers serving specialized populations, including needle exchange/syringe programs and supervised consumption and treatment services; Indigenous health-care service providers; long-term care home and retirement home health-care workers; individuals working in community health centres serving disproportionally affected communities and/or communities experiencing highest burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19; home and community care health-care workers caring for recipients of chronic home care and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community, and more.

ONA will keep you informed of these developments through social media and on our website at www.ona.org/coronavirus.

Paid Sick Days Primer

Many of you will be aware that, after months of ONA’s pressure, advocacy and protests, the provincial government finally announced a new paid sick leave program for workers, Bill 284, the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.

Although this program leaves much lacking and is late in implementation, I want you, our members, to be informed of exactly what you are entitled to from the government and your employers.

This is particularly relevant to members working part-time or casual. Please ensure you are aware of these new paid sick leave rights to protect yourself, your communities, and your coworkers. Paid sick leave is crucial to stopping COVID-19.

Legislation passed by the government creates a new baseline of coverage for workers in Ontario. For your reference, here is the latest information from the government relating to your sick pay entitlements: Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.

Employers are now legally required to provide three paid sick days to employees for reasons related to COVID-19, beginning (retroactively) on April 19, 2021 and ending on September 25, 2021.

This paid leave can be used for the following reasons:

  • Being sick with COVID-19
  • Having to self-isolate due to possible exposure to COVID-19
  • Caring for a dependent who is either sick with COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19 or is isolating due to COVID-19
  • Staying home awaiting results of a COVID-19 test
  • Going for a COVID-19 test
  • Going to get vaccinated for COVID-19
  • Experiencing the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccination

You are entitled to this paid sick leave if you do not already receive paid sick time through your employer. A doctor’s note is not required to take this paid sick leave. Employers are reimbursed by the provincial government for the sick leave taken.

Claiming Retroactive Paid Leave

The paid leave is retroactive to April 19, 2021. This means that if you were off for any of the reasons listed above and did not receive paid leave – or received paid leave in a lesser amount that is provided for in the Bill – you can still make a claim. Claims dating back to April 19, 2021 must be made in writing to your employer by May 13, 2021. 

Value of Paid Leave

Bill 284 provides that an employee will receive the lesser of your normal rate of pay and $200 per day. Your normal rate of pay for the purposes of the paid leave does not include entitlements to overtime pay or premium pay.

If you are entitled to paid leave (usually sick leave) for any of the circumstances covered by the new paid leave, and it pays as much as the new leave, your three paid days will be reduced by the number of days available under your employment contract. For example, if you are entitled to two paid sick days under your employment contract, you will only be entitled to one additional day through the new paid leave provisions.

For those collective agreement provisions that provide for a percentage of earnings for sick pay, a calculation will need to be done to determine if that is at least $200. If it is not, the employer will be required to make up the difference to either the lesser of your normal rate of pay or $200. As an example, if you are entitled to 70 per cent of your earnings as sick pay, and that 70 per cent is less than $200, the employer would be required to make up the difference to equal $200.

Where the collective agreement does not cover a particular circumstance, such as self-isolation, the new paid leave will be applicable. Your entitlement to the new paid sick leave is in addition to unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

In addition to this new three-day sick leave program, the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) continues to provide you with financial support for up to four weeks of leave from your work. Please note that this benefit is not new, as it has been in place since September 27, 2020.

Under the CRSB, if a COVID-19-related issue causes you to miss between 50 per cent of a work week to four whole weeks of work, you can be eligible to receive a maximum of $500 per week in pay.

Eligibility:

  • Sick with COVID-19
  • Need to self-isolate due to COVID-19
  • Have underlying health conditions that put you at a greater risk of getting COVID-19

Employees are not eligible for the CRSB if you are:

  • Receiving paid leave from your employer for the concurrent period of time
  • Already receiving any of the following for the same period:
    • Canada Recovery Benefit
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
    • Short-term disability benefits
    • EI benefits
    • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits

NOTE: The provincial government has announced that it will offer to double the CRSB benefit for the four-week time, bringing the total to $1,000 per week in pay. However, this has not yet been confirmed and is still simply a proposal.

Concerns going forward

For more than a year, ONA and its members have been vigorously advocating for paid sick leave to protect themselves, their workplaces and their communities from the spread of COVID-19. Simply put, no one should be financially penalized for doing the right thing.

While this new provincial benefit is a victory stemming from all of our collective efforts, it still is not enough and has come far too late for so many.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the two paid sick days that the Ford government cancelled in Ontario back in 2018.

Workers need a seamless form of income protection during this pandemic and beyond, and the federal benefit has proven cumbersome and insufficient. Only the provincial government has the power to legislate that employers offer paid sick leave. As such, the Ford government should be implementing a longer period of paid sick leave during this pandemic and on a permanent basis that treats workers fairly and protects communities from the spread of disease.

ONA will continue to advocate for this until all Ontarians receive the coverage they deserve.

Please contact your Bargaining Unit President if you have questions.

Take care and stay well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Posted May 9, 2021

Dear ONA member,

Typically, ONA’s Nursing Week is filled with celebrations, honours and light-hearted cheers. Nursing Week is not meant to be “political.”

Well, times have changed.

We are all exhausted, angry and fed up with what is happening in Ontario. There is undeniable stress in your work and workplaces. On top of it all, the Ford government has passed bills that have made your working conditions more difficult, including Bill 124, which affects wages and eliminates our right to bargain freely.

The hospital bargaining decision – I refuse to call it an award – will be released by the Arbitrator at the end of May or in June. With the Premier’s Bill 124 still law, it is highly unlikely that, despite our best efforts, we will achieve more than a one-per-cent wage increase. This, with everything that nurses have gone through, is outrageous and unacceptable.

ONA is demanding that Premier Ford repeal Bill 124.

Throughout Nursing Week there will be collective actions that you, our members, can take to not only make the Ford government aware of your anger and frustration but to demand that the government finally value nurses and take meaningful action.

Throughout the month of May, ONA is planning a series of actions that you can participate in to voice your concerns with Bill 124. We will be holding a Phone and Email Zap and a Virtual Rally. We will also be joining with several other unions – including Unifor (ORNGE), SEIU and CUPE – to hold a virtual press conference about Bill 124.

Join the movement of nurses and health-care professionals that are demanding respect, fair wages and the right to freely negotiate. Stand up and be counted as we seize this important moment before the release of the arbitration award to exercise our power as 68,000 strong and show Premier Ford that we have had enough.

