Page 1

DECEMBER 2009 Vol. 9 • No. 6

In This Issue . . . E4

The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

From ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN E5 From ONA CEO Lesley Bell, RN, MBA E18 From ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN

ONA Censures Hamilton Health Sciences Features

Focus on Northern NP.............................11 New ONA Website.....................................13 How to Follow a Ministry Order...........24

Index

Member News.............................................. 6 ONA News....................................................12 OHC News....................................................17 Queen’s Park Update................................19 CFNU News..................................................19 Human Rights and Equity......................20 OFL News.....................................................22 Awards and Decisions..............................23

INSIDE:

Student Affiliation Pull-out Insert

A

t the request of registered nurses from Local 70, the ONA Board of Directors has agreed to censure Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation (HHSC) over ongoing labour relations concerns and repeated violations of the collective agreement. The censure, a rare but serious step that is taken when ONA and its members believe there is no other option to send the message that poor practices are having a negative impact on staff and patient care, was officially announced at a media conference outside of the hospital on November 17, 2009. The event was attended by ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud and other members of the ONA Board of Directors, members of Local 70, and nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital, all of whom handed continues on page 3 

Members Highly Rate ONA Services Significant improvements have been made to virtually all ONA services over the past six years, our recent membership survey shows. Through a series of questionnaires, focus groups and interviews, ONA members were asked earlier this year to rate 19 different ONA services, including retention, retire-

ment intentions, scope of practice, workload, workplace violence, health care reform, and union operations. “Members have been rating ONA’s performance on 18 of these services since the 1999 research project, and eight of them since the continues on page 3  first project in 1995,”


How to contact

your 2009 ONA Board of Directors Call ONA toll-free at 1-800-387-5580 (press 0) or (416) 964-1979 in Toronto and follow the operator’s prompts to access board members’

DECEMBER 2009 Vol. 9 • No. 6

Communications and Government Relations Intake at cgrintake@ona.org.

members in the Toronto office are listed below.

Contributors: Sheree Bond, Brooke Burns, Nancy Johnson, Ken Marciniec, David Nicholson, Jo Anne Shannon, Lawrence Walter.

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

Vicki McKenna, RN

Features Editor: Melanie Levenson Send submissions to:

voice-mail. Voice-mail numbers (VM) for Board

President, VM #2254 Communications & Public Relations

Editor: Ruth Featherstone

The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

First VP, VM #2314 Political Action & Professional Issues

ONA Provincial Office 85 Grenville St., Ste. 400 Tel: (416) 964-8833

Fax: (416) 964-8864

Toronto ON M5S 3A2

E-mail: onamail@ona.org

Toll free: 1-800-387-5580

ONA is the union representing 55,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry. Copyright © 2009 Ontario Nurses’ Association

Diane Parker, RN

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced

VP Region 1, VM #7710 Occupational Health & Safety

or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Anne Clark, RN

ISSN: 0834-9088

VP Region 2, VM #7758 Labour Relations

Design: Artifact graphic design Printed by union labour: Thistle Printing Limited

ON OUR COVER: ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud (right) looks on as Local 70 Bargaining Unit President Pat MacDonald Andy Summers, RN

VP Region 3, VM #7754 Human Rights & Equity

announcement of the censure on November 17, 2009 outside of the hospital grounds.

ONA Regional Offices

Dianne Leclair, RN

E Hamilton

E Orillia

E Thunder Bay

VP Region 4, VM #7752 Finance

2 King St., W., 2nd Floor Rear Dundas, ON L9H 6Z1 Tel: (905) 628-0850 Fax: (905) 628-2557 E Kingston 4 Cataraqui St., Ste. 306 Kingston ON K7K 1Z7 Tel: (613) 545-1110 Fax: (613) 531-9043 E London 750 Baseline Rd. E. Ste. 204 London ON N6C 2R5 Tel: (519) 438-2153 Fax: (519) 433-2050

