TORONTO, June 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Yesterday, a majority of Members of
Provincial Parliament on the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic
Affairs of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario voted to strike a number
of schedules from the massive omnibus provincial budget bill.
"Contrary to what the Premier is saying, amending the budget is exactly
what MPPs were elected to do," said Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, President of the Ontario Nurses' Association.
"When it was seeking re-election last fall, the governing party did not
mention most of the significant changes contained within the 69
schedules that make up the 351-page omnibus budget."
"This minority government does not have a mandate to gut Ontario's fair
and functioning arbitration system or to remove control from the
legislature for all decision-making about whether public services, like
health care, are provided by private, profit-skimming companies instead
of the efficient public sector."
Echoing the calls from a growing chorus of worker, employer, and citizen groups that are opposed to taking power away from the legislature and meddling
with the province's fair arbitration system, Ontario nurses are urging
MPPs from all parties to completely strike Schedules 28 and 30 from
Bill 55, the 2012 omnibus budget bill, when the standing committee
resumes its work next week.
"Nurses are encouraged by the actions of a majority of MPPs on the
finance committee on Thursday," said Haslam-Stroud.
"In fairness to nurses and other health care workers, the committee's
decision to delete Schedule 1 should be extended to Schedule 30."
Schedule 1 proposed unnecessary changes that attacked ambulance workers'
right to a fair contract negotiation process, changes that were similar
to those proposed in Schedule 30 which would gut the Hospital Labour
Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA).
The arbitration system is a fair alternative to labour disruptions in
the public sector. It is the trade off for taking away the democratic
right of some workers, including most nurses, to strike.
"As I told MPPs during my presentation to the standing committee on
Tuesday, Schedule 30 is a blatant attack on the health care sector
workforce. If adopted, it will put the retention and recruitment of
nurse staffing at risk, meaning reduced access to quality health care
for our patients."
"Adopting Schedule 30 would be a mistake because it is almost certain to
result in lengthy litigation and wasted health care dollars for changes
that are not needed."
Nurses are also concerned about Schedule 28, the proposed Government
Services and Service Providers Act, 2012.
"Schedule 28 erodes the authority of our elected, local representatives
to democratically decide, together, how important services like health
care, education, electricity, and official identification documents are
delivered," said Haslam-Stroud.
"As health care professionals, we are trained to use an evidence-based
approached. If there's a plan to change the way public services are
provided, it should be presented, debated, and decided on in a public
"Schedule 28 must be deleted entirely because it would change the rules
so there is less public scrutiny and it could lead to a large scale
sell-off of public services, including hospitals—actions for which this
government did not a seek a mandate from Ontario voters."
For more information about the scope and consequences of Schedule 28,
read the legal opinion of Steven Shrybman. Mr. Shrybman, a partner at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell
LLP, is an expert in international trade and public interest law and
his assessment was prepared for the Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) Ontario division.
For more information about Schedule 30, read ONA's submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 55 and see the ONA.org website.
ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health
professions, and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing
care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health,
the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Ken Marciniec 416-803-6066, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Ruth Featherstone 416-964-1979 ext.2267, email@example.com.
www.ONA.org; www.facebook.com/OntarioNurses; www.twitter.com/OntarioNurses