Ontario nurses discuss the crisis in the profession during RNAO’s Fall Tour

Toronto, Nov. 12. For the past 22 months, nurses across the province have been working tirelessly and diligently to care for patients and residents amid a relentless pandemic. To make sure their voices are heard, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will be checking in with nurses and nursing students this month through a virtual Fall Tour. RNAO will hear nursing struggles and aspirations from more than 10 Ontario regions and check the pulse on the association’s next steps of escalating demands with government and employers.

“For decades, Ontario’s RN-to-population ratio has lagged when compared to the rest of Canada. With the pandemic, the situation has turned into a full-blown crisis,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “Nurses are burnt out, exhausted and are leaving the profession. They are no longer willing to continuously compromise patient care because of excessive workloads. And, they are not willing to put up with inadequate compensation and a lack of respect. If something is not done the crisis will spiral out of control and collapse our health system with horrendous results when it comes to patient safety and Ontarians’ health.”

RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth says “We have been hearing concerns from our members throughout the pandemic and our seventh-annual Fall Tour gives us a chance to check in again. Registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) know that we have been urging the government to immediately launch a human resources task force and while good progress is being made for long-term care, the rest of the system is lagging in action,” says Hoffarth.  

RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth and CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun will meet virtually with RNs, NPs and nursing students from different regions across Ontario to check the pulse on their work and on their well-being. The magnitude of the crisis is discussed in RNAO’s just released political action bulletin RN Understaffing Crisis: Impact and Solution (see below for a short version).

One of the main advocacy items to be discussed during the tour is Bill 124, legislation that limits wage increases to a maximum of one per cent for RNs, NPs and other health-care professionals. “Bill 124 demoralizes and undermines our profession and at the end of the day is a total slap in the face,” says Hoffarth. “If the bill is not repealed, nurses will continue to leave and health-care organizations will continue to face staffing shortages and longer wait times for already backlogged procedures and surgeries, compromising people ’s health and threatening the functioning of Ontario’s health system.” 

The virtual Fall Tour runs from Nov. 15-30 and has nurses from more than 10 regions across the province participating.

“The work that nurses do touches the lives of millions of Ontarians in all stages of their lives, in good times and in times of crisis. Yet, despite nurses selflessly giving to the point of exhaustion – caring for people and saving lives while confronting fears for their own health and safety – the government has not understood the crisis, nor is responding accordingly,” says Grinspun. “As the professional association representing more than 48,000 RNs, NPs, and nursing students, we must once again sound the alarm – we will do so alongside our colleagues for their sake and for the sake of Ontarians.”

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Details of RNAO’s Fall Tour:

Media interested in attending can follow up with a media contact at the information below or register online using the registration links provided above.