Valuing the Invaluable: Ontario Nurses' Association Releases New Research on the Value of Caring Work

TORONTO, May 5 /CNW/ - To mark Mother's Day and the beginning of Nursing Week 2011, the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is releasing new research that focuses on the value of care provided mainly by women - including nurses - and includes some new wage data and recommendations.

Entitled "Valuing the Invaluable: Rethinking and respecting caring work in Canada," the paper was written by ONA staff economist, Salimah Valiani, PhD. It quantifies the penalty that is imposed on those doing carework in Canada.

"As we mark both Mother's Day and Nursing Week, a time to honour those who care for others, we can't forget those who have opted to work in areas that our society undervalues," says ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN.

"Those who work in caregiving professions, whether they be registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, visiting homemakers or migrant live-in caregivers, continue to be penalized for providing work that is so vital for so many," she adds.

Valiani's analysis links the growth of unpaid and paid overtime being worked by RNs to the nursing shortage and the undervaluing of these professionals. Between 1997 and 2008, the annual aggregate unpaid overtime worked by public-sector RNs in Canada virtually doubled, from 51,200 to 99,000 hours. The number of hours of overtime worked weekly by Canadian RNs has quadrupled since the late-1980s.

Canada has seen its ratio of RNs per population drop from 824 per 100,000 in the early 1990s to 789 per 100,000 in 2009; Ontario has fared far worse, with a ratio of direct care RNs to population of 785 per 100,000.

"This research clearly quantifies the extent of the nursing shortage that has had such an impact on nurses' workloads and quality patient care," says McKenna. "This demonstrated and frightening shortage of nurses will only become more problematic over the coming years as more nurses retire."

"Valuing the Invaluable: Rethinking and respecting caring work in Canada" includes seven recommendations to begin undoing the undervaluing of carework," says McKenna. ONA believes the research will be of great value to policy makers, universities and colleges; it can be viewed at

ONA is the union representing 57,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 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
Sheree Bond     (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell (416) 986-8240



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