Nurses continue to call for the repeal of Bill 124

Ontario political leaders meet with nursing professionals, January 9, 2022.

As hospital and ICU rates continue to rise, health care representatives met with Ontario’s opposition parties to discuss the best ways to support hospital staff in the immediate future.

“This is about us working together to try to solve the system right now. It is beyond critical. Critical is a nice word to say. I don’t even think there is a word for it right now. We need to work together and act fast because we are losing nurses and other health care professionals each and every day,” said Ontario Nursing Association President Katherine Roy.

Nurses unions and other health care organizations continue to call for the Ford government to repeal Bill 124, which currently limits nursing salaries.

Dr. Doris Grinspun with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario says the repeal of the bill won’t fix everything right away, but it will give many frontline nurses hope.

“It will be a flag of hope, of energy. A way of saying to healthcare workers finally we are listening, give us one more shift, give us one more hour,” said Dr. Grinspun. “Wages need to be topped up to the compensation that agencies are offering because, if not, nurses and PSWs will continue to move to agencies or to the US.”

In addition, they are calling for the College of Nurses to improve its processes to certify nurses trained outside of Ontario more efficiently. Right now, there are about 15,000 nurses trained in other jurisdictions that could work in Ontario if they had the approval of the college.

It’s estimated that there are 22,000 more nurses needed to fill vacancies throughout Ontario hospitals.

All three opposition parties, the Ontario Liberal Party, Ontario NDP, and Ontario Green Party agreed now is the time to work together to fix the healthcare system to meet current and future needs.