Ottawa RNs Mourn Loss of Jobs

AugusT 2010
Vol. 10 • No. 4
In This Issue . . .
The Members’
Publication of the
Ontario Nurses’
From ONA President
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN
Lesley Bell, RN, MBA
From ONA First Vice-President
Vicki McKenna, RN
Ottawa RNs Mourn Loss of Jobs
During a solemn rally in the nation’s capital on June 24, 2010, ONA members, adorned in
black, and their supporters grieve the loss of dozens of RN positions and beds at The Ottawa
Members Hit the Stage ............................ 7
Focus on…New Member ......................11
June PCM .....................................................12
Biennial Convention ................................24
Member News ............................................. 7
ONA News ...................................................14
Queen’s Park Update ...............................18
OHC News ...................................................18
Occupational Health and Safety .........19
OFL News.....................................................19
Education ....................................................20
LEAP ..............................................................21
Human Rights and Equity .....................22
Awards and Decisions.............................23
earing black ribbons and armbands to symbolize their distress over the elimination of
registered nurse positions, ONA members, shown with Ottawa District Labour Council
President Sean McKenny (third from the left), have staged a sober rally and information
picket outside the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital.
On June 24, 2010, the same day a board and annual general meeting was being held at
the site, members and their supporters handed out information flyers continues on page 3 
Toronto Grace Nurses Vote for ONA!
Sixty registered nurses at Toronto Grace
Health Centre are now members of ONA,
thanks to a successful certification vote earlier this summer.
On June 15, 2010, the majority of nurses
voted to join ONA following a difficult year.
The 119-bed hospital was threatened with
closure, impacting a community that relied
on it for continuing care, rehabilitation and
palliative care. In a last-minute reprieve in
February, the province pledged $15-million
to keep the hospital open.
“We very much look forward to representing the RNs at Toronto Grace Health
Centre,” said ONA President Linda HaslamStroud. “For almost 37 continues on page 3 
How to contact
your 2010 ONA Board of Directors
Call ONA toll-free at 1-800-387-5580 (press 0)
or (416) 964-1979 in Toronto and follow the
operator’s prompts to access board members’
JUNE 2010
Vol. 10 • No. 4
Communications and Government Relations Intake at [email protected]
members in the Toronto office are listed below.
Contributors: Sheree Bond, Brooke Burns, Nancy Johnson, LEAP Team,
Lawrence Walter
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN
Vicki McKenna, RN
Features Editor: Melanie Levenson
Send submissions to:
voice-mail. Voice-mail numbers (VM) for Board
President, VM #2254
Communications & Public Relations
Editor: Ruth Featherstone
The Members’
Publication of the
Ontario Nurses’
First VP, VM #2314
Political Action & Professional
ONA Provincial Office
85 Grenville St., Ste. 400 Tel: (416) 964-8833
Fax: (416) 964-8864
Toronto ON M5S 3A2
E-mail: [email protected]
Toll free: 1-800-387-5580
ONA is the union representing 55,000 registered nurses and allied
health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates
providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the
Diane Parker, RN
community, clinics and industry.
VP Region 1, VM #7710
Occupational Health & Safety
Copyright © 2010 Ontario Nurses’ Association
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic,
Anne Clark, RN
mechanical, photocopy, recording, or by any information storage or
VP Region 2, VM #7758
Labour Relations
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher
(ONA members are excepted).
ISSN: 0834-9088
Andy Summers, RN
VP Region 3, VM #7754
Human Rights & Equity
Printed by union labour: Thistle Printing Limited
ONA Regional Offices
Dianne Leclair, RN
EThunder Bay
VP Region 4, VM #7752
2 King St., W., 2nd Floor Rear
Dundas, ON L9H 6Z1
Tel: (905) 628-0850
Fax: (905) 628-2557
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London ON N6C 2R5
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Fax: (613) 723-0947
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Sudbury ON P3A 2T4
Tel: (705) 560-2610
Fax: (705) 560-1411
Karen Bertrand, RN
VP Region 5, VM #7702
Lesley Bell, RN, MBA
Chief Executive Officer,
VM #2255
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#300, Woodgate Centre,
1139 Alloy Dr.
Thunder Bay ON P7B 6M8
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Windsor ON N8X 3Y9
Tel: (519) 966-6350
Fax: (519) 972-0814
Up Front
JUNE Board Highlights
The following are key highlights from the most recent Board of
Directors meeting, held June 1-3, 2010 at the ONA provincial office
and on June 17, 2010 in Windsor following the Provincial Coordinators Meeting:
A Proposed Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions for the
2010 Biennial Convention, including bona fide member status,
were reviewed.
A The Board approved a “new-look” province-wide media campaign for ONA members. The $750,000 campaign will be funded
from the Operating Fund.
A The Recognition Clause for Student Nurses document was reviewed, and Bargaining Unit strategies approved to include student nurses where possible (some Bargaining Units currently
have this provision).
A The audited financial statements for the year ending December
31, 2009 were approved.
A The Managing Disruptive Physician Behaviour Guide was approved.
Complete highlights of the Board of Directors meeting are available
on the ONA website at The next Board meeting will be
held at the provincial office on September 14-17, 2010 and highlights
will appear in a future issue of Front Lines.
 continues from cover
Ottawa RNs Mourn Loss of Jobs
to express their anger and concern for patient safety after the
hospital announced it will cut 90 RN positions and close to 28
inpatient surgical beds despite being at more than 100 per cent
capacity much of the time. In addition, the hospital will shut
down the operating room at its Riverside campus for much of the
summer in an effort to cut costs.
“The RN cuts will have a devastating impact on our patients,”
said Local 83 Bargaining Unit President Frances Smith. “RN
hours are being cut on the medical and surgical units. Support
staff have been cut or reduced on many of the units. Ottawa residents must take these cuts to heart and speak out against them
before they or their loved ones in hospital experience the effects
The nurses are also angry at a recent staff memo from hospital CEO Jack Kitts, stating that high levels of absenteeism are a
barrier to success and is costing the hospital more than $20-million per year.
“Our members are sick alright – sick of the horrendous working conditions at their hospital,” said ONA President Linda
Haslam-Stroud. “You can’t work nurses off their feet, tell them
even more cuts are coming, and then expect them to maintain
their physical and mental health. It’s incredibly unreasonable.”
The members urge Ottawa residents to send a message to
their MPP, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, Premier Dalton McGuinty and Kitts to stop the cuts and
restore quality patient care. Ottawa residents can also visit a
special page on the ONA website at to help with
their lobbying efforts.
Over the past year, ONA has tracked more than 2,400 registered nursing position cuts at facilities throughout the province.
 continues from cover
Toronto Grace Nurses Vote for ONA!
years, ONA has been the voice of front-line RNs and allied health
professionals, and I believe our new members can be assured they
made the right choice when they voted yes to ONA.”
This is just the latest in a string of successful certification votes
for ONA, including Victorian Order of Nurses, Huntsville (six
RPNs) and Lady Isabelle Nursing Home in Trout River (seven RNs).
We warmly welcome these new members to our union.
For a firsthand account of what’s it’s like to successfully organize an employer and become a new ONA member, turn to page 11.
From ONA President
Présidente, AIIO
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN
ONA’s Successes and Challenges
believe it’s important that we celebrate our successes even as we
continue to face challenges.
ONA’s June Provincial Coordinators Meeting (PCM) was
held in Windsor, and I can’t think of a more appropriate place to be
as amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act became
law on June 15, 2010.
Ontario employers must now develop and implement written
policies on workplace harassment and violence or face a $500,000
fine – and, as noted by the media, the legislation passed after years
of pressure from unions to improve protection of employees following the tragic murder of ONA member Lori Dupont, a Windsor
nurse. It’s a fitting tribute to Lori that our workplaces will be safer
ONA has also welcomed new members recently. We have 60 new
members from Toronto Grace Health Centre, as well as members at
Huntsville’s Victorian Order of Nurses and Lady Isabelle Nursing
Home in Trout Creek. This is a clear message that nurses recognize
the benefits of being an ONA member.
But this summer has not been a time to sit and reflect. We continue to be advised of RN cuts – most recently in Peterborough and
now Barrie.
At the PCM, we showed a new video highlighting some of the
tremendous local efforts of ONA members to alert their communities to nursing cuts and to motivate people to speak out against
these cuts and the negative impact they are having to patients/clients/residents. You’ll see many examples in Front Lines.
I encourage all of you to take local action. Your union is here to
help make it easy for you. It’s so important to speak out – for your
sake, but also for the sake of your patients/residents/clients.
I hope you enjoyed your summer.
It’s a fitting tribute to Lori that our
workplaces will be safer today.
L’AIIO continue de remporter des
victoires et de relever des défis
e pense qu’il est important de célébrer nos réussites, même si
nous continuons à affronter des défis.
L’Assemblée des coordonnatrices provinciales (ACP) de
l’AIIO s’est tenue en juin à Windsor et c’était vraiment le lieu idéal
pour cet événement étant donné que les modifications apportées
à la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail ont été promulguées le
15 juin 2010.
Les employeurs de l’Ontario doivent désormais rédiger et
mettre en œuvre des politiques sur le harcèlement et la violence
en milieu de travail s’ils veulent éviter de payer une amende de
500 000 $. De plus, comme les médias l’ont souligné, la législation
a été adoptée après des années de pression exercée par les syndicats
en vue d’améliorer la protection des employés à la suite du meurtre
tragique d’un membre de l’AIIO, Lori Dupont, une infirmière travaillant à Windsor. Le fait que nos lieux de travail soient plus sûrs
constitue un hommage bien mérité à Lori.
En outre, l’AIIO a récemment accueilli de nouveaux membres.
Nous avons 60 nouveaux membres provenant du Grace Health Centre de Toronto, ainsi que des membres des Infirmières de l’Ordre de
Victoria de Huntsville et du Lady Isabelle Nursing Homme de Trout
Creek. C’est une preuve évidente que les infirmières reconnaissent
les avantages d’être membre de l’AIIO.
Toutefois, cet été ne sera pas synonyme de tranquillité et de réflexion. Nous continuons d’être informés de suppressions de postes
d’infirmières, tout récemment à Peterborough et maintenant à Barrie.
Lors de l’ACP, nous avons regardé une vidéo mettant en évidence certains des efforts remarquables déployés par les membres
à l’échelle locale afin d’avertir leurs collectivités des suppressions de
postes d’infirmières et d’inciter les employés à dénoncer ces suppressions et les répercussions négatives qu’elles entraînent sur les
patients, les clients et les résidants. Vous trouverez de nombreux
exemples dans le bulletin Front Lines.
Je vous encourage tous à passer à l’action dans vos collectivités. Votre syndicat est à votre disposition pour vous aider dans vos
démarches. Il est essentiel de faire entendre votre voix, pour votre
bien et celui de vos patients, clients et résidants.
J’espère que vous vous êtes bien amusé cet été.
From ONA Chief Executive Officer
Directrice générale, AIIO
Lesley Bell, RN, MBA
Claims Public Health Care
Unsustainable Not True
ne of the world’s leading health economists supports what
ONA has been saying all along: that the claim public health
care is unsustainable and that a shift to more private coverage is the only viable solution are outright lies.
Speaking to MPs and senior government advisors at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Canadian Health Coalition on Parliament Hill, Dr. Robert G. Evans revealed that Medicare spending
now takes up about the same share of provincial revenues it did 20
years ago – between four and five per cent of our Gross Domestic
Product. So, the problem isn’t uncontrolled public health spending,
but uncontrolled private health spending combined with a drop in
provincial revenues created by large tax cuts over the years, he said.
And for ONA it goes even deeper than that. We have seen hundreds of examples of what happens when privatization is allowed to
rear its ugly head – be it in the form of public-private partnerships
or the insidious competitive bidding system for home care services.
When the bottom line becomes the driving force, patient care suffers, plain and simple.
While we certainly agree that some type of reform is needed to
our health care system to make it more efficient and effective, we
now have even more proof that privatization must play no part in
that. A recent Nanos Research study also reveals that the public is
onside, with almost 90 per cent supporting public solutions to problems in the health care system.
Backed by these statistics, ONA will continue to lobby the government to abide by the principles of the Canada Health Act and
maintain a publicly funded, administered and delivered health care
system. Our patients/residents/clients expect nothing less from us.
A recent Nanos Research study also reveals
that the public is onside, with almost 90
per cent supporting public solutions to
problems in the health care system.
Les allégations sur la non-viabilité du
système public des soins de santé sont
’un des principaux économistes de la santé à l’échelle mondiale
se fait l’écho de ce que l’AIIO répète depuis longtemps : les allégations sur la non-viabilité du système public des soins de
santé et la nécessité d’un virage vers davantage de soins privés comme étant la seule solution viable sont un mensonge pur et simple.
S’adressant à des députés et à des hauts conseillers du gouvernement réunis sur la Colline Parlementaire à l’occasion d’un petitdéjeuner de travail commandité par la Coalition canadienne de la
santé, Robert G. Evans a indiqué que les dépenses au titre du régime d’assurance-maladie représentent actuellement pratiquement
la même proportion des recettes de la province qu’il y a 20 ans –
soit entre quatre et cinq pour cent de notre produit intérieur brut
(PIB). Alors, a-t-il dit, le problème ne vient pas des dépenses incontrôlées dans le secteur public de la santé, mais plutôt de dépenses
non contrôlées dans le secteur privé de la santé, combinées à une
chute des recettes de la province causées par d’importantes réductions d’impôts effectuées au fil des ans.
Et pour l’AIIO, le problème est encore plus profond. Nous avons
vu des centaines d’exemples de ce qui se passe lorsqu’on ouvre la
porte à la privatisation et à ses affreuses conséquences – que ce soit
sous la forme de partenariats public-privé ou d’un insidieux système
d’appels d’offres pour les services de soins à domicile. Quand les résultats financiers deviennent le principal sujet de préoccupation, les
soins aux patients en pâtissent, purement et simplement.
Bien que nous soyons totalement d’accord sur le fait qu’un certain type de réforme de notre système de santé est nécessaire afin
de le rendre plus efficient et plus efficace, nous avons à présent une
nouvelle preuve que la privatisation n’a aucun rôle à y jouer. Une
étude menée récemment par Nanos Research révèle également que
la population est de notre avis puisqu’elle est à 90 % en faveur de
solutions publiques aux problèmes du système de soins de santé.
En s’appuyant sur ces statistiques, l’AIIO continuera de faire
pression sur le gouvernement pour qu’il respecte les principes de
la Loi canadienne sur la santé et pour qu’il maintienne un système de
soins de santé dont les soins sont financés, administrés et fournis
par le secteur public. Nos patients, nos résidents et nos clients n’en
attendent pas moins de nous.
From First Vice-President
Première vice-présidente, AIIO
Vicki McKenna, RN
Reversal of London Cuts Gives us Hope
ust as I was sitting down to write this column, ONA heard some
truly fantastic news: the cuts to registered nurses at the London Health Sciences Centre’s cancer care program have been rescinded! This is a huge win for cancer patients, the community, the
RNs affected and all of ONA.
After my initial elation, I got to thinking about why this came
to be. Certainly, the employer, like so many others in the province,
had determined that the best way to deal with its budget pressures
was on the backs of 23 per cent of the nurses who work in that outpatient clinic. But what they clearly failed to realize was the sheer
determination of those RNs, along with our public supporters, in
fighting the layoffs and finding savings elsewhere.
As soon as we learned about the cuts, ONA members immediately took our concerns about how this decision would affect patient
care to the media, and were overwhelmed by the outcry of public
support, which included Facebook groups; online petitions; letters
to the editor, elected officials and hospital administrators; and attendance at an open forum, organized by the nurses themselves.
I am heartened by this reversal, as it not only shows the power of
a strong ONA/public partnership, it gives us real hope that if it can
happen in London, it can happen elsewhere. I hope it inspires you
to get your community members to take an interest in what’s happening in their own backyard. Talk to them at every opportunity,
hold forums and information pickets, hand out materials and submit letters to the editor of the papers they read. Ask them to stand
up with you for quality health care, because we know the results can
be tremendous.
