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Ontario nurses walk away from negotiation table


Elizabeth Edwards, a professor in the Brock University-Loyalist College collaborative baccalaureate program in nursing, says the Ontario Hospital Association is not paying attention to some of nurses’ concerns. Photo by Demii Niles, QNet News

By Demii Niles [2]

BELLEVILLE –  Ontario nurses have walked away from the negotiation table after 10 days of talks and three days of mediation between the Ontario Nurses’ Association [3] and the Ontario Hospital Association [4].

Jackie Dales, the local president of the ONA, said the concessions being asked for by the hospital association reflect a disrespectful view of the quality health care that nurses provide and show no concern for nurses’ health and well-being.

“ONA is very concerned about the erosion of registered nurse positions and the stress and strain it causes at our hospitals,” Dales said in an email to QNet News. “All for the sake of balancing hospital budgets. ONA believes strongly that our members are entitled to safe and healthy workplaces, work-life balance and compensation that reflects our professional contribution to health care in Ontario.”

Elizabeth Edwards, a professor in the Brock University-Loyalist College collaborative baccalaureate [5] program, has worked as a nurse for over 45 years. She said the nurses’ association has walked away from the negotiations because the OHA is not paying attention to some of the concerns that the nurses have with the staffing mix.

“Their big concern is the drop in the number of positions available for registered nurses, in particular (in) hospital environments, compared to the rising level of increased care and need for the folks who are in the hospital. People are a lot sicker now,” Edwards said.

Money doesn’t seem to be an issue in the negotiations, she said.

“There are over 800 positions going vacant in Ontario for registered nurses. They aren’t being filled, partly because we don’t have enough nurses in the province to fill those positions.”

Émilie Ricard, a nurse in Sherbrooke, Que., was recently in the news [6] for a Facebook post in which she expressed her frustration with being the only nurse to cover 70 to 76 patients in one day. Edwards said Ontario nurses in long-term care have excessive workloads and can have up to 30 patients to take care of.

QNet News tried to speak with a representative of the Ontario Hospital Association, but its calls were not returned.