Participate in our Bill 124 Phone and Email Zap! Contact the Ford cabinet and opposition party leaders on Thursday, May 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Register Now!

Don’t miss ONA’s Facebook Livestream Rally to Repeal Bill 124 Now! Join us on Friday, May 28 from noon-1 p.m. Register Here!

ONA will continue to escalate your demands through further actions and advocacy, leading up to the provincial election on June 2, 2022. Many of our Locals and members are planning actions on social media to assist in the fight.

We are 68,000+ members strong and we must be united. We must show the Ford government that we will not continue to be bullied and ignored. We will continue to push issues that most affect you with government.

In the meantime, take a moment for yourselves this Nursing Week. Be kind to yourselves and to each other and acknowledge your courage and strength. Visit www.ona.org/nw21 for posters, shareables, and more that recognize the excellent work that you continue to do for your patients, residents and clients.

Take care, be well, and join in this fight.

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


Ontario Nurses’ Association · 85 Grenville St, Toronto, ON M5S 3A2, Canada  


Posted May 3, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Last Friday evening (April 30, 2021), the Long-Term Care (LTC) COVID-19 Commission released its final report, which contains 85 recommendations. It paints a damning picture of long-standing neglect, deficiencies in Ontario’s pandemic preparedness and a slow, reactive government response in which critical decisions came too late.

The Commission’s recommendations are far-reaching. If acted upon, they will revolutionize LTC, improve quality of life for residents while at the same time make LTC a much better work environment for its many dedicated staff.

ONA’s strong advocacy

ONA ensured that the experiences of our members were front and centre in the Commission’s investigation. ONA’s many advocacy efforts included appearing before the Commission twice; sharing results of an ONA LTC members’ survey, which is referred to in the Commission’s final report; and providing submissions and recommendations, many of which have been adopted by the Commission. In addition, 20 ONA members spoke confidentially about their experiences; another 10 members participated anonymously in group meetings, and much more advocacy work was completed. You can read ONA’s submissions, recommendations and advocacy work on our website at www.ona.org/commission.

All of this information ensured that the Commission was informed about what was actually happening on the ground during the pandemic. Your impactful stories were heard and made a difference. In fact, several ONA members are quoted anonymously in the report.

Key Findings

The Commission’s report covers four key areas:

  1. Challenges facing LTC pre-COVID-19
  2. Deficiencies in pandemic preparedness
  3. The crisis in LTC during the pandemic
  4. Best practices and promising ideas

Below is a high-level summary of key findings by the Commission.

Challenges facing LTC pre-COVID-19

The Commission finds that the LTC sector has been neglected by a successive series of governments. Health needs of residents are increasingly more complex, yet the sector is underfunded and unable to deliver the required levels of care. Staffing is inadequate, with high turnover; workloads are excessive; and there is an over-reliance on part-time workers, the majority of whom are women and many of whom are racialized. The skill mix is insufficient given the increased acuity of residents.

The Commission recommends reducing the role of for-profit “dividend-driven” operators to accessing capital and building new homes but recommends that they have no role in running homes, explaining that “care should be the sole focus of the entities responsible for long-term care.”

Deficiencies in Pandemic Preparedness

Ontario was unprepared for a pandemic, despite the key recommendations arising from SARS, which were not implemented. Although Ontario had initially “strengthened its defenses” against a pandemic, those measures were not continued, and largely not applied to LTC. Ontario lost the will to be proactive, plan and prepare for a pandemic.

The Commission is clear that the Ministry of Health did not meet its legislative obligation to plan for a pandemic. There was no up-to-date cohesive pandemic plan. Simulations and drills were not conducted.

Pandemic Crisis in LTC

The Commission finds that the province’s response to the pandemic was slow and reactive. The precautionary principle was not followed, and critical decisions came too late.

Once the pandemic hit LTC, staffing levels collapsed. Those staff who remained were required to care for residents in horrifying conditions. Their workload was unbearable, and they were given increased responsibilities. The Commission quotes from ONA’s survey that 43 per cent of respondents reported that since March 2020, they did not have an RN in the home at all times.

Despite having time to prepare, LTC homes fared even worse during the second wave. Government support was lacking, and initiatives intended to provide assistance did not produce results.

Best Practices and Promising Ideas

In Chapter 4, the Commission reviews urgent solutions needed to address historical, systemic failures of LTC and ensure that homes enact the necessary measures to minimize the risks of COVID-19 in the homes.

The Commissioners recommend that LTC homes adopt a person-centred model of care that focuses on treatment and resources based on the needs of residents and their families. In addition, the Commission finds that investment in home-care options is better for the overall health of seniors, and also eases pressure of a LTC system in crisis.

Commission’s Key Recommendations

The Commission accepted many of ONA’s key recommendations. Most importantly, they emphasize the importance of the precautionary principle and call for immediate, urgent changes to increase staffing, improve the skill mix in LTC homes and improve working conditions.

To address untenable staffing in LTC, the Commission recommends:

  • Four hours of direct hands-on care provided by nurses and PSWs. Of that, 20 per cent must be provided by RNs, 25 per cent by RPNs, and 55 per cent by PSWs.
  • One Nurse Practitioner for every 120 beds.
  • Increase care provided by allied health professionals to 60 minutes a day, per resident.

These steps must be taken immediately and urgently. It cannot wait until 2025.

Working Conditions

The Commission recognizes the importance of working conditions in LTC. They recommend:

  • More full-time positions to be created, with a target of 70 per cent of nursing and PSW positions being full-time and 30 per cent part-time. This will reduce reliance on agency and part-time staffing.
  • Wages and benefits must be aligned within the sector and with those provided in public hospitals.

Funding

The Commission recommends that funding be increased to meet the needs of residents. The Ministry of Long-Term Care should actively promote and provide funding for homes transitioning to alternative person-centred models of care.

LTC Home Development

The Commission finds that the business of LTC must be revisited. It recommends separating construction of LTC facilities, for which private capital funding is required, from the care provided in those facilities. Construction of new or redeveloped beds should be open to the private sector to access capital to build the facilities. The province would pay to use the facility, thus providing investors with a return. The province would then license not-for-profit operators or mission-driven for-profit operators (as opposed to dividend driven) to manage the home.

Compliance and Enforcement

The Commission makes a number of key recommendations around compliance and enforcement of legislative obligations, including developing a coordinated inspection regime involving the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and public health units to ensure residents enjoy the quality of life and receive the quality of care set out in the Long-Term Care Homes Act and that a safe and healthy workplace is created for staff.

Next Steps

The Commission has made it clear that the time for action is now. There will be future pandemics and Ontario must be ready for the next time.

