OTTAWA, July 15, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is "truly appalled" that charges have been dismissed against the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, part of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.
"This is a sad day for Ontario's health-care workers," says ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. "This court decision not only affects ONA's 62,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, but we continue to be deeply concerned about insufficient security and other safety measures for those providing patient care at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, where multiple assaults have occurred. This employer needs a wake-up call to put the safety of its staff first. As the SARS Commission Inquiry noted, "If workers are not protected from health and safety hazards, patients and the public are not protected either."
The charges stem from a 2012 incident in which three health-care workers were severely beaten by a patient. After an investigation, the Ministry of Labour charged Royal Ottawa Health Care Group with three infractions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to protect workers. The case has been in the court since November 2014.
McKenna notes that the Ministry of Labour has also charged Royal Ottawa Health Group with five infractions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in another incident in which a registered nurse was stabbed in the throat by a patient at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group's Brockville site.
"It's mystifying why this employer has failed to turn its attention to keeping our dedicated nursing staff safe on the job," says McKenna. "We simply cannot tolerate workplace violence in health care any longer. We had hoped that Ontario's justice system would help impress the need for Royal Ottawa Health Care Group to step up to the plate and invest in the safety of its staff. But today, justice continues to elude our members. We hope that the Ministry of Labour gives serious consideration to an appeal of this decision. We encourage them to do so."
ONA is the union representing 62,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association