BRAUN: Public Demonstration Against Bill 124 Highlights Nurses’ Dissatisfaction

Article content

Will the nursing shortage affect you?


Article content

You can bet your life on it.

Registered nurses are the engine of the health care system and, after giving it their all for 20 months during COVID, they are exhausted.

Nurses are fleeing the profession, and it’s probably not just because of inadequate pay or poor working conditions.

It is the lack of respect.

Ontario has a nursing crisis. She had a nursing crisis long before COVID happened, but the pandemic made everything worse.

For those who have been in the trenches for nearly two years, the latest slap came on Friday when Prime Minister Ford announced the end of capacity limits and on January 17 for the vaccination test.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) responded immediately with a statement condemning both the prime minister’s rush to reopen and his failure to announce mandatory vaccination for all healthcare workers.


Article content

RNAO Director Dr. Doris Grinspun doesn’t understand why the Prime Minister is gambling with all the progress made so far, “especially when the end is in sight, when a vaccine for children has finally been approved, when finally we have an excellent vaccination rate overall.

“Why lift the restrictions now? Why remove the vaccine requirement now? “

The prospect of the COVID vaccine test being dropped in January is particularly puzzling, Grinspun said, as not all children will yet be vaccinated and it is flu season as well.

And it’s the nurses who will stay behind to clean up the mess if the COVID numbers head north again.

Grinspun is sounding the alarm about the exodus from the infirmary.

Among social determinants of health it is access to affordable, decent quality health services, something most Canadians take for granted.


Article content

At the center of these services are registered nurses, the backbone of the medical system. Nurses do 90% of healthcare work.

It is correct to say that there is no medical system without registered nurses. Its shortage, not the lack of surgeons or operating rooms, is why hospitals are having so much trouble catching up on all the surgeries that were postponed during COVID.

But long before people require hospital care, they find nurses in hundreds of different roles in the community: in primary care, education, promoting wellness, and managing disease.

Nurse-led programs are transforming healthcare and its cost in Canada.

Sadly, Ontario has the distinction of having the lowest ratio of registered nurses to population in the country, and it’s getting worse.


Article content

After working hard for 20 months with days off and vacations canceled, “nurses now double and triple the patients.

We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

“The ‘heroes’ are totally exhausted and no longer want to work with unvaccinated people. They don’t want to risk their lives, ”Grinspun said.

“Add Bill 124 and you have a toxic recipe.”

Bill 124 limits salary increases to a maximum of one percent of total compensation for three years and was introduced by the Ford government in 2019.

If the prime minister had repealed 124, “nurses would feel respected and valued and would continue to do the quadruple extra work that they have been doing for the past 20 months.”

What is required, Grinspun said, is a vaccination mandate for all healthcare workers, a concerted provincial effort to retain nurses and recruit more into the profession, and the end of Bill 124.

“We have to figure this out. We are facing a mega crisis in nursing and there is not a peep from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Health, ”he said.

On November 14, Grinspun and other speakers will be part of the Kill Bill 124 public rally in Nathan Phillips Square at noon.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment