Statement – RNAO stands together with our Black sisters and brothers

Colleagues, on Tuesday I wrote that I can’t let go of the image of George Floyd gasping for air and pleading for his life – “I can’t breathe.” And as I said, that image evokes the immense brutality, insanity and terror brought about by anti-Black racism and all forms of systemic racism in our midst. RNAO released a statement that I am reproducing in full below. I am also encouraging our readers to take action and vocally speak this weekend, and always, against anti-Black racism and all forms of hate, discrimination, prejudice and violence.

Adapting harm reduction during a pandemic

The following is an article that a group of us co-authored, published in the Toronto Star on May 29. As we mobilize all the health care resources we can to combat COVID-19, we cannot take our eyes off the overdose crisis. The improved health and fiscal savings, which have been demonstrated through wraparound safer drug supply programs, cannot be ignored.

Ending homelessness: Will you join us to build a COVID-19 recovery for all?

Today I am appreciative to Tim Richter, President & CEO, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, for engaging us all in what promises to be a very effective campaign to end homelessness, once and for all. Tim’s message is so simple and so powerful: Yes, we want to go back to normal, but not a normal where more than a quarter of a million Canadians are homeless. Not a normal where we look the other way as vulnerable people suffer injustice and discrimination. Not a normal where so many people do not have shelter and basic needs.

Migrant agricultural workers are important members of our communities – they deserve respect and protection during the COVID-19 crisis

Today we focus on a forgotten group, one that is vital to our food chain and one that has been late in receiving policy attention in government plans: migrant agricultural workers. We are tremendously grateful to Dr. Susana Caxaj, RN, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario, and Oleksandra Budna, communications and member relations lead, Alliance for Healthier Communities, for the following article.

Supporting First Nation Communities during COVID-19

Today we spotlight the valuable work of the Chiefs of Ontario in supporting the needs of First Nations persons and communities during this pandemic to prevent and/or delay the spread of COVID-19. On behalf of RNAO, we tremendously appreciate the work of Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Carmen Jones (Director of Health) and their teams for contributing to the article that follows. RNAO joins in partnership with Ontario Chiefs in urging governments and others to immediately heed their call!

Plans for gradual re-opening of the economy

RNAO wants to stress the critical importance of engaging those plans in a responsible and cautious way. If we move to open the economy too fast we risk a second surge that would overwhelm the health care system. In such a case, not only we would lose many lives that can be saved, but also the economy would get a double hit by having to go back to a full lockdown.