. . . it not only shows the power of a
strong ONA/public partnership, it gives us
real hope that if it can happen in London,
it can happen elsewhere.
L’annulation des suppressions de postes
au London Health Sciences nous donne de
’allais m’asseoir pour rédiger cette chronique lorsque j’ai appris
une nouvelle vraiment fantastique : les suppressions de postes
d’infirmières autorisées du programme de soins aux personnes
atteintes du cancer du London Health Sciences Centre ont été annulées!
Il s’agit d’une immense victoire pour les patients, pour la population de London, pour les infirmières autorisées qui étaient visées et
pour tous les membres de l’AIIO.
Une fois mon premier élan d’enthousiasme passé, j’ai réfléchi
aux raisons pour lesquelles cela s’est produit. À coup sûr, cet employeur, qui est le mien, avait estimé, comme beaucoup d’autres dans la
province, que la meilleure façon de s’attaquer à ses problèmes budgétaires était de le faire au détriment de 23 % des infirmières qui
travaillent dans ce centre anticancéreux pour les malades externes.
Mais de toute évidence, ce qu’il n’avait pas réalisé, c’est la ferme
détermination de ces infirmières autorisées qui, avec l’appui de nos
sympathisants, notamment les patients cancéreux et leur famille,
ont combattu les mises à pied et trouvé des économies ailleurs.
Dès que les infirmières ont eu vent des suppressions de postes,
les dirigeantes et les membres de la section 100 de l’AIIO ont immédiatement alerté les médias à propos de leurs préoccupations quant
aux répercussions de cette décision sur les soins aux patients. Ils ont
reçu d’innombrables marques de soutien de la part de la population
sous la forme notamment de groupes Facebook, de pétitions en ligne, de lettres aux rédacteurs en chef des journaux et aux représentants élus, dont les députés provinciaux, les conseillers municipaux
et les administrateurs d’hôpitaux, et d’une participation à un forum
ouvert organisé par les infirmières elles-mêmes.
Je suis encouragée par ce retournement qui ne témoigne pas
seulement du pouvoir d’un solide partenariat entre l’AIIO et la population, mais qui nous donne réellement l’espoir que si cela peut se
produire à London, cela peut se produire ailleurs.
J’espère que cela vous incitera à amener les membres de votre communauté à s’intéresser à ce qui se passe dans leur propre cour. Saisissez toutes les occasions de leur parler, organisez des forums et des
piquetages informatifs, distribuez des documents d’information et
envoyez des lettres aux rédacteurs en chef des journaux que vous lisez.
Demandez-leur de se battre à vos côtés pour défendre les soins
de santé dans leur communauté, car nous savons que cela peut donner des résultats vraiment remarquables.
ONA Members Across Ontario
Northern Members Stage Play for Good Cause
We all know that ONA members take on a variety of roles: caregiver,
facilitator, mediator and educator – to name a few. And now, several
northern nurses can add one more: actor!
Each year, Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay, housed in an old school
declared a historical building, stages a community play featuring the
members of local professional groups, such as doctors, engineers and
lawyers, with the proceeds helping to keep the theatre afloat. These
non-actors audition for parts and give up their time and talent for free.
On the recommendation of an anesthetist at Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, Local 73, the theatre’s Artistic Director Mario Crudo
approached local nurses about taking to centre stage this year for the
production of “Dirty Work at the Crossroads,” a melodrama about a
villain looking to scam a country girl out of her property so he can
build a railway.
“The word got out largely thanks to an e-mail from (Local 73 Coordinator) Donna Wheal and by word of mouth,” said Local 73 Secretary-Treasurer Colleen Morrow, who played the part of Fleurette in the
two-hour play.
More than a dozen ONA members from Thunder Bay Regional
and St. Joseph’s Care Group, Local 14, participated in the production,
along with a local police officer and a bio-med technologist because
“finding nurses for the leading male parts was challenging,” Morrow
ONA members (left to right) Colleen Morrow, Marianne Sawicki and
Cindy Cryderman bask in the afterglow of their opening night
performance on May 7, 2010 at the Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay,
attended by Region 1 Vice-President Diane Parker. The nonprofessional actors helped decorate the theatre’s common area with
a mannequin outfitted in a vintage nurse’s uniform, a poster from
Local 73 and old nursing pictures.
The participants practiced once a week for four months and then
twice a week for the next four months, leading up to the live performances from May 7-15, 2010 (Nursing Week).
“Because our schedules made it difficult for us to always get together for practices, every part had two actors, and at least one could
ONA Members Receive Award for
“Exceptional, Compassionate” Care
always be there,” said Morrow, noting that many of the eight perfor-
Three ONA members have received a prestigious provincial
mances were sold out.
award for their exemplary care for cancer patients.
And while there was talk of adding additional performances of the
Linda Johnson, who works at the Winchester District Me-
play, which encourages audience participation (booing and hissing
morial Hospital’s satellite chemotherapy unit, Local 137, Julie
for the villain and cheering on the “good guy”), scheduling conflicts
Garrett of the London Regional Cancer Program, Local 100,
among the actors made that impossible. But Morrow wouldn’t rule
and Karen Simpson, a nurse practitioner at Grand River Hospi-
out another performance by nurses in the future.
tal, Local 139, were three of only five recipients of Cancer Care
“The theatre made a sizeable amount in ticket sales and from gold
Ontario’s Human Touch Award, which recognizes and honours
members (Local 73 was a gold sponsor of the event) and I wouldn’t
health care professionals, providers and volunteers in the can-
be surprised if the nurses were asked to come back again,” she said.
cer system, who demonstrate exceptional and compassionate
“A lot of members who didn’t realize they could audition were asking
patient care.
how they could get involved. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it was also
so much fun!”
Congratulations to these dedicated and deserving
ONA Members Across Ontario
Have Your Say
on Your Next
With hospital central bargaining just
around the corner, we are giving members in all sectors the opportunity to tell
us your priorities for your next contracts.
In the past, ONA has sent question-
ONA Demands Workers’ Compensation
naires to members in each centrally nego-
The ONA Board of Directors and members (including left to right: Local 25 Coordinator
tiated sector via mail. In keeping with the
Aisha Jahangir, Region 1 Vice-President Diane Parker, Region 2 Vice-President Anne
times, our latest questionnaire, available
Clark and Local 6 Coordinator Carolyn Edgar) join our allies at the annual Injured
by clicking on a prominent link on the
Workers’ Day event at Queen’s Park on June 1, 2010. “Nurses are the most injured on
homepage of our website (,
the job and we’re being kicked when we’re down,” ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud
can be filled out electronically. It will not
told the crowd protesting the decline of Ontario’s workers’ compensation system. “I
go “live” until September 7, 2010, and
went into the profession thinking I would work hard, have a job and appropriate com-
you can start completing it at that time.
pensation when needed, and here we are 27 years later still injured because of unsafe
We urge all members to fill out this
work environments. My message to the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is
survey, as it will help us determine your
that you’d better step up to the plate and realize you have obligations. The Occupa-
bargaining objectives.
tional Health and Safety Act needs to be considered and we need to be supported in
Go to and have your say!
our return to work efforts and our payments of reasonable WSIB benefits.”
Peterborough Campaign Heats Up
If the Peterborough Regional Health Centre thought they would have
an easy time pushing through the recommendations of its recent Peer
Review, they underestimated the sheer determination of Local 3.
Since the Peer Review, which recommends the elimination of 71
beds and 121 full-time registered nurses to balance its budget, was
announced this past April, members of Local 3 have initiated and participated in a slew of activities, many with our allies at the Ontario
Health Coalition (OHC), to alert the government, employer and public
of the real danger to patient care these cuts pose. Activities included
public forums, information pickets at the hospital, farmers’ market and
MPP Jeff Leal’s office, rallies and an e-mail campaign on the ONA website (, where the public can send a message to Minister
of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews and CEO Ken Tremblay.
