Provincial Budget Disappoints Nurses Desperate for Hope and
Improvements in the Short-Term
The provincial budget has fallen short in providing hope and the
short-term relief that Ontario nurses dearly needed to see, says the
Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA).
ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, says, "(The) 3.4 per cent funding
increase falls short of what is needed for the system to catch up on
the backlog of surgeries when the pandemic ends. The budget does not
overcome the cuts to public health that this government made just
months before the worst public health crisis in a century, nor does
it commit to fast-track RN staffing levels in long-term care facilities
or improving the quality and frequency of inspections of these homes."
notes, "Every Ontarian needs and deserves paid sick leave, which would
ensure that those who cannot work from home can stay home when ill. We
know that Ontario needs to stabilize nurse staffing in our health-care
facilities, and the budget is silent on specific measures to do that.
And despite receiving federal funds for COVID-19
relief, the government continues to spread that contingency funding
over multiple years, when it could be used now to cover the immediate
costs of rebuilding capacity in our health-care system."
"There is very little in this budget that provides the immediate
relief that our dedicated registered nurses and health-care
professionals need," she says. "ONA would like to see more funding
going to not-for-profit health care, rather than to for-profit
facilities that have proved to be so troubled during COVID-19.
Announced funding for more
nurses for retirement homes does not address long-term care RN staffing."
"If ever there was a lesson to be learned from COVID-19, it is that
starving our health-care system and public health units of funding and
staff has real consequences," she says. "Ontarians, our nurses and
frontline health care professionals have paid dearly for this during
the pandemic. Our home care system has suffered and could have been
used to shore up services for seniors. We should have learned the
lessons of the past, from SARS, yet there is nothing about implementing
the precautionary principle to keep staff or patients, residents and
clients safe. There is nothing about hiring more registered nurses to
close the gap between Ontario and RN staffing levels compared to the
of the country. For a budget focused on the health of people, the
budget is short on details about caring for nurses who care for
This article was published in
Voluem [volume] Number 24 - April 2, 2021 - No. 24