ONA is advocating to the Ford government to implement the Commission’s recommendations immediately. We will be launching several actions, and I encourage everyone to participate. Together, we must push for positive change in LTC. Our residents deserve no less.

The tragedy that occurred during this pandemic must never be repeated.

Take care and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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 April 28, 2021

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Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

Dear ONA member,

“I have never felt more helpless. There were too many residents dying, and I couldn’t help them all. There was also the knowledge that I could catch COVID from the non-existent PPE, but I continued to work because if I didn’t stay, there would be no staff.” – ONA member

This verbatim account from an ONA front-line member should never have happened. ONA is advocating to prevent anything like it from ever occurring again.

On April 30, the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission will release its final report to the Minister of Long-Term Care. ONA is hopeful that the report will include sustainable recommendations that will be implemented by the government, which will – once and for all – fix long-term care (LTC).

When the Ontario government launched the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission last July, it was tasked with examining the devastation that occurred as the virus ravaged this sector. Fixing LTC has been a long time coming, decades in fact. Countless reports, inquiries and other commissions have taken place in Ontario with little to no substantive changes to benefit our frail residents. Hundreds of pages of documents full of good intentions sit on shelves at various institutions, collecting dust.

ONA knew we had a big role to play in telling your horrific stories about the continued devastation occurring in LTC during the pandemic. Your stories, including the hundreds of first-hand accounts of employer inactions, lack of PPE, and gross understaffing, have anchored our submissions to the Commission. ONA developed 105 recommendations, included in one of three detailed reports submitted to the Commission. We hope our work will not be in vain, and the government quickly acts on the recommendations.

Our COVID-19 Chronicles web series broadly focuses on ONA’s role in supporting our members, workers and residents. One of our most troubling issues this past year – and there have been many – was that employers were refusing to provide proper PPE to our nurses and health-care professionals working in LTC. ONA was forced to take these employers to court to press employers to protect them and their residents. As ONA CEO Beverly Mathers points out, “In what world do workers have to take employers to court to receive basic protections from COVID-19?” ONA won, but our members continue to face significant challenges in getting proper PPE, including fitted N95 respirators.

When the Commission’s final report is released, we hope to see among its recommendations:

  • An immediate increase to funding per home to ensure there are 4.1 hours of direct care provided by registered nurses, registered practical nurses, and personal support workers.
  • Increased full-time RN staffing.
  • The adoption of the precautionary principle as a guiding principle in public health, infection prevention and control and occupational health and safety systems. It must inform every response to the pandemic.
  • Readily accessible proper PPE for all regulated health professionals and other health-care workers in the home.
  • The provision of mental health supports to employees who worked throughout the pandemic, including counseling, to be made available to employees for up to two years at no cost to them.
  • The development of a plan by the Ministry of Long-Term Care to ensure that all “for-profit” long-term care homes are eliminated and replaced by a “not-for-profit” home within the next five years.

Further information and actions will be coming after we have reviewed the recommendations from the Commission.

Take care and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


News You Can Use


Celebrate Nursing Week, May 10-16!

ONA is here to help you celebrate Nursing Week. Download ONA’s posters and shareables for your social media feeds. Take this opportunity to tell ONA why, despite everything that has arisen because of COVID-19, you take pride in being a nurse and why the work you do is so important to communities across our province. Everyone who posts a story on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag, #StandInMyShoes, will be entered to win a pair of Apple AirPods.

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

PROTECT YOURSELF! ONA continues to be in dispute with the Chief Medical Officer of Health that COVID-19 can be airborne at times other than by Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures, for example, aerosol generating behaviours, i.e., shouting, coughing, spitting, singing, etc. Directive 5 allows a health-care professional to complete a point-of-care risk assessment and access PPE beyond that is required for Contact and Droplet Precautions, e.g., a N95 respirator. Such a request cannot be denied. If you are denied a mask, please advise your Bargaining Unit President, who is supported by an ONA Labour Relations Officer.

  • Read Board Highlights: The April Board Highlights are now available. Please click here to learn about updates from the meeting, including important decisions that affect our members.
  • ONA bargaining updates are here: 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 next steps.
  • Attention Indigenous members: ONA’s Anti-Racism Member Advisory Team is seeking an Indigenous member to join and participate on this amazing team. If you are interested, please complete ONA’s Expression of Interest Form here.
  • May is National Physiotherapy Month: ONA is proud to recognize the work of these highly skilled professionals by celebrating National Physiotherapy Month every May. This year, we recognize the dedication of physiotherapists who continue to work on the front lines to meet the  needs of their patients throughout the pandemic.
  • 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, click here www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers and complete the two mandatory questions AND agree to the group rules.
  • International Workers’ Day is May 1: On International Workers’ Day or “May Day” we recognize the efforts of our forebearers in the labour movement. Around the world, events are held to honour those who have worked and fought to ensure better rights, wages and working conditions for all workers, and to speak out about ongoing labour issues and injustices.
ona-newsletter-image.jpg

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 https://action.ona.org/hs-ebulletin to sign up. On The Safe Side is subscriber-based only, so you must register to receive the quarterly eNewsletter.


 

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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Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

As Ontario’s COVID-19 cases and ICU admissions continue to rise, the Ford government has revised several regulations that are intended to assist with hospital capacity and health human resources demands. The government has also revised Directive #3, as noted below.

The revisions aim to help facilitate the transfer of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients to long-term care and retirement homes and enable staff availability.

Amended ON Regulation 312/21 – Work Redeployment for Local Health Integration Networks and Ontario Health

This order was issued last week to enable Home and Community Care Support Service (HCCSS) staff to redeploy into hospitals. This amended order now permits the redeployment to also be to long-term care and/or retirement homes. We were advised by HCCSS that such redeployment will be strongly encouraged, but will be voluntary and subject to limitations on meeting the needs of the work in HCCSS. Any redeployments will be planned and supported by secondment agreements. In long-term care homes, redeployment will only be utilized to support patient transfers to long-term care when all other opportunities to increase staffing have been exhausted.

Revised Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes

This directive has been amended to enable the transfer of ALC patients to long-term care and retirement homes.

