RNAO launches new policy webpages

RNAO’s Policy Department, under the direction of Matt Kellway, in partnership with our Communications and IT departments, is in the process of launching a brand-new policy website that will substantially enhance our outstanding policy work. Thanks to Matt for this update!

We’re not done. But we are well on our way to communicate RNAO’s policy work in a more accessible way on our website. Please take a look.

RNAO has a vision for our health system. The Association wants a publicly-funded/not-for-profit, integrated, accessible, equitable and person-centred health system to serve and support the health and well-being of all Ontarians. Our job in the policy department is to shape public policy towards that destination. We want our new webpages to set that vision out clearly, to explain where we are in relation to our destination, to show what we’re doing to reach that destination and, very importantly, to provide nurses and others with an opportunity to join us in our efforts to reach that destination.

Whether you’re using a desktop or your phone, when you come to RNAO’s policy pages here’s what we want you to see. Firstly, we want you to see what you can do to help us all get closer to the health system that we envision. Our pages are, first and foremost, about making action easy.

If you need to be convinced that the action that we’re encouraging is the right action or the necessary action, we want the support for that action to be close at hand. That begins with a scorecard. That scorecard is currently under construction as data sources struggle with data collection through the pandemic. When complete, however, RNAO’s scorecard – to appear on our policy landing page – will assign a grade to the performance of our health system corresponding to each of our five areas of (policy) focus or “policy buckets”: nursing policy; care delivery; social determinants of health; environmental determinants of health; and fiscal capacity.

Our scorecard will be informed – in large part but not exclusively – by dashboards containing key performance indicators corresponding to each of our five areas of policy focus. Those dashboards are nearing a state of completion though, at present, they are compromised by the COVID-related lags in data collection and publication. However, you can get a good feel for the finished product if you go here to our recently published fiscal capacity dashboard. The fiscal capacity dashboard puts Ontario spending – program spending, generally, and health, specifically - and revenues in the context of its historical trends and in the context of jurisdictions across the rest of Canada.

While the dashboards correspond to our five policy buckets, the issues we take on cut across areas of focus and are informed, inevitably, by more than a single dashboard of indicators. Our fiscal capacity dashboard tells us, in a nutshell, that the Ontario government has a revenue problem and not a spending problem. When you take a look at our nursing dashboard and see that Ontario continues to have the lowest RN per capita ratio in Canada, you can begin to see the evidence and rationale in support of RNAO’s call, year-after-year, for increasing RN and NP resources in our health system. Sadly, there is little surprise that we are short of nurses in ICU and other critical care areas, as these must all be RNs.

You can find the call for increased nursing resources in our fiscal capacity issues page.  It comes in the form of our provincial pre-budget submission. All issues for which we have ongoing advocacy, supported by policy work, will have a corresponding issues page. Visitors to our webpages will be able to identify in quick order what issues RNAO is tackling and championing, what’s keeping our board, assembly of leaders, and policy team busy and what actions members and others can take to advance these issues. At the moment, we have published six issues pages. In the very near future visitors will see new pages dealing with environmental determinants of health and anti-Black racism in the nursing profession, including the tremendous work of RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force.

We invite you to visit our new webpages. We hope it will give you a deeper understanding of RNAO’s policy work -- what we do, how much we do and why we do what we do. We hope it will inspire you to take action and join us in our ongoing efforts to shape the health system as we keep pushing toward an Ontario that provides the conditions for the health and well-being of all Ontarians.  We would love to hear your feedback – please contact Matthew Kellway <mkellway@rnao.ca>.