On June 24, 2010, members also met with Ontario NDP leader Andrea
Horwath, a staunch critic of the Peer Review, to voice their concerns.
Shouting chants of “Jeff Leal, Get Real,” Local 3 members and their
supporters, along with Region 2 Vice-President Anne Clark (in red),
picketed their MPP (Peterborough) outside of Peterborough
Regional Health Centre on June 9, 2010.
“I’m not confident the hospital will get back on track,” said Local 3
Coordinator Louise Flaherty. “They’ll get to their goal with the deficit,
but it will be at the expense of patient care. You can’t cut that much
and still meet patient care needs.”
To read about the OHC’s critique of the Peer Review, turn to page 18.
ONA Proudly Waves Rainbow Colours in Toronto, London
In celebration of equality, diversity and human rights, ONA members
cancer cuts in that city, donned t-shirts with handwritten messages,
in two major cities have taken part in annual Pride Parades this past
while handing out items such as our Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care leaf-
lets and window clings and urging the crowd to visit our website for
In Toronto (left photo), several members and leaders waved flags
and walked the length of the parade alongside a steel grey convertible, driven by Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers, displaying
ONA’s Pride banner and other paraphernalia.
In London (right photo), Region 5 Vice-President Karen Bertrand,
members of Local 100 and their supporters, including cancer patient
more information about cuts to nursing positions and hours throughout the province.
London NDP MP Irene Mathyssen chatted with Bertrand and
members, including Local 100 Coordinator Jill Ross and Bargaining
Unit President Diane Strachan, about our concerns and led the parade
with our Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care sign!
Marita Devries who was instrumental in our successful fight against
Member Lavishes Kudos on Bargaining Unit President Patti Lalla
While ONA leaders are the true backbone of our organization, liaising with the Board of Directors, staff and members, their hard work and dedication can seemingly go unnoticed by
members. But this isn’t the case for one Toronto Bargaining Unit President/Local Coordinator.
In a message to ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud this past June, an ONA member who
works at Mount Sinai Hospital gave high praise to new Local 82 Coordinator and Mount Sinai
Hospital Bargaining Unit President Patti Lalla (pictured), who assumed that role this spring.
“Patti worked with me to help resolve workplace issues, and I have never met anyone so incredibly accommodating, comforting, compassionate and understanding. When I was not receiving the support I needed from management, I sought her guidance and she made me feel
validated and valued, and she gave me the support and advice I needed,” said the member.
“The level of professionalism and skill she demonstrated in our interactions make her
seem so capable and trustworthy. People like her are an asset for our hospital and reflect so
positively for ONA.”
On behalf of ONA members, thank you Patti!
ONA Members Across Ontario
Our Members Write…
The following letter was written by Local 75 (St. Joseph’s Healthcare
Hamilton) member Judith Flaherty to her local MPP.
I’m a registered nurse working full-time in a large teaching hospital
in Hamilton, but live in Burlington. I’m also a union rep with ONA, the
union representing registered nurses in Ontario.
I’m keenly aware of too many registered nursing positions in Ontario
that have been replaced. I see the unfortunate results of care given by
health care workers who haven’t been educated to think critically.
Their assessment skills are limited, as they are more task-oriented.
The results are improperly organized hospital discharges, often with
frequent readmissions. My job takes me into homes to follow patients on
peritoneal dialysis. It takes me hours to sort out issues that should have
been set up properly at the time of discharge. A registered nurse has the
knowledge to do this. This is not an efficient use of resources, and uses
up valuable health care dollars. It is far more fiscally responsible to be
proactive in medicine rather than reactive. Registered nurses are aware
of this. This is what we’re about.
The government does not seem to understand this. They need to
understand that to stop the cuts to registered nursing positions at the
frontlines in the hospital setting has been proven to be economically
more sound. They need to look at the bigger picture, not just the hourly
rate of the registered nurses. ONA can prove that with registered nurses
at the bedside, the health care system saves money and lives. Please get
the message out and make all politicians and policy makers aware.
The following letter to the editor by Local 92 Bargaining Unit President
Sandra Tansley from Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital was published in the
Orillia Packet and Times on May 11, 2010.
Registered nurses are an endangered species and if we do not do
something about this, they will become extinct.
Do you know that across the province, health care facilities are
reducing the number of registered nurses and the hours of nursing care
so vital to patients’ well-being?
Do you know that as registered nursing hours are reduced your
health is put at risk?
Do you know that studies have shown that by replacing registered
nurses with less skilled and less qualified workers, the risk of
complications and death rise by 7 per cent?
Do you know that despite promises to hire more nurses, Ontario is
still the second worst province in Canada when it comes to the number
of registered nurses for the population?
Do you know that the more registered nurses on staff, the better the
care and the better the results for patients?
Royal Victoria
Latest Hospital to
Announce Cuts
Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie has announced that it is reducing beds, replacing some registered nurses with registered practical nurses and investigating the contracting out of services.
In total, 18 beds will be closed and 33 registered nurses deployed and replaced with 33 registered practical nurses. The
hospital said the move is part of an attempt to be more efficient
while it is on the cusp of a large expansion.
“The translation of this so-called rationale is that the hospital is balancing its budget on the backs of registered nurses
and the patients they serve,” said ONA President Linda HaslamStroud. “This is just the latest example of an alarming trend
sweeping the province that ONA is fighting hard to stop.”
Local 134 Coordinator Kimberley Sweeney also called the
move “risky business,” adding that patients in high-intensity
units require registered nurses with added education, and that
cutting beds will make things more difficult in a hospital where
emergency stretchers are regularly employed in hallways for
patients waiting to be admitted into a hospital room.
Rising to the Challenge
One ONA Local has not only met our challenge to get five
members to write to their MPPs about their challenges and
realities on the front lines, they’ve far exceeded it!
At the March 2010 Provincial Coordinators Meeting
(PCM) in Toronto, ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud issued the challenge to Local leaders to help spread our message to our elected officials that it’s unacceptable for health
care facilities to balance budgets on the backs of registered
nurses and our patients.
In response, at a recent meeting, 21 ONA reps from
Local 80 each wrote a hand-written letter to their MPP or
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, detailing the nursing situation at Women’s College Hospital or
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Local 80 Coordinator
Judie Surridge supported and assisted the nurses in writing about their experiences in their letters, and noted that
some were two or three pages long!
We encourage all members to join this challenge. For more
information, log onto
Focus on….
Aneta Alton, New Member
For Toronto Grace Health Centre registered nurse and new member
Aneta Alton, working on an organizing campaign with ONA not only
means that she and her colleagues finally have an outlet to address
working conditions, it also gave her the opportunity to pick up new
skills and learn a few things about herself.
“It feels good to be a new member of ONA,” said Alton, a 24-year Toronto Grace veteran, who works on the continuing complex care floor.
“I feel like we have someone to back us up. We don’t have to feel alone
The nurses’ decision to vote for ONA this summer comes after a
very tumultuous few months at the 119-bed continuing, palliative and
rehabilitation care facility, which was threatened with closure earlier
this year before the government came through with a $15-million reprieve.