Changes include:

  • The self-isolation requirements under Droplet and Contact Precautions for new admissions from the hospital by recognizing difference based on immunization status or post-COVID status:

o Fully immunized residents – a lab-based PCR test is required at time of admission/transfer. The individual must be placed in isolation on Droplet and Contact Precautions if the test result is pending. If the test result is negative, then isolation and Droplet and Contact Precautions can be discontinued. If the test is positive, isolation and Droplet and Contact Precautions must be continued. Fully immunized means that the individual has received all doses in their COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., both doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series) and more than 14 days have passed since the receipt of their last dose.

o Partially immunized or unimmunized residents – a lab-based PCR test is required at the time of admission/transfer and the resident must be placed in isolation on Droplet and Contact Precautions for a minimum of 10 days. A second negative lab-based PCR test result collected on day eight is required to discontinue isolation and Droplet and Contact Precautions on day 10; otherwise, isolation and Droplet and Contact Precautions must be maintained until day 14.

o Recently recovered COVID-19 residents – those who are within 90 days (from the date the test was taken) from a prior lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection are not required to be tested or placed in isolation on Droplet and Contact Precautions on arrival. If there is uncertainty about the validity of the recent COVID-19 infection, the long-term care home (LTCH) must consult their local public health unit. LTCHs should be aware of the potential for ongoing positive lab-based PCR results several weeks after infection.

If a single room is not available, new admissions may be cohorted together to a maximum of two per room, if appropriate.

An individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 may be admitted or transferred back to the LTCH, provided that the admission/transfer is approved by the local public health unit.

The Directive also contains changes to self-isolation for residents who have been absent from the home.

I encourage you to complete a point-of-care risk assessment prior to your interactions with newly transferred residents and/or residents who have been absent from the home. If you believe there is a risk of the resident being COVID-19 positive, I encourage you to access PPE appropriate for airborne risk, i.e., an N95 respirator or equivalent or better.

PROTECT YOURSELF!

ONA continues to be in dispute with the Chief Medical Officer of Health that COVID-19 can be airborne at times other than Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures, for example, aerosol generating behaviours, i.e., shouting, coughing, spitting, singing, etc. Directive 5 allows a health-care professional to complete a point of care risk assessment and access PPE beyond that is required for Contact and Droplet Precautions, e.g., a N95 respirator. Such a request cannot be denied. If you are denied a mask, please advise your Bargaining Unit President, who is supported by an ONA Labour Relations Officer.

Amended ON Regulation 146/20 – Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home and Amended ON Regulation 158/20 – Limiting Work to a Single Retirement Home

The changes to these two regulations permit fully vaccinated staff to work in more than one long-term care or retirement home or other health service provider. Fully immunized means that the individual has received all doses in their COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., both doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series) and more than 14 days have passed since the receipt of their last dose.

ONA was not notified of these changes by the Ministry of Long-Term Care in advance. Surveillance testing requirements for employees continue, despite our best efforts to have the testing reduced.

I know that many ONA members have not received both doses of vaccine and would not be considered to be fully immunized. ONA continues to lobby and push for second doses of vaccine accelerated to health-care workers.

The Ford government continues to make changes to your work environments on Friday nights and over the weekends, and it is difficult to manage both the timing and the number of communications about these changes. We are doing our best to keep you, our members, informed of any changes.

Redeployment between hospitals

On Monday, ONA was advised by the Ontario Hospital Association and Ontario Health that ONA members may be approached to voluntarily relocate and work in hospitals that are overwhelmed by admitted COVID-19 patients. Employers may be reaching out over the coming days, where they are able to facilitate to release some staff temporarily to assist. If you are willing, you would be seconded to another hospital either within commuting distance or perhaps through temporary relocation with expenses paid. You would be advised in advance of your work location and your collective agreement will apply for all purposes. Contact your Bargaining Unit President if you have any questions.

ONA is here for you, our members

Since the pandemic began, ONA has brought your voice to the government and offered solutions to the many problems Ontario has faced and is facing in its third wave. We have been vocal at government meetings, during briefings, in the media and so much more.

We had to force employers who were not following Directive #5 to court so our members are able to conduct a point-of-care risk assessment to assist with protection from COVID-19. We won.

The Ford government passed Bill 124, the wage suppression legislation that caps public sector workers’ wages to one per cent each year for three years. ONA has launched a Charter challenge that will take years for a decision by the court.

ONA has filed grievances on behalf of members when employers are not following the specific provisions of Emergency Orders. While employers have the general power from a redeployment perspective to respond to COVID-19, they must do so in a manner consistent with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, our health and safety provisions of the collective agreement including infection control, and the precautionary principle.

In May, we head to the courts again to challenge the Chief Medical Officer of Health to amend all Directives to include mandatory protection for airborne transmission.

As I mentioned earlier, we will continue to push for the second dose of vaccine to be prioritized for all health-care workers who are front-facing.

ONA is speaking out at every opportunity. We are working with you, your leaders and ONA staff to protect your rights in these very challenging circumstances. We are in a very tenuous time, and we are all exhausted and fed up with the incomplete approach of the government.

And ONA is here, and we will continue to respond as the government takes further actions.

Take care and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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.

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

This Wednesday, April 28 is the Day of Mourning, a day when ONA and other organizations acknowledge and remember workers who have been killed, injured, or made ill at work.

We honour ONA members Brian Beattie, who died due to COVID-19; a member who passed away in a work-related car accident; Nelia Laroza and Tecla Lin who died after contracting SARS; and Lori Dupont, who was murdered while working at a Windsor hospital. The list of members who have passed away due to work-related issues sadly continues to grow. ONA will continue to advocate for members’ health and safety at the government, employer and Bargaining Unit levels. Workplace injuries, deaths and illnesses are preventable.

The Day of Mourning is all the more significant given the third wave of COVID-19. Our members are continuing to be stretched and are facing many health and safety issues, including lack of and blocked access to proper PPE and N95 respirators, unsafe workloads, workplace violence and so much more.

I hope you are able to take a bit of time in the next week to honour all workers. There are several online events taking place, so please visit this link to see the list. As well, the Canadian Labour Congress is seeking stories from front-line workers who are risking their lives at work. Click here to learn more and share your story for the Day of Mourning.

ONA’s posters and social media shareables are on this page, so please download the items and share them on social media.

Stay safe and be well,

Vicki

 

Register for an Ask A Specialist webinar

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

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

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

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.

Tuesday, May 4, 11 a.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KKLmBobWSdaC_umbiFgU3w

All – Professional Responsibility and College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Standards of Practice

In this new webinar specially designed for nurses, our specialists will provide a brief overview of nurses’ professional responsibilities as per CNO’s Practice Standards and Guidelines, discuss commonly impacted Practice Standards and Guidelines when workload issues arise and answer questions you may have about connecting workload issues to Practice Standards when completing PRWRFs.

