A trio of associations concerned about pickets around hospitals

© Can Stock Photo / bradcalkins

The Ontario Medical Association and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario are calling on the province to establish “safe zones” around hospitals and healthcare settings.

In a joint statement the Associations say while they respect the democratic right to protest, those demonstrations must not be held where they block entry and exit to healthcare facilities, especially emergency vehicles or patients seeking emergency care.

They want charges laid against anyone who harasses, shows aggression or uses hate speech during the protests.

The statement reminds people that nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers have been working around the clock on the frontlines of the pandemic for 18 months.

They are also calling for mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers and education workers saying getting 90 per cent of people in the province vaccinated is the only way to get out of the pandemic.

Meanwhile the Ontario Hospital Association is also “deeply disappointed” that anti-vaccine protesters are planning to picket hospitals again this week.

In a release President and CEO Anthony Dale is “strongly urging” those people to be respectful of patients and staff and to protest peacefully.

Dale says during protests on September 1st, patients were impeded from getting into some hospitals and healthcare workers were harrassed.

Dale say they are trying to get the province to “strengthen protections” for hospitals.