“We felt we were being treated unjustly by management,” said
Alton, who began her career as a nurse in the Czech Republic before
Aneta Alton (centre, standing) is surrounded by colleagues and
a patient.
immigrating to Canada in the 1970s and obtaining a nursing diploma
at Sheridan College in Mississauga. “There is the stress of unreason-
to discuss our wide array of services and answer questions, and provid-
able families, the call bell goes off every minute, and wound care takes
ing materials.
hours. The only way we can manage is to not take any breaks, and we
Now that the nurses have joined ONA, Alton has assumed a lead-
don’t dare call in sick because of the hospital’s attendance manage-
ership role for the transition period before an election is held to de-
ment policies. Management is always trying to save on front-line work-
termine the executive. The election was scheduled for August 29. Due
ers, while opening more office jobs. I like helping and working with
to the experience she now has with ONA and skills she has gained,
people, so even though the working conditions are difficult, we do it.”
including communications, she said she has considered running for a
Alton said she was also denied a workers compensation claim by
her employer after suffering a herniated disk on the job, and was told
“Throughout this process, I learned I am tougher than I thought,”
several months later she could only work part-time until a full-time
she said, “and that there are a lot of nice people in this world, including
position came along (three years later) – as long as she took no sick
ONA and our nurses. They are wonderful to work with.”
time in the interim. But when the hospital announced via e-mail a few
Unfortunately for Alton, her resolve has already been put to the
months ago that there would be a two- to three-year pay freeze, Alton
test as the employer subsequently suspended her with pay pending
and many of her colleagues reached the breaking point.
an investigation into her actions during the organizing campaign. (The
“Of course I knew that ONA existed, and other RNs on the floor,
investigation concluded the complaint was invalid.)
who work second jobs with ONA, said ONA is good and will support
“They had said I coerced other members into signing organizing
us,” she said, adding that another union also told them that for regis-
membership cards,” she cried. “But as a nurse, you have to be on a high-
tered nurses, ONA is the best. With that information and the support of
er level. How can I intimate anyone? Management should work with us,
many of her colleagues, she contacted ONA about possibly organizing.
not against us. That is the way it’s supposed to be.”
“When the pay was frozen, people started to come to me and I
asked how they felt about ONA,” she said. “If anyone wasn’t interested, I
left it at that.” As it turns out, quite a few nurses were interested enough
to sign organizing membership cards.
In the subsequent weeks leading up to the June vote, Alton assisted ONA staff with holding off-site information sessions for the nurses
Despite the difficulties, Alton said she is finally very optimistic
about the future.
“I hope we can improve our working conditions and bring justice
for the RNs,” she said. “I always have hope. If I didn’t, I don’t think I could
have done this. I feel that if you do a good thing, someone will help you.”
And for Alton and her colleagues, that “someone” is ONA.
June PCM Lands in Windsor
ONA leaders and members flocked to Windsor on June 15-16, 2010 for the Provincial Coordinators Meeting (PCM), an opportunity to discuss key union business, listen to guest
speakers, network with colleagues and have some fun.
The June PCM, which rotates around the province as per a decision at the 2002 Biennial
Convention, was hosted by Region 5 at the Caesars Windsor Hotel. It was a fitting location, as
amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act came into effect during the PCM, largely prompted by the 2005 workplace murder of Windsor nurse and ONA member Lori Dupont.
Delegates listened to reports on governance and operations, and were provided with
updates on bargaining in all sectors, organizing, the ONA budget, student affiliation activities, Nursing Week and the next phase of the Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care campaign, already
underway. Ontario Health Coalition Director Natalie Mehra (pictured, bottom right) commended ONA for our support of their campaigns, most recently the fight against hospital cuts, and urged members to continue to stay involved. Ontario Federation of Labour
Secretary-Treasurer Marie Kelly (pictured, middle right) and Canadian Nursing Students’
Association Ontario Regional Director Jamie Kyraciou (pictured, opposite, bottom left) also
brought greetings.
But it wasn’t all work. On both evenings of the PCM, delegates embraced the history
of the city by touring Willistead Manor, the Canadian Club Heritage Brand Centre and the
Sandwich Church, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. They also gathered for an
early morning walk along the banks of the Detroit River, passing by the Pathway to Freedom
The week concluded on June 17, 2010 with an interesting and informative education
session on how leaders can influence funding through collective agreement strategies, including professional responsibility workload complaints, and a review of the successful Cassellholme Independent Assessment Committee hearing.
The PCM garnered considerable attention from the Windsor and area media.
Full highlights of the meeting are available on the ONA website at
ONA News
ONA Campaign Ad,
Publications Win Awards
ONA’s powerful Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care television advertisement and several of our publications, including Front Lines, have
recently won prestigious North American awards.
Provincial Elections
Coming this Fall
It’s almost that time of year again – time for the
election to determine who will form the next
ONA Board of Directors.
This fall, the election is for the positions of
the five regional Vice-Presidents. As ONA President and First Vice-President were elected in
2009 to two-year terms, their positions are not
up for election until 2011.
All bona fide members are eligible to vote,
once again through the televote system. Televoting – or voting with the keypad of your telephone using a series of easy-to-follow prompts –
is fast, accurate, completely confidential and can
The television ad, which aired earlier this year to bring attention to the growing practice of employers eliminating nursing hours and positions to balance their budgets, won an
award from the Canadian Association of Labour Media, a network of union publications and
editors that provides labour-friendly stories, graphics and training for labour communicators.
ONA publications also received 2010 Apex awards, which are sponsored by the editors
of the newsletter Writing That Works and based on excellence in graphic design, editorial
content and the success of the publication in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence. The December 2009 issue of Front Lines won an award in the “Magazine
and Journal – Print” category, and the feature article detailing our Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care
campaign, published in the April 2009 issue of Front Lines, won an award in the “Feature Writing” category. The 2008/2009 ONA Annual Report was named a winner in the “Annual Report
– Print” category, and Behind the Front Lines, which provides a recap and critical analysis of
health care news from ONA’s perspective and is geared towards the media, won an award for
“New Newsletters.”
The Apex awards, judged by a group of distinguished communications experts, are open to
communicators in corporate, non-profit and independent settings throughout North America.
be done from the comfort of your own home. It
only takes about three or four minutes.
You will be able to vote for the candidate of
your choice as soon as you receive your nomination package in the mail this fall, which contains
information about the candidates and what you
need to access the televote system – right up until the vote closes at 2400 hours on November 1,
In the first in a regular series, we briefly highlight some of the areas where ONA has made
a real difference, not just to the working lives of our members, but to the care of our
Thanks to ONA . . .
2010. Results will be made available soon after
the televote closes on our website and published in the December issue of Front Lines.
The October issue of Front Lines will contain
information on the candidates running and details on how to place your vote. Televote information will also be posted on the members’ section of the ONA website at in the
days to come.
The Board of Directors makes important decisions on your behalf every day. We strongly encourage you to have your say in who forms this
The Year was 1974: ONA negotiates the first central hospital agreement, covering
important group when the televote rolls around
10,000 registered nurses and including a 50 per cent increase in maximum salary. The
this fall.
Ontario Health Ministry accepts the rates as the province-wide standard.
ONA Supports Quebec Nurses
– You Can Too!
Patients Move Through System
Inefficiently, Report States
ONA is supporting our Quebec counterparts in their protracted negotiations with
Ontario is experiencing serious problems with how patients
the province and we are asking you to help by signing an online petition.
move through the health care system, from emergency de-
The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) unanimously
rejected the government’s latest contract offer and has called for major changes
in working conditions. As a pressure tactic, FIQ members plan to implement those
changes in the workplace to show the government they will work.
partments to hospitals to long-term care, the 2010 annual
report of the Ontario Health Quality Council reveals.
The council, an independent arms-length agency, suggests that Ontario’s health care system – one of the most
“Our action plan and mobilization will continue until the fall and we will take
costly in Canada – is squandering precious resources due to
the time we need to reach an agreement that is satisfactory for our members,” said
inefficiency. And although council Chairperson Lyn McLeod
FIQ President Régine Laurent. “That means we will continue our negotiations for
said the report is meant to encourage hospitals to do better,
as long as necessary.”
in many areas of care, too many people are waiting for too
In a letter of support to FIQ, Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federa-
tion of Nurses Unions (CFNU), wrote, “The CFNU agrees with the 83 per cent of
Among the council’s chief concerns is that one in every
Quebecers who believe that improving working conditions, as requested by the
six hospital beds is occupied by patients who are awaiting
nurses, will improve the health system while having a positive impact in terms of
nursing home placement, which causes a domino effect.
diminishing the nurse shortage, better retention rates, and attracting new peo-
Many urgent cancer patients cannot undergo operations
ple to the profession…We are exasperated to see that the Quebec government
within the recommended two weeks or less due to a lack of
doesn’t seem to be willing to listen to the solutions you bring to the table.”
beds, and emergency patients wait for hours to be moved
To support Quebec nurses in their efforts for a fair and decent contract, ONA is
asking you to sign FIQ’s online petition at:
into a room. One-quarter of nursing home residents also
don’t need to be in long-term care, the report states.