Tuesday May 4, 4 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_H28ysazBQqS0f9AN3BOFFg

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 to connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice, and more.

Tuesday May 4, 7:30 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PhqBGhvUQ3GmcdMx259aOg

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.

Thursday May 13, 11 a.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__9ClNkGTRSKzqRlRMDTdSw

All – Your Rights and Professional Responsibilities with Redeployment & Reassignment

In this new webinar, our specialists will explore your accountabilities when being redeployed or reassigned, what to do when working with the reassigned worker, considerations for your practice and patients and your rights and responsibilities – using the PRWRF to advocate for change and to protect your College Standards of Practice.

Thursday May 13, 4 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_d9WHDEPBQqCE6tCOP5VKjA

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.

Thursday May 13, 7:30 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HArp2zgKRSeI-Ed6MrXekA

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

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 April 23, 2021

cno logo

IMPORTANT UPDATE: New provincial orders – change to scope of practice in hospitals

Dear nurses:

A new order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 1990 (EMCPA) authorizes health care professionals, including nurses, to provide patient care services outside their regular scope of practice and enables hospitals to employ, contract, appoint or otherwise engage regulated health professionals from out of province. You can read the new regulation here: Ontario Regulation 305/21 Regulated Health Professionals, made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 1990.

Under this new order, health professionals from Ontario or out of province, including nurses, are authorized to engage outside of their regular scope of practice provided that doing so is necessary in order for the health care professional to respond to, prevent, or alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The services provided must also be consistent with the duties that have been assigned or the privileges that have been granted by the hospital.

This new order applies only to nurses working in hospitals whether registered with CNO in the general, extended, non-practising, temporary, special assignment or Emergency Assignment class. While this order allows nurses to work outside of scope, nurses are still required to work within their knowledge, skill and judgment. The order does not permit nurses to practice outside of scope while they are working outside a hospital.

Nurses authorized to practice in other Canadian jurisdictions may be employed by Ontario hospitals under this new order. These nurses do not have to register with CNO and are not permitted to work in settings outside a hospital.

The Ministry of Health made CNO aware of these changes yesterday. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our website (www.CNO.org) with any new information that becomes available.

You are encouraged to speak with your employer to further understand any implications to your practice.

Earlier this week, I expressed my appreciation to Ontario’s nurses. Thank you for the commitment you have demonstrated to do your very best to keep patients safe in these challenging times.


Anne Coghlan, RN, MScN
Executive Director and CEO


Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

The high number of COVID-19 patients is maximizing hospital capacity and our members’ ability to care for their patients, residents and clients. Patients are being moved from hot spots to areas where hospitals have ICU and inpatient capacity.

You are all working so very hard during this stressful pandemic, and we know that this wave is unlike the prior waves. Know that ONA continues to advocate for you. We are working with the government, the regulatory colleges, and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to find solutions to assist you through this crisis.

As you are aware, the province has been taking steps to maximize capacity in the health-care system.

1. They are ramping down elective surgeries. To this end, the government updatedDirective #2 earlier this week.

2. Hospitals are transferring patients to other health-care environments where the most appropriate care can be provided, e.g., long-term care, other hospitals, or home.

3. Government is also issuing additional Emergency Orders to redeploy health-care workers, such as those working at the Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) and the student extern program, to sites experiencing significant capacity pressures.

4. Hospitals are recruiting additional health-care workers, e.g., the College of Nurses has implemented an Emergency Assignment Class.

All of these measures will support front-line health-care workers and provide staffing flexibility to hospitals, while ensuring high-quality patient care. This includes alternate team-based models of care.

The government is taking additional steps to address the crisis and urgent pressures to support health-care workers and hospitals. Two new Emergency Orders have been issued. Click here to read the government’s memo.

1. A new order enables regulated health professionals, either from Ontario or out-of-province, to be authorized to engage in any aspect of the practice of any health profession, provided that it is necessary in response to the pandemic, is consistent with the duties that are assigned or the privileges that are granted by the hospital, and the professional acts in a manner that is consistent with any measures taken by a hospital as part of its efforts to respond to prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19.

Hospitals are responsible for ensuring that staff members are only assigned tasks or asked to deliver services that they are reasonably qualified to provide. Hospitals should conduct a skill and experience inventory and consult with staff to satisfy themselves what position(s) each member is reasonably qualified to perform. Click here to read an ONA communication from December, 2020 regarding redeployment and reassignment.

The government assures ONA that most hospitals will be working in team-based environments and redeployed health-care professionals will be working under the direction of an employee of the department with the skill set of that department. Nurses and other health-care professionals have many skills that are transferable to certain environments. There are opportunities to work within those skills and be part of the health-care teams with appropriate supports that will get us through this crisis together.

All orders must comply with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act(EMCPA).

This means two things:

i) The orders can authorize but cannot require a person to be redeployed and render services; and

ii) The person must be reasonably qualified to perform the services or duties they are assigned.

Health-care professionals have the right to refuse work if they are not reasonably qualified or competent to provide the task or service requested. The registered nurse (RN) should ensure that there is an appropriate transfer of care in accordance with the professional standard on refusing or discontinuing nursing services.

In short, nurses must ensure they are reasonably qualified to perform the redeployed position and duties to protect themselves against the risk of liability. Once this condition is met, then the authorization under the order to engage in any aspect of the practice of any health profession applies, despite any statute or professional standard that governs regulated health-care professionals.

As we understand the planning at this time, health-care professionals from other provinces that may be seconded to Ontario (like the HCCSS employees are redeployed to hospitals) will remain employees of their employer, who will be continuing their salaries and benefits.

Where employees are redeployed to other geographical areas, there is money approved to pay for accommodations, transportation, and meals.

2. An additional order authorizes Independent Health Facilities (IHFs) to redeploy staff to hospitals on a voluntary basis to help with capacity needs relative to the third wave of COVID-19. We understand that some IHFs will be closing temporarily. We encourage our members to redeploy to hospitals and assist in this crisis.

Both government and ONA are requesting that all health regulatory colleges provide support to their registrants who are impacted by these orders. ONA has written to the College of Nurses of Ontario and other regulatory colleges for ONA health-care professional members, advising of their need to understand the realities of the current environment where our members are providing care. It is not providing care in normal circumstances. The government has requested that hospitals only rely on staff redeployment as provided in the order when necessary.

I encourage you to work together. These are extraordinary times and acts of kindness and understanding while working together will get us through this.

Be safe and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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 April 21, 2021

cno logo

A message to Ontario’s nurses

I am writing this message as nurses are again at the forefront of responding to a crisis in our health care system. I know that for many of you, these challenges bring a high degree of uncertainty and stress as you experience change in ways you may never have experienced before.

