TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), the union representing front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals in this province, is asking whether the 2012 provincial budget will protect patients and quality nursing care that Ontarians need.
"A total funding increase of two per cent for our hospitals is less than the government had committed to," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We will be looking for a commitment from hospitals that nursing care will not be eroded, increasing morbidity and mortality rates of patients," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Hospitals must ensure that they're not cutting nurses to balance their budgets."
ONA notes that there is a modest funding increase in community care, but the budget is silent on increasing the number of nurses in this sector to provide that care. ONA is concerned that we simply don't have the capacity in the system to support these changes and workers are barely able to cope with needs now. Ontario has the second-lowest ratio of RNs per capita in the country.
Haslam-Stroud says that nurses are pleased that planned corporate tax cuts are being put on hold. However, private-sector corporations will, unfortunately, continue to enjoy historically low tax rates. The budget also fails to introduce any realistic ways to generate new revenues or spread the responsibility for deficit reduction across higher-earning individuals.
Finally, Haslam-Stroud has committed to carefully examining any new legislation the government introduces regarding interest arbitration or pensions that impact nurses. "The government must consult those who are impacted by any legislative changes to arbitration or pensions," she says, noting that even the Drummond report concluded that the arbitration system was "not broken."
ONA is the union representing 58,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
(416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell (416) 986-8240; firstname.lastname@example.org
(416) 964-1979, ext. 2267; email@example.com