Home Care
Number of Home Care Nurses Declines
The demand for home care services is increasing as care shifts from
hospitals to home and the community, but there has been a steady
decline in the number of home care nurses over the past decade, the
Nursing Health Services Research Unit (NHSRU) finds.
The NHSRU – a collaborative project of the University of Toronto
and McMaster University – analyzed the College of Nurses of Ontario
Membership Statistics Report and found that while the number of RNs
in the sector has increased overall, the actual number of home care
nurses has steadily decreased. In Ontario in 1999, there were 7,546
home care nurses who were employed, but in 2009, that number declined to just 5,007. To compound the situation, in 2009, 32 per cent of
home care nurses were aged 55 to 64, compared to just 12.2 per cent
in 1999.
The NHSRU concludes that the consequences of fewer home care
nurses on quality of care and wait times for home care services “warrants further investigation.”
ONA News
News in Brief
E In a decision supported by the Canadian Federation of Nurses
E About 200 Red Cross workers
Unions, members of the Canadian Nurses Association voted
unanimously at their recent annual meeting to call upon the
three-day strike to protest
federal government, as the host of the G8 Summit this past
what they say is the non-profit’s decision to skimp on safety and
June, to push for an international consensus on a sustained,
not require registered nurses to attend every blood drive. ONA has
comprehensive, rights-based global strategy for maternal,
been fighting a similar decision by Canadian Blood Services to
newborn and child health. “Nurses across Canada are express-
conduct a pilot project in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to replace
ing their deep concern for the over 340,000 annual maternal
nurses with unskilled workers for initial blood donor screening.
deaths worldwide – most of which are preventable – and the
lack of progress on United Nations Millennium Development
Goals No. 4 (reduce child mortality) and No. 5 (improve maternal health),” said CNA President Kaaren Neufeld. “It’s time to
put our money where our mouth is.” The G8 leaders pledged
$5-billion over five years for maternal and child health.
E Ontario responded well to the H1N1 pandemic, but greater
E Sudbury Regional Hospital has unveiled five trees representing the
employee groups at the hospital,
including the Ontario Nurses’ Association. The young maple trees in
a large planter outside the hospital’s main entrance is a “great recog-
coordination and standardization is needed for future health
nition of our employee groups,” said the hospital’s Vice-President
emergencies, a new report from Dr. Arlene King, Ontario’s
of Clinical Programs and Chief Nursing Officer David McNeil.
Chief Medical Officer of Health, states. The province received
little coordination from the federal government on the delivery of the H1N1 flu vaccine last year, resulting in supply and
demand needs never being balanced, she said. ONA submitted
recommendations to the provincial government post the
H1N1 pandemic, identifying our front-line nurses’ concerns.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said H1N1 is still a pandemic, although the most
intense activity appears to have passed.
E Four Local Health Integration Networks
and three hospitals, including Sault
Area Hospital, will host an Ontariowide pilot project aimed at increasing
access to electronic health records
among mental health care providers
and improving continuity of care
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tors. In the project, called Doorways: Strengthening Connections
Between Providers and Clients, electronic information
portals will be created using the Ontario Common Assessment of
Need tool to allow key information to be electronically gathered
and follow patients as they move across the health care spectrum.
E Five years after British Columbia formally recognized nurse practitioners (NPs) and vowed to carve out a significant role for them,
NPs remain underused in the province. Fewer than half of the
more than 180 homegrown B.C. NP graduates now work in the
province in that capacity, while some are unemployed and others
work as registered nurses. While grant money initially flowed in to
hire NPs, much of that has dried up with health budget restraints.
Ontario, the national leader in the field, has 1,600 NPs registered
– 10 times as many as B.C.
E Judith Wright has been named Deputy
Minister for the Ministry of Health Promotion, after a stint as Deputy Minister for
the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Prior to that appointment, Wright
served as the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Assistant Deputy Minister in various other Ministries,
including the Ministry of Health, Ministry
of Community and Social Services, Strategic Planning and Policy Division, and
Ministry of the Environment and Energy.
E Members of the United Nurses of Alberta
(UNA) have voted to accept a mediator’s
recommendations for a new collective
agreement. The three-year agreement
gives the nurses no salary increase this
year, a 2 per cent increase in 2011 and a 4
per cent increase in 2012. “The contract
also begins to address nurses’ biggest concern, which is adequate and safe nurse
staffing,” said Heather Smith, President of
UNA, which represents 24,000 registered
nurses and psychiatric nurses. “It includes
important measures on staffing, including
a commitment to hire at least 70 per cent
of the province’s nurse grads each year.”
UNA also welcomes the budget announcement by Alberta Health Services that hiring
can proceed again and 450 jobs will be created. “Our members are giving a vote of
confidence, expecting Alberta Health Services to fulfill the promise to address workplace supply and workplace issues,” Smith
added. “It is a vote of hope.”
Queen’s Park Update
E The government has finalized reforms to lower generic drug
E Bill 46, Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 also received third reading
prices and is making improvements to the province’s drug sys-
on June 3, 2010, and Royal Assent on June 8, 2010 (some sections
tem. The changes were effective on July 1, 2010, and include:
require proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor). Health care
Lowering the price of most generic drugs by at least 50 per cent.
organizations (defined as public hospitals, and other organiza-
• Eliminating so-called “professional allowances” – payments
tions that may be provided for in the regulations) are required to
generic drug companies make to pharmacy owners in
establish quality committees. Health care organizations are also
exchange for stocking their products.
required to conduct surveys to collect information concerning
• Supporting access to pharmacy services in rural communities
satisfaction with the services they provide, and to have a patient
by increasing the dispensing fees paid to rural pharmacies by
relations process and a patient declaration of values. They are also
as much as $5 per prescription filled.
required to develop a quality improvement plan, and to ensure
• Expanding the MedsCheck program to assist people with
that executive compensation is linked to the achievement of the
diabetes, long-term care home residents and people who have
objectives in that plan. The Ontario Health Quality Council estab-
difficulty travelling to their local pharmacy.
lished under the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act, 2004
• Creating a transition fund to assist pharmacies in adapting to
the fairer drug system.
E Bill 21, the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 received third reading
on June 2, 2010, and Royal Assent on June 8, 2010 (some sec-
is continued. (See Front Lines, Vol. 10, No. 3, June 2010, pg. 16 for
ONA’s take on this Bill; our full submission is available on the ONA
website at Information on the Bill can be found at:
tions require proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor). The Bill
E The government has announced 100 per cent funding for Reg-
regulates retirement homes by setting up the Retirement Homes
istered Nurse Surgical First Assist (RN-SFA) positions in hospitals.
Regulatory Authority. (See Front Lines, Vol. 10, No. 3, June 2010,
Under the program, originally a pilot, our members work with the
pg. 15 for ONA’s take on this Bill; our full submission is available on
surgeon and the rest of the operating room team to ensure pa-
the ONA website at Information on the Bill can be
tient safety before, during and after surgery.
found at
OHC News
E Ontario announced it is helping hospitals create more nursing
positions dedicated to assisting patients who arrive in emergency
rooms (ERs) by ambulance. The province is providing $9.6-million
for municipalities to create more than 90 ER-dedicated nursing
positions across the province. These nurses help reduce the time
paramedics spend in hospital ERs by providing care to non-prior-
E The Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Hospital
Improvement Plan (HIP), which recommends draconian cuts
to staffing levels and significant cuts to hospital beds and
services, does not reveal the extent of the service reductions
because it continues to list unstaffed (and therefore unusable)
beds as open beds, detailed analysis conducted by the Ontario
Health Coalition (OHC) states. The reduction in public hospital
services for the Peterborough community and surrounding region proposed in the HIP is based on the findings of the Peer
Review relating to key performance indicators and financial
data. But in the OHC’s analysis of the HIP and Peer Review,
“we have found that the financial ‘crisis’ is overstated, key financial information has not been provided and the methodology used to determine the PRHC’s status in key performance
indicators is deeply flawed.” To read the OHC’s full report, visit
ity patients who arrive by ambulance. This allows paramedics to
respond to other calls in the community rather than attending to
patients in the ER. Details on the funding allocated to Local Health
Integration Networks can be found at
Occupational Health and Safety
Voluntary Benefits
Ontario Lags Behind in OH&S, ONA Tells Advisory Panel
Ontario health care facilities lag decades behind the rest of the workforce and fail to meet
ity throughout the government and the
health care sector.
even the minimum health and safety stan-
• Prevention must be removed from the
dards, ONA has told an expert advisory panel
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
reviewing Ontario’s occupational health and
(WSIB), with a broadening of enforcement,
safety (OH&S) prevention and enforcement
and preventive and reactive enforcement
system in Mississauga on June 28, 2010.
in the Ministry of Labour (MOL).