You may be concerned about maintaining standards of practice under the current and evolving conditions, particularly if you are being asked to assist in areas where you do not normally work. Our statement on the standard of carehas been updated and I remind you that CNO always considers the context in which you must provide care when we are assessing concerns that we may receive.

During these challenging times, we are working hard to get you the support you need. Registration of nurses is our top priority as we work to register as many nurses as possible to support patient care needs during this pandemic. Our website has the latest information on registration and how to contact our Practice Quality team for consultation and additional resources to support your safe practice.

I extend my heartfelt appreciation for the commitment and dedication of Ontario’s nurses who continue to work tirelessly to keep patients safe.

Thank you for your skill, compassion and caring.

Stay safe and stay well.

Anne Coghlan, RN, MScN
Executive Director and CEO


Posted April 16, 2021

logo

Dear HOOPP member,

HOOPP is proud to be the pension plan provider for Ontario’s healthcare workers. Throughout the pandemic, you have been a source of constant inspiration for us. In recognition of the incredibly challenging environment, and supported by the strong performance of our Plan, I am pleased to inform you that HOOPP’s Board of Trustees has approved an increase in your pension benefits.

Effective Apr. 1, 2021, members who were active in the Plan as of that date, will receive an increase in their lifetime pension for any contributory service in 2018, 2019 and/or 2020. Simply put, that means eligible members, like you, will now receive a larger monthly pension benefit once you retire. Read more about the details of the increase.

We felt this was an important benefit to offer our active members, especially considering the stress and hardship caused by the current environment. HOOPP was able to provide the increase as a result of our strong Plan performance over time. We entered 2020 in a very solid position and, despite volatile markets and difficult economic conditions, the Plan remains strong and fully funded. Our investment return for the year was 11.42% and our funded ratio was 119%. Our assets were $104 billion at year end, which was a record high. Also, in early 2021, we reached a new milestone of 400,000 total members. For more information on our results, you can view our 2020 Highlights on hoopp.com/2020.

HOOPP is resilient and has successfully navigated many economic downturns. We have a long history of supporting our members and we will continue to do that by investing with a long-term view and managing the Plan in our members’ best interest.

We offer our most heartfelt thanks to our members as they care for us through this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Jeff Wendling

President & Chief Executive Officer / Chief Investment Officer

HOOPP

1 York Street Suite 1900

Toronto ON M5J 0B6

1-877-43-HOOPP (46677)


Posted April 10, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

As promised, we are here to keep you informed of the most up-to-date developments that impact you, our members.

Please join ONA First Vice-President Cathryn Hoy, CEO Beverly Mathers and me for Telephone Town Halls/Facebook Live on Thursday, April 15 for the latest on redeployment, COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, vaccine rollouts, implications of the third wave, changes to Directives, PPE and an update on ONA’s judicial review application.

For members in Regions 3 and 4, the Telephone Town Hall will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For members in Regions 1, 2 and 5, it will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. When you receive the telephone call, please stay on the line and you will be connected. If you are not able to answer the phone, you will receive a voice message with the phone number that you can call to join the town hall.

The town halls will be livestreamed on Facebook. Join us at www.facebook.com/ontarionurses to listen to the conversation, ask questions and participate online.

Please make sure that ONA has your most up-to-date contact information so we can call you. Complete this online form with your details.

We want to know what you are hearing on the ground and, in turn, answer your questions. Join us on April 15 by telephone or online to participate and to engage in the work of our union. We look forward to hearing from you.

It is time to focus on yourself

This past year has been challenging for everyone. As nurses and health-care professionals, you have all been pushed to your limits.

That is why I encourage you to set aside a bit of time to focus on yourself.

I am pleased to announce that – together with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) – we have launched a new mental health program for nurses and health-care professionals called MindWell for Health-care Workers.

It is a program that was designed through consultations with CFNU mental health experts and nurse leaders from across the country. We are all very excited about the program, which will offer our members training and tools to better manage stress and difficult situations. Through live, virtual classes, it fosters an interactive environment tailored to health-care workers to feel supported and connected, coupled with self-paced learning of about 10 minutes each week.

Please visit the website to find out more and to register. The program starts on April 12 and space is limited, so if you are under stress and need help, please register as soon as you are able.

Register now for the Ask A Specialist webinars

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

Join a one-hour webinar to be guided through the steps and to better understand the direct connections between your Standards of Practice and filing a Professional Responsibility Workload Report Form (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 to connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice, and more.

Thursday, April 22, 11 a.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vu-gHRiYTBaWA7SBQWQtIg

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.

Thursday, April 22, 4 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__Dr5JFzbRbaCaCmrT3r_3A

All – Your Rights and Professional Responsibilities with Redeployment and Reassignment

In this new webinar, our specialists will explore your accountabilities when being redeployed or reassigned, what to do when working with the reassigned worker, considerations for your practice and patients and your rights and responsibilities – using the PRWRF to advocate for change and to protect your College of Standards of Practice.

Thursday, April 22, 7:30 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-z4D3uC0T8agMQ98DOtMZQ

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.

Tuesday, April 27, 11 a.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3vTR3GkpQ9i2pGTZnDR8Mg

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.

Tuesday, April 27, 4 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eRYAUHyQSHKjqMnbEdmToQ

All – Professional Responsibility and College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Standards of Practice

In this new webinar specially designed for nurses, our specialists will provide a brief overview of nurses’ professional responsibilities as per CNO’s Practice Standards and Guidelines, discuss commonly impacted Practice Standards and Guidelines when workload issues arise and answer questions you may have about connecting workload issues to Practice Standards when completing PRWRFs.

Tuesday, April 27, 7:30 p.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-v4uco28So27TJXZmJFoMg

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

Thank you.

Stay safe and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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 April 9, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Today, the Ontario government advised ONA that it is enacting a new emergency order to permit Ontario Health (OH) and the Home and Care Community Support Services (HCCSS, formerly the Local Health Integration Networks [LHINs]), to redeploy staff to hospitals to address capacity and staffing pressures during the third wave of COVID-19.

As a result of the order, Care Coordinators can now be redeployed to hospitals. This order has not yet been enacted or issued; it is expected later today.

The Order’s Intention

The order is intended to support hospitals’ strained ability to treat acute care needs and address the human resources needs. An Ontario Health memo was sent to hospitals last evening to ramp down services in all but the northern area of the province. It is expected this will be extended to the north as well in the near future.

The second part of the emergency order will permit HCCSS staff to be redeployed to other HCCSS agencies. This redeployment would be between OH and HCCSS, and between each of the 14 HCCSS sites, as needed, to allow skilled staff to volunteer or be redeployed to acute-care teams within the hospitals and to backfill for those who are redeployed. This could mean assignment to another HCCSS as backfill.

The order will be in effect for 14 days and may be extended for subsequent 14-day periods.

The emergency orders will be similar to prior orders and will mandate the following:

  • The employer should only rely on this regulation when reasonably necessary to respond to, prevent and alleviate COVID-19.
  • Employees continue to be the employee of the sending organization and have all the rights afforded under that Collective Agreement, including premiums, WSIB and liability coverage. The employer has all the obligations and responsibility for that employee, including measures to ensure the health and safety of employees such as those under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • The employer will conduct any skills and experience inventories of staff to identify possible alternative roles in hospitals and be provided with appropriate education and training to achieve the purposes of the redeployment plan.

Government has indicated that staff should not be put in a precarious situation where skills and training are not adequate to fulfill a particular role. For example, if a registered nurse has not been in a clinical role, then the employer should only consider redeployment to testing sites or other comparable areas. Hospitals should also be developing a team-based model for redeployed staff.

Principles should apply for redeployment

ONA and other trade unions have indicated that the following principles should apply for redeployment:

  • Any redeployment should rely on staff volunteers first.
  • The Bargaining Unit President and the Labour Relations Officer should receive notice of which employers employees are going into and where our members are deployed.
  • Redeployment should be to a hospital close to the sending or home employer as possible.
  • Infection prevention and control and health and safety measures should be implemented prior to redeployment of staff, including ensuring access to and supply of proper personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, based on your point of care risk assessment and clinical assessment. ONA is recommending that staff request an N95 respirator whenever there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19, including on units where patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19 are located.
  • Pay attention to individual needs, e.g., schedules, child and elder care, any work accommodation.
  • There should be clear roles and responsibilities and training/orientation at the receiving organization.
  • There should be clear lines of communication to managers at both sites.
  • Upon completion of the redeployment, measures should be put in place to ensure a safe return to work and any required period of self-isolation should be fully paid by the employer.

ONA also urged government to prioritize hospital and redeployed staff for vaccination.

Amendments to Directives #3 and #5

The Ontario Government recently amended Directives #3 and #5. Notably, the government did not take this opportunity to amend the Directives to recognize aerosol or pre-symptomatic transmission and to mandate the use of N95 respirators in situations where our members are at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

ONA has consistently taken this position with government including in its recent judicial review application of the Chief Medical Officer of Health decision to fail to recognize these modes of transmission.

The amendments to Directive #3 however, include changing the definition of an outbreak. Prior to the change implemented on April 7, 2021, “outbreak” was defined in Directive #3 as follows:

“LTCHs [long-term care homes] must consider a single, laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member as a confirmed respiratory outbreak in the LTCH.”

Directive #3 provides a new definition of outbreak in long-term care homes and retirement homes, which is now two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in residents and/or staff (or other visitors) in a home with an epidemiological link within a 14-day period where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the home. Examples of reasonably having acquired an infection in a home include:

  • No obvious source of infection outside of the long-term care home/retirement home setting; OR
  • Known exposure in the long-term care home/retirement home setting.

Despite this change to the definition of outbreak in Directive #3, Directive #5 has been revised to clarify that the single case definition of an outbreak is maintained for access to personal protective equipment for a non-regulated health-care worker.

Where there is one-laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or resident, health care workers can make an independent assessment as to whether they require an N95 respirator:

For public hospitals in COVID-19 outbreak, as declared by the local Medical Officer of Health, and for long-term care homes with one laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or a resident, if a health-care worker comes in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 in a patient or resident where a two-metre distance cannot be assured, the health-care worker can determine if a fit-tested N95 respirator or approved equivalent or better protection is needed and must receive this additional precaution.

The above-noted definition of outbreak in Directive #5 is different than the definition of outbreak in Directive #3.

We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Please contact your Bargaining Unit President if you have further questions.

Be safe and be well,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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 April 8, 2021

From: Brenda Pugh
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2021 11:11 AM
To: ONA
Subject: FW: This Week @ ONA: new mental health support program launches; read ONA govt submission; Nursing Week; phone zap and more

Good morning,

Please see the announcement from our provincial president, regarding Mental health support for nursing, to help with the ongoing stress, please see below

Hello,

With COVID-19’s third wave firmly here in Ontario, we continue to be burdened with stressful situations that impact our mental health.

I’m pleased to announce that – together with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) – we have launched a new mental health program for nurses and health-care professionals called Mindwell for Health-care Workers. It is a four-week program that was designed through consultations with CFNU mental health experts and nurse leaders from across the country. We are all very excited about the program, which will offer you, our members, training and tools to better manage stress and difficult situations.

This program is tailored to health-care workers. Please visit the website to find out more and to register. The program starts on April 12 and space is limited, so if you are under stress and you may need help, please register as soon as possible. Please also share this information with your members.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN


Posted April 1, 2021

Ontario Nurses' Association
Dear ONA member,

Next Wednesday, April 7 is Equal Pay Day.

In the year 2021, women still continue to earn, on average, about 30 per cent less salary than men. That gap increases if women are disabled, racialized, Indigenous or immigrants.

Equal Pay Day – which was established in Ontario in 2014 – illustrates how long a woman would have to work into the next year to earn the same salary as a man would in the previous year.

ONA has been at the forefront of the fight for equal pay for work of equal value for more than 30 years. Since the inception of Ontario’s Pay Equity Act in 1987, ONA has fought to achieve pay equity for its members. It is a fundamental human right that is protected under the Act, as well as through numerous international human rights laws that Canada has ratified.

Last month, ONA won a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal, which ruled that a previous Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal decision regarding continuing and maintaining pay equity for women working in participating nursing homes is unreasonable. The court found that the Pay Equity Act is clearly written to ensure ongoing access to male comparators through the proxy method to not just achieve pay equity, but to maintain it.

We had been urging the Ford government and for-profit nursing homes to end their 15-year legal battle against female-dominated health-care professionals, especially during a time when a global pandemic has taken such a hard toll on these care providers. Unfortunately, we fully expect this government to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Rest assured, ONA will be ready.

ONA is also doing work in the hospital sector by continuing to negotiate a centralized pay equity plan, which will apply to all participating hospitals once finalized.

