Give Urgent Attention to Long-Term Care Issues, Ontario Nurses' Association Demands
TORONTO, May 26, 2020 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is demanding urgent action from the provincial government to address the conditions in the province's long-term care homes – not only in the five homes identified in a scathing report from the Canadian military released today.
"We have been elevating our concerns about a growing number of long-term care homes for some time now," says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. "We are grateful that the report from the military and the involvement of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally resulted in attention being paid to deficiencies in these homes."
"I urge the government to look at its own statistics on COVID-19 outbreaks in our long-term care homes," says McKenna. "Throughout this pandemic ONA has continued to raise the alarm and has tried to work with government to ensure that both workers and their residents are safe. Unfortunately, we have been forced to use the legal system to compel groups of long-term care homes to follow the directives issued by government. ONA received an arbitration award on May 4 that addresses many of these same issues for more than 200 Ontario long-term care homes, and we continue to push employers to ensure the award is adhered to."
McKenna adds that ONA has also "called in the Ministry of Labour, which has written few orders yet rarely been on site to conduct physical inspections. This sector needs immediate attention," she says. "Government must act now to halt these outbreaks."
A number of long-term care reports have been issued over the past two decades in Ontario which continue to make the same recommendations to improve the sector: more staffing, more funding, better training and increased resources.
"ONA will hold this government accountable to keep its promise to fix this 'broken system,'" McKenna says. "We simply cannot afford to let the government take a single step back from doing so."
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.