ONA Again Calls on Ministry of Labour to Enforce the Law:

Time running out to lay charges in February 2014 assault at CAMH

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is again publicly calling on the Ministry of Labour to enforce the law and lay charges against the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in relation to a February 2014 assault on a nurse that resulted in her finger being amputated.

"In this incident, which took place on a medium-security forensic unit, our nurse had her finger slammed into a heavy door by a patient with no warning, and the injury crushed the bone in her finger," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The nurse had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance and her finger was amputated. This assault occurred almost a full year ago, yet here we are again, still waiting for the Ministry of Labour to do the right thing and enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)."

Following the attack, the police charged the patient and the Ministry of Labour investigated. While the inspector did ask a number of questions about assaults on the unit, no orders other than production of documents have been issued to date and there has been silence regarding whether there will be charges against the employer. The Ministry has until one year after the incident to lay charges, time that is quickly running out.

Haslam-Stroud says that CAMH is becoming notorious for failing to adequately address its hazardous dangerous working conditions.

"The number of serious assaults on RNs and health-care workers at CAMH is skyrocketing," she says. "RNs and other caregivers are coming to work each day afraid for their lives, and they are not seeing support from their management or the Ministry. In fact, it is clear that CAMH is not putting in place adequate risk prevention strategies to keep workers safe on the job, and until consistent, clear and punitive action is taken by this government, these outrageous incidents that are hurting our nurses are not going to end."

Haslam-Stroud says ONA local representatives and representatives from the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU) have met with management bi-weekly since the beginning of this year to address these serious problems.

"One thing is certain, and that is that this has to change," says Haslam-Stroud. "CAMH had 514 violent incidents occur over the 2013-14 year, a 29-per-cent increase over the previous year. Something is clearly failing our registered nurses and therefore, our patients. The Ministry must take action now."

The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext.2430; cell: (416) 986-8240; shereeb@ona.org; Ruth Featherstone, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267; ruthf@ona.org


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