TORONTO, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario budget's investments in social
assistance and home and community care are welcome news from the top
professional nursing organization in Ontario, but without more
registered nurses (RN), the health of the public will worsen.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) says a modest one
per cent increase in social assistance rates, a top up for single
adults on Ontario Works, coupled with the government's decision not to
claw back money recipients earn if they work part time is a good step.
"We are pleased that the government understands that you can't escape a
life of poverty if you are going to be penalized by finding part-time
work. Nurses know that income affects your health and your ability to
provide for you and your loved ones," says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson,
president of RNAO.
The government's decision to raise the asset limit that a person can
keep before qualifying for social assistance is also a positive move.
"RNAO applauds the government for accepting the wisdom of Frances
Lankin and Munir Sheikh who made this recommendation when they reviewed
Ontario's social assistance system. We encourage Premier Wynne to adopt
more of their recommendations including a complete overhaul of the
social assistance system so it reflects the actual cost of living, and
simplifies the tangled web of rules and bureaucracy a person faces when
applying for benefits," insists Seidman-Carlson. She adds a lot more
needs to be done to lift the approximately 1.3 million in this province
out of poverty.
With respect to direct spending for health care, RNAO's Chief Executive
Officer is blunt. "RNs are dismayed to learn that the government is
once again turning a blind eye to the need for more registered nurses,"
says Doris Grinspun, adding that Ontario has the second lowest RN-to
population ratio in the entire country. "What will it take for the
government to understand that this is not good for both the health of
patients and the economy. All the research consistently points this
out," Grinspun says. RNAO has been asking for the past two years for an
additional 9,000 RNs to begin catching up with the rest of the country.
RNAO is also concerned about the government's decision to hold base
funding for hospitals at zero growth. This will result in heavier
workloads and increased sick time for nurses who are already
RNAO praises the government for earmarking 260 million dollars for home
and community care. "This money is needed to help people remain in
their homes longer - respecting the notion that aging in place is
better for seniors and our communities, than institutional care," says
At the end of the day, RNAO says overall spending in the Ontario budget
was lower on a per capita basis than every other province in
2012-2013. This means there is room to improve program spending in
critical areas such as social services and health, especially if the
government wants to create a 'prosperous and fair' province that
includes nursing care services that will help create healthier
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses 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
For more information about RNAO, visit our website at www.RNAO.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information:
To arrange an interview with an RN, please contact:
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario