Ontario's Hospitals to Face Increased Financial Pressures Due to Arbitration Award

TORONTO, May 2, 2014 /CNW/ - An arbitrated compensation award affecting Ontario's hospital nurses was issued on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The award includes wage increases for nurses of 1.4%, effective April 1, 2014 and 1.4%, effective April 1, 2015.

In response to the award, Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) President and CEO, Anthony Dale, released the following statement:

"Ontario's hospitals value the role of nurses tremendously. Nursing is extremely important to providing high quality patient care, and so we absolutely want Ontario's nurses to be fairly compensated.

At the same time, the Province of Ontario is facing intense fiscal challenges. These realities helped inform hospitals' bargaining mandate with the nurses' union. Throughout the collective bargaining process Ontario's hospitals sought to reach a voluntary agreement that married our respect for nurses with what was affordable for hospitals and the province, similar to what two other unions representing health care workers had voluntarily agreed to.

The arbitration award released earlier this week demonstrates fundamental weaknesses within Ontario's arbitration system.

For the past three years, Ontario hospitals have had their base operating budgets held at zero per cent. They have worked hard to find efficiencies wherever possible, but will continue to face significant pressures if they are to further contain cost growth and meet increasing service demands into the future. 

The purpose of arbitration is replication, and the recent arbitration award for hospitals and nurses is inconsistent with what has previously voluntarily agreed to with other health care employees. By straying from recent patterns of agreements with other unions representing health care professionals, the arbitration award for nurses will generate significant additional cost pressures for hospitals - costs that will compound in the years ahead.

In year one, the award will cost hospitals approximately $61.8 million. In year two, and the following years, the 1.4% will be compounded by an additional $62.7 million dollars, totaling $124.6 million

Ontario's hospitals believe in fair and reasonable compensation for all health care professionals.  Hospitals also strive to maximize the use of their financial resources in order to maintain and enhance access to care. Wednesday's arbitration award clearly demonstrates that Ontario's interest arbitration system does not promote health system sustainability.  A modernization of the provincial interest arbitration system is required."

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is the voice of Ontario's public hospitals.  Founded in 1924, the OHA uses advocacy, education and partnerships to build a strong, innovative and sustainable health care system for all Ontarians.

SOURCE: Ontario Hospital Association

For further information:

Amy Clark, OHA Public Affairs
416-205-1433; aclark@oha.com


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