ONA’s review of the state of OH&S found
• Legislative amendments are required to
serious deficits in protecting health care
expand the powers of health care Joint
workers from illness and injury – and the
Health and Safety Committees and ad-
risk extends to patient safety. ONA is calling
dress reprisals that are now occurring.
for the provincial government to implement
• Training standards must be established
58 recommendations, particularly because
and enforced for all.
of the potential benefits to RNs, patients
• A more accurate picture of OH&S must be
and the public of making OH&S a core value.
developed, and the MOL should develop
“Despite very high stakes and the im-
its own database of injuries and “near
plications for RNs and health care provid-
misses” based on reporting requirements
ers, we are far behind industrial health and
in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
safety leaders, as we saw clearly during the
• OH&S criteria/requirements should be
SARS outbreak,” said ONA President Linda
built into accountability agreements,
Haslam-Stroud. “Other industries have em-
physician privileges agreements and per-
braced occupational health and safety as a
formance standards/measures for health
core value, but ironically, health care provid-
care employers, officers, directors and
ers face far more dangerous working condi-
tions with much less protection.”
Among our recommendations are:
The panel is researching best practices
and will report back to the MOL in the fall
• The Ministry of Health and Long-Term
with recommendations and options for oper-
Care must publicly commit to OH&S laws
ational, policy and structural improvements
and principles, and ensure top-down
for consideration. ONA’s full submission is
education and personal accountabil-
available on our website at
OFL News
E The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is calling for real dialogue on the ex-
A Benefit
for Everyone,
Active or Retired
• Long Term Disability
• Extended Health Care &
Semi–Private Hospital
• Dental Care
• Critical Illness
• Life Insurance
• Accidental Death &
• MEDOC® Travel Insurance
For more information, contact
the ONA Program Administrator:
Johnson Inc.
1595 16th Ave., Suite 700
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3S5
(905) 764.4959 (local)
1.800.461.4155 (toll-free)
pansion of the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), which it considers the cornerstone of retirement security. In a recent poll, commissioned by the OFL and the Canadian Labour Congress, which launched a national campaign in 2009 with its affiliated unions to promote
pension reform, more than two-thirds of small business owners believe good pensions
are good for business, and that a public pension system such as CPP would improve
competitiveness and provide relief from the costly, cumbersome and time-consuming
process of administering small-scale private plans. Just as Canada’s public health system
offers a competitive advantage for Canadian businesses, so too does a public pension
system, the OFL states.
Critical Illness Survivor Plan is underwritten by Western Life Assurance Company and
administered by Johnson Inc. MEDOC® is a registered trademark of Johnson Inc.
MEDOC® is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada and
is administered by Johnson Inc. Johnson Inc. and Royal & SunAlliance Insurance
Company of Canada share common ownership. All other available benefits are
underwritten by Manulife Financial and administered by Johnson Inc. Some
conditions may apply. LRP.04.09
“I reignited my passion for nursing!”
ONA’s Leadership Conference Hits the Mark
ONA’s first ever Leadership Conference was
more than just an opportunity for 25 new Local leaders to learn the ins and outs of their
challenging role to better represent their
members. For many, it was the chance to feel
re-energized about their profession.
Through a series of lectures, panel presentations, meetings with members of the ONA
Board of Directors and small group work, participants in the conference, held from June
7-11, 2010 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, discussed the workings of ONA and
the Board, including how our union links to
the broader labour movement; negotiations
and grievances; leadership styles; mentoring; and effective communi-
Local 19, the conference also provided her with an opportunity to con-
cation – to name a few. The leaders, who come from a variety of sectors
nect with other leaders and discuss their challenges.
throughout the province, were also required to develop a personal action plan for the next 12 months.
“I learned to better understand my leadership style to better represent our members,” said Debbie Digby, who works at Sudbury and
“We were all very grateful for this intensive training,” she said.
“I think it is wonderful ONA has kicked into high gear on succession
planning and mentoring. It is a vital part of continuing the work of our
union without leaving big gaps.”
District Health Unit, Local 2. “I also learned that there are many spe-
Lisa Barrett-Cagliostro, a nurse at Campbellford Memorial Hospital,
cialists supporting the work we do on the front lines, and there are
Local 3, found the conference “enriching and solidified any education
56,000 members standing in solidarity! It was a great experience, great
that I had received at the one-day ONA workshops. It was a real privi-
networking and very inspiring.”
lege to attend and I hope there are more conferences for the next up
Kierston Miron from Sault Area Hospital, Local 46, agreed, adding,
and coming leaders to follow.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the Leadership Conference. It was well planned
That seems likely with almost 100 per cent of participants rank-
and contained enough information on the most important parts of
ing the conference as “effective” or “very effective.” Comments on the
how ONA works and what we need as leaders in our local organiza-
evaluation forms include: “fantastic course,” “very organized and well
presented,” “this was an awesome program,” “panel presentation was
For Dianna Dawson, an RPN from Four Counties Health Services,
terrific,” and “I reignited my passion for nursing!”
LEAP Before You Speak!
The police show up at your door and want to
Intake at ONA before answering any ques-
ask you about missing narcotics at the facility
tions. That same advice applies when the
where you work. You know you didn’t take any-
College, Coroner or Information and Privacy
thing, so you invite the police into your home
Officer contact you. Call LEAP first before talk-
and answer all their questions. You think the
ing to anyone.
matter is over, but several days later the police
College cases are on the rise. We suspect
call and want you to come to the police station
this is due to increased public expectations
to provide a videotaped statement. You think
and greater employer reporting obligations
about your initial conversation with the police,
with respect to incapacity and incompetence
realizing that you didn’t have the chart in front
matters. We are seeing a marked increase in
The following is an excerpt from a letter
of you or the Narcotic Control Records, and are
incapacity cases, and in these cases, the Col-
sent to ONA President Linda Haslam-
concerned about your recollection.
lege has the extraordinary power to order
Stroud from conference participant
Were your times off? Did you have patient
you to submit to a medical examination. You
Jennifer Taylor, who works at the
names right? What did your coworkers say? Has
want to make sure such a serious intrusion of
University Health Network in Toronto,
someone altered the records since you made
your privacy rights is warranted. Call us first.
Local 97.
your last notation? And, even though you
Your monthly dues fund LEAP. LEAP cases
didn’t think to ask the police when they origi-
are serious legal matters with serious legal
I attended the Leadership Conference last
nally arrived on your doorstep, are you a sus-
consequences. The collective agreement pro-
week in Waterloo, and words cannot be-
pect? In fact, all the staff are suspects and you
tects your job. LEAP protects your profession-
gin to express my gratitude and appreci-
could still be charged with a criminal offence.
al designation – without it, you can’t practise
ation to you and ONA. I feel inspired and
Now you are really worried and call ONA’s Le-
nursing. And if you end up with a criminal re-
re-energized about my profession again.
gal Expense Assistance Plan Team (LEAP). But it
cord, you may have a major problem securing
I thought that was long gone!
may be too late to prevent a criminal charge if
nursing employment.
The conference was enlightening.
I came away empowered with an in-
there are inadvertent but concerning inconsistencies in your original statement.
creased knowledge of the structure of
You should have called LEAP first – when
ONA, its history, how it serves its mem-
the police first arrived on your doorstep. You
bers and its future. I increasingly under-
should have politely said, “I’m prepared to co-
stand the health care system in this prov-
operate, but want to call LEAP first for legal
ince and the necessity of our union. I met
advice.” Then pick up the phone and call LEAP
nurses from all over Ontario and made
invaluable connections.