Pay Equity Day is a day that we all need to come together and demand that the gap be closed. Check out our social media feeds on April 7 for additional information and actions on this important day.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President

 

Register for new Ask A Specialist Webinars

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

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

Below are the upcoming webinars; Please click on the applicable link to register.

All – Your Rights and Professional Responsibilities with Redeployment  and Reassignment

In this new webinar, our specialists will explore your accountabilities when being redeployed or reassigned, what to do when working with a reassigned worker, considerations for your practice and patients, and your rights and responsibilities using the PRWRF to advocate for change and to protect your College Standards of Practice.

Thursday April 8, 11 a.m.

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8735ddHBRmKaxoZZYLUaSg

All – Professional Responsibility and College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Standards of Practice

In this new webinar specially designed for nurses, our specialists will provide a brief overview of nurses’ professional responsibilities as per CNO’s Practice Standards and Guidelines, discuss commonly impacted Practice Standards and Guidelines when workload issues arise, and answer questions you may have about connecting workload issues to Practice Standards when completing PRWRFs.

Thursday April 8, 4 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_V67gmX8hReu3U-d2xiMIqg

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.

Thursday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uVPVIuXlSzWmuM3KLnGneg

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.

Tuesday, April 13, 11 a.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_96ldEoiJQlmPCYxHnuXAsA

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 to connect “workload issues” to your standards of practice, and more.

Tuesday April 13, 4 p.m.:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__XEv2k6CRyWTYJmM10YmXw

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.

Tuesday, April 13, 7:30 pm:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JDDW7a8PRTqycxG2YgyNWg

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

Thank you.


 

Posted March 29, 2021

Logo

Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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
President


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 ONA.org:

  • 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 https://action.ona.org/hs-ebulletin 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 www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers 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: https://www.ona.org/phonezap

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

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
President


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 https://www.ona.org/covid-19-series/ 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
President


Posted February 26, 2021

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Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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 president@ona.org and let me know how we can help. I’m listening.

Be well and be safe,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President

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 ONA.org:

  • 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 https://action.ona.org/hs-ebulletin 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
President


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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iQAbIZQORkGiRkNjeMu7HA

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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WaZmzHVZQCaTAt2b8vKwXg

Wednesday, February 24, 1600 hours:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Do8LRx6eTiOHX4UVlHnU9g

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

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Hg2scYI-SNasf4WYxCY8Ag

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

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qLwSuWNzTXizLPR2Il_lKg

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

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,

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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 www.ona.org/news-posts/black-history-month 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,
Vicki

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 WellnessTogether.ca 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
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 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
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 January 22, 2021

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Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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 https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario. 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
President


News You Can Use

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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 www.ona.org/bargaining.

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • 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 www.facebook.com/groups/onamembersand 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


Twitter Facebook YouTube Email

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
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 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
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.

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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.

Delegation:

  • 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
President


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
President


Posted December 10, 2020

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Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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 www.wellnesstogether.ca 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
President


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 www.ona.org/haveyoursay. 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 ONA.org:

  • 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 www.facebook.com/groups/onamembers 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 www.rnfoo.org.
  • 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 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Pandemic_Survey.
  • 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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K_ckO2EaTjyJ2yjt5Mm_tw

Wednesday, December 16, 1100 hours:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wK6bVN9zTO-80GA3sQpyKg

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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_f_WfCzeLRD-8mMGvC_PbsQ

Wednesday, December 16, 1600 hours:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TAEbm90wRqiZZ29hrG1tcg

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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_H87L9QAISYeikxX4L8ON7w

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:

https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CvD8CLxWSmOOlLUm0EzQSQ

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


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 webmaster@ona.org, 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.

TOMORROW (Dec. 2)

  • 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

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.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. WEAR PPE TO PROTECT YOURSELF!

ONA HAS ADVOCATED ON YOUR BEHALF TO KEEP YOU SAFE!

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR UNION REPRESENTATIVE!

[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
President


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:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JewXOfDrS56XUeLSu0GHSw

Monday, November 30, 1600 hours:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bMM9qosgTXSb0CRwlo2AXQ


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:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zhwumldJTc62yGh7nwWl9Q

Monday, November 30, 1100 hours:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_s_oaKLs8R7uf-rBR21UKWA


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:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Byzk15ZfQS2KZlP9JaxowQ

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:
https://ona.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xdjPvr-1SpCDTM1f7GGZyg

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 registerprofpractice@ona.org.

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

Logo

Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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: https://nursesknow.ona.org/campaign or by visiting our YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/ontarionurses. 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 www.ona.org/commission for updates on this important work.

In solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
President


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 www.ona.org/haveyoursay. 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 ONA.org:

  • 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 www.ona.org/podcast 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
President


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:

www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca

In Solidarity,

Cathryn Hoy, RN

First Vice-President


Posted September 26, 2020

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Ontario Nurses’ Association

eBULLETIN

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 onamail@ona.org.

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 www.ona.org/commission 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
President


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 www.ona.org/workshop-calendar for more information and to register.

Quick Bits and Bytes on ONA.org:

  • 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: https://www.ona.org/news-posts/2020-health-safety-caucus/
  • 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.

Regards,

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 www.ona.org/bargaining 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 chiefelectoralofficer@ona.org.

In Solidarity,

Vicki McKenna, RN
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 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 onamail@ona.org 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
President


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
President


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 ona.org/bill 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 onamail@ona.org 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 onamail@ona.org 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: ona.org.
  • Please go to the ONA website to update your information: www.ona.org/update

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
President


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
President


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: www.ona.org/coronavirus) 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: www.ona.org/coronavirus. 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.

Conclusion

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: www.ona.org/coronavirus.

Stay safe and stay protected.

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

Vicki McKenna, RN
President
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.

NursesVote.ONA.org 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

Vicki McKenna, RN
President

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

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

email: vickim@ona.org
www.ona.org


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 NursesVote.ONA.org. 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 www.elections.ca 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.

Source: ONA.org


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 Local055@ona.org or in Brenda’s absence, Deanna King at deannak@ona.org

In Solidarity,

Deanna

Deanna King, RN

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

Email: deannak@ona.org
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; shereeb@ona.org

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


Date:
                  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

 

local55.ona.org
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

CMH
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

THOMAS PAINE, MD | PHYSICIAN | APRIL 19, 2016

SOURCE: KEVIN MD

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 local055@ona.org

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,

Linda

 

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: https://www.thespec.com/news-story/6375253-nursing-cuts-st-joes-replaces-rns-with-rpns-in-neonatal-intensive-care/

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 #StopRNreplacementhttps://bit.ly/21Xa3Vw

  

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