SEIU Healthcare applauds Ontario's 2017 Budget for providing a much-needed boost to healthcare

RICHMOND HILL, ON, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - On Thursday, the Ontario Government announced their 2017 budget, which features many positive enhancements to Ontario's healthcare system.

"Ontario's 2017 budget provides a much-needed boost to healthcare," said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. "I applaud the Ontario Government for making necessary investments across all sectors to ensure a brighter future for all healthcare workers."

As outlined in the 2017 budget, SEIU Healthcare will partner with the Ontario Government to create a first-of-its-kind personal support worker (PSW) education and training facility that will help enhance the homecare sector.

"An education and training facility for PSWs is exactly what is needed in Ontario," said SEIU Healthcare member and PSW Shoshannah Bourgeois. "Homecare workers need more supports, including access to more training. The development of this training facility will help raise the level of service PSWs provide, which will lead to better care for thousands of clients across the province."

As part of the 2017 budget, the PSW Registry will be reintroduced, which will help the government to better understand the necessary requirements to support PSWs and also provide confidence to Ontario patients that they are receiving quality care from highly qualified workers. The home and community care sector will also receive an added $250 million this year to help support additional PSW and nursing services, respite hours for caregivers, and support for healthcare staff who work with residents with challenging behaviours, such as dementia.

Hospitals will also be positively impacted by this year's budget, receiving a 3 per cent increase in funding this year, which will assist in relieving some of the stress put on our healthcare system and its workers.

"The 2017 budget means a lot to hospitals," said SEIU Healthcare member and registered practical nurse Tracey Clausi. "This is a sector that has been struggling for a long time. It is refreshing to see the government acknowledge this and provide a solution."

Overall, Ontario's 2017 budget is a step in the right direction, not only for healthcare providers and patients, but for working families as well.

The launch of a universal drug benefits program for children and youth to fully cover the cost of prescription drugs and provide a fee subsidy to cover the cost of childcare services will help to ease the stress felt by so many of our working families.

"As a union that represents over 57,000 healthcare workers, 90 per cent of whom are working women, we are encouraged by this year's budget." said Stewart. "It will help families cover the cost of drugs for their children and make it easier to access childcare services. We look forward to continuously working with the government to reintroduce a robust PSW Registry and providing more opportunities for our homecare workers to access the necessary education and training to support them in the work they do."

ABOUT SEIU HEALTHCARE
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 57,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union's members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare

For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Grace Ghunaim, SEIU Healthcare, 416-689-7944, g.ghunaim@seiuhealthcare.ca

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