It is encouraging and empowering to
know that there are so many passionate
New Process for After
Hours Malpractice Calls
and like-minded people at ONA. The con-
ONA has developed a new process for
ference was effective in that I am able to
members’ AFTER HOURS calls regarding
take the knowledge I acquired and better
malpractice. Such calls can now be left in
serve and educate the nurses on my unit.
a confidential voicemail box and will be
I plan to become more involved at
returned within 48 business hours.
ONA in the areas of occupational health
Call (416) 964-8833 or toll-free 1-800-
and safety, and human rights. Thanks to
387-5580 (press “0” to be connected to the
the conference, I was able to identify an
Toronto office) and enter extension 7723. For
area of interest and follow that direction.
calls during regular business hours, call the
above numbers and ask for Gayle Thomson.
LEAP is your service. Use it, and remember
to LEAP before you speak!
How to Contact LEAP
To contact a member of the LEAP Team, call
(416) 964-8833 or toll-free 1-800-387-5580
during regular business hours (press “0” to
be connected to the Toronto office if calling
toll-free) and ask for “LEAP Intake.” If you do
not reach a member of the team, leave a message and your call will be returned within 24
hours. After hours, for work-related criminal
and coroner matters only, call Board intake:
(416) 964-1979 or 1-877-839-6245 (enter
7775) . Included with this issue of Front Lines
is a handy wallet card so you can have LEAP’s
contact information on you at all times. And
for more detailed information, refer to the
newly revised LEAP Guide, a copy of which can
be found on ONA’s website at
Human Rights and Equity
“Each one of us must be the change we want to see in the world”
has faced discrimination herself, highlighted
and Embracing our
key areas of diversity in health care, such as
understanding differences and inclusiveness;
what it is like to be diverse and how to address those needs; key values of embracing
diversity; and changes we and our organizations can make, such as obtaining the appropriate skills to embrace diversity and practice
competently with diverse groups, and implementing processes to ensure workplace diversity exists in all roles and all levels.
“Diversity is important to the mission,
vision and strategic planning of any organization,” she said. “On my unit, for example,
I have noticed that staff is really taking an
interest in diversity. While management already promotes diversity, they would like to
discuss this initiative further.”
One very motivated ONA Local leader is help-
ethics committee and an Ontario Hospital As-
And it appears her presentation hit
ing spread the word that in our ever-chang-
sociation conference on embracing diversity
the mark, with staff commenting that she
ing society, cultural competence – the ability
in health care, that she decided to really get
brought a different perspective to diversity.
to interact effectively with people of different
the ball rolling. She began by presenting her
Since then, Arora has given two additional
cultures – is a mandatory skill, not just for all
learnings from the conferences to her hospi-
presentations, one on her unit during a sup-
health care providers, but for each and every
tal’s Nursing Professional Practice Committee.
per break and one to ONA’s Human Rights
one of us.
“They really liked the material and we mu-
and Equity Team.
“As demographics continue to change, we
tually decided to do a Powerpoint presenta-
“This is certainly the first step in increas-
are seeing more and more diversity, not just in
tion for staff,” she said. “Management is very
ing knowledge and understanding our dif-
health care organizations, but everywhere in
open and receptive to the initiative I am tak-
ferences,” she concluded. “If there’s one thing
society,” said Bargaining Unit President Usha
ing and my manager is proud of me.”
(my audience) takes away, I hope it’s to have
Arora, from Local 25, a member of ONA’s pro-
That presentation took the form of a
awareness, understanding, cultural compe-
vincial Human Rights and Equity Team. “More
“lunch and learn” for approximately 50 staff
tence, and respect. As Gandhi said, ‘each one
and more facilities are interested in patient-
during Nursing Week 2010. Arora, who immi-
of us must be the change we want to see in
centred care and hiring employees from di-
grated to Canada from India in the 1970s and
the world.’”
verse backgrounds to enhance the lives of clients. It is important that we acknowledge, understand, respect and value our differences.”
“Some may ask what the big fuss is about diversity. We don’t have issues and we treat ev-
While Arora, who works in long-term care
eryone the same. But, in fact, we are not the same. Each one of us comes from a culture that
at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph, has
can affect our values, beliefs, customs and ways of communication. Each one of us also has
always had an interest in human rights and
different life experiences, goals and changes that affect our values and behaviours. Every
a goal to develop a diversity advisory com-
day we deal with many cultures: our own and those of clients, staff and volunteers. A role
mittee at her workplace for the “inclusion of
or a profession may have a culture of its own. An organization also creates culture with
diverse perspectives on organizational strate-
norms, expectations and behaviour of employees. Cultures are learned; they are dynamic
gies and to fill the gaps,” it wasn’t until she at-
and evolving. And they can have an impact on every aspect of an individual’s life.”
tended a presentation by St. Mary’s Hospital’s
– Bargaining Unit President Usha Arora, from Local 25
Awards and Decisions: The Work of our Union!
The following is a sampling of recent key awards and/or decisions in one or more
of the following areas: rights arbitration, interest arbitration, Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board (WSIB), Long-Term Disability (LTD) and Ontario Labour Relations
Board. A complete listing of recent awards and decisions can be found on the ONA
website at
Arbitrator awards 14 per cent wage
differential for Registered Nurse First
ONA & North Bay General Hospital
ONA wins WSIB appeal; entitlement
granted for depression and anxiety
South Nursing Home
(May 2010)
to psychological illness due to a pre-existing
chronic pain condition). The ARO also decided
the injured nurse was “unemployable” due to
the psych condition, and she will be paid full
loss of earnings benefits until age 65. The total
payout of this appeal exceeded $120,000.
Importance to ONA: Not only can workplace
injuries be physically debilitating, many of our
In January 2004, this member slipped in
workers suffer depression and other psycho-
The employer introduced the classification of
water at the nursing home and injured her
logical impacts from the injury, its effects, and
Registered Nurse First Assistant, but the par-
shoulder, knee and left hip. This claim was
the ordeal of securing benefits from the WSIB.
ties were unable to agree to a wage rate.
(R. Brown, March 1, 2010)
allowed for health care benefits only as the
Injured workers are among the most vulner-
The Arbitrator determined that the ap-
worker did not lose time. She subsequently
able in our membership, and ONA’s support
propriate differential should be based on
required knee surgery, which was allowed
and advocacy can be critical to helping these
the average differential at other institutions
and paid for by WSIB.
members regain benefits and a quality of life.
that are appropriate comparators. Hospitals
which were outliers were excluded.
As a result, a 14 per cent differential over
the registered nurse was awarded.
Then in March 2004, she had a second injury when she slipped on ice getting out of
her vehicle for the night shift. This incident
resulted in injuries to her back, neck and
head. This claim was allowed for health care
benefits and sporadic absences from work
until she went off completely in late 2009.
In May 2004, the worker was diagnosed
with depression and suicidal ideation due to
pain from her injuries, ideas of her own selfworth, inability to cope and flair-up of preexisting fibromyalgia. The Claims Adjudicator
attributed all of her symptoms and conditions to the pre-existing fibromyalgia and denied ongoing entitlement. ONA represented
this member at a hearing in December 2008.
The decision was received June 30, 2009,
and granted several entitlements for the
worker. In addition to entitlement for some
of her physical conditions, the Appeals Resolution Officer (ARO) granted entitlement for
depression and anxiety, as it developed primarily in response to the work-related injuries
(even though the worker was pre-disposed
ONA 2010 Biennial Convention
November 9-11, 2010
Human Rights and Equity Caucus
“Empowering Your Equity Groups”
November 8, 2010
Gala Dinner
November 9, 2010
Education Session
November 12, 2010
Royal York Hotel, Toronto
For more information,
check the ONA website at in the upcoming weeks.
Biennial online registration begins September 1, 2010.
Ontario Nurses’ Association
85 Grenville St., Ste. 400
Toronto ON M5S 3A2