RNAO celebrates updates to province's workplace laws that will improve the lives and health of working Ontarians

TORONTO, May 31, 2017 /CNW/ - The health and well-being of millions of workers struggling to make ends meet will improve thanks to a boost in the province's minimum wage and other progressive changes announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne this week say members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).

The changes, which include equal pay for temporary, casual and part-time work, increasing the number of vacation days, expanding personal emergency leave to include two paid days for all workers, and increasing enforcement of labour laws, levels the playing field for the growing number of Ontarians who are precariously employed.

The province made its announcement shortly after the release of the final report of Ontario's Changing Workplaces Review (CWR). "We're thrilled the government is promising to enact many of the changes we requested in our submission to the CWR," says RNAO's Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun. In fact, the province has gone above and beyond the recommendations made by the review panel by announcing a $15 an hour minimum wage, which nurses across the province are cheering.

"The province's labour laws need to be in step with the changes people are experiencing on the job." Grinspun says she knows registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) are gravely concerned about the impact that poverty, uncertainty, stress and anxiety are having on their patients who have unstable employment. "They are barely getting by because their working conditions are so uncertain. Even the government admits that more than 30 per cent of people work in precarious jobs," says Grinspun applauding the government's move.

RNAO's President Carol Timmings says the changes are important for any civil society interested in treating people fairly. "We know that almost half of Ontario workers don't get paid if they call in sick. That's something that needs to change."  Timmings says such a move supports the health of individual workers and their families and improves public health by reducing the spread of infection. Timmings says the association thinks two personal emergency paid days is a good start but says RNAO wants that increased to seven paid days as outlined in its submission to the CWR panel.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: To arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), 416-408-5605 (office), 647-406-5605 (cellular), mzych@RNAO.ca

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http://www.rnao.org

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