210 Memorial Ave., Unit 126A Orillia ON L3V 7V1 Tel: (705) 327-0404 Fax: (705) 327-0511 E Ottawa 1400 Clyde Ave., Ste. 211 Nepean ON K2G 3J2 Tel: (613) 226-3733 Fax: (613) 723-0947 E Sudbury 764 Notre Dame Ave., Unit 3 Sudbury ON P3A 2T4 Tel: (705) 560-2610 Fax: (705) 560-1411

Karen Bertrand, RN

VP Region 5, VM #7702 Education

www.ona.org

Lesley Bell, RN, MBA

Chief Executive Officer, VM #2255

2

addresses members, supporters and the media on the serious issues at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, which led to the

DECEMBER 2009

#300, Woodgate Centre, 1139 Alloy Dr. Thunder Bay ON P7B 6M8 Tel: (807) 344-9115 Fax: (807) 344-8850 E Timmins Canadian Mental Health Association Building 330 Second Ave, Ste. 203 Timmins ON P4N 8A4 Tel: (705) 264-2294 Fax: (705) 268-4355 E Windsor 3155 Howard Ave., Ste. 220 Windsor ON N8X 3Y9 Tel: (519) 966-6350 Fax: (519) 972-0814


Up Front  continues from cover

 continues from cover

out flyers to the public, District Labour Council members, community supporters and several media outlets. “The 2,600 registered nurses at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation have expressed grave concerns about the deterioration in ONA Region 4 Vice-President labour relations and the im- Dianne Leclair hands out a flypact this has had on their er to a passerby and discusses work environment,” ONA the serious issues that led President Linda Haslam- to the censure of Hamilton Stroud said. “These nurses Health Sciences Corporation believe they are working in a following a media conference toxic environment that is in- outside of the facility on Noterfering with their ability to vember 17, 2009. focus on patient care.” Relations between HHSC and ONA’s registered nurses have been declining for more than five years and efforts to resolve issues with the CEO and senior management team have failed. Among the major issues are: the continued disrespectful treatment of disabled and ill registered nurses by a firm contracted by HHSC, despite arbitration awards finding fault and mismanagement of nurses’ files (see pg. 6); repeated challenges to past practices and well-established interpretations of the collective agreement; a decline in responsiveness and information-sharing with the nurses’ representative at Joint Health and Safety Committee meetings; a trend to deny information to ONA labour relations officers and send grievances to arbitration; and repeated violations of the collective agreement. “We hope that relations with Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation haven’t deteriorated to the point where the situation is irreparable,” said Local 70 Bargaining Unit President Pat MacDonald, adding that the nurses did not make the decision to censure either lightly or without a lot of consideration. “Our registered nurses are determined to do whatever it takes to improve the relationship, but we need management to work with us and be part of the solution. We hope that censuring HHSC impresses on the organization that this is an extremely serious situation that has to be rectified.” Only one other facility in the province – Niagara Health System – is censured by ONA.

said Mark Nuttall, co-chair of Cultural Research, the company that oversees the survey. “The result is a real understanding of membership views and priorities, not just a simple snapshot of the moment. ONA will be able to use this information to help inform and guide decisions and strategies over the next few years. “We’ve seen significant improvement across the board since the last project in 2003,” he said, adding that “while challenges remain, this is one of the best results of any union we have studied over the past decade.” Communications, both within the union and with external groups such as the public and government, have seen the highest increases. Members also rate ONA’s performance in collective bargaining and in advocating for the role of the nurse in the health care system as particularly high. Over the years, members have identified the services and areas most in need of improvement through the research, and ONA has responded by taking these priorities and recommendations and trying to implement them. “By recognizing the needs of members, ONA has been able to improve performance across a range of areas,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “We have the data to be confident that our union is stronger and more united than ever before. I’d like to thank all ONA members who provided us with this invaluable information.”

ONA Censures HHSC

Members Highly Rate ONA Services

How Members Rated Five ONA Service Areas Service Areas

2009

Keeping Members Informed

88.5%

about Health Care Issues

84.0%

Keeping Members Informed

86.7%

about Union Issues

81.0%

Lobbying Government,

85.5%

Employers and Other Groups

80.7%

Advocating for the Role of the

81.2%

Nurse in the Health Care System

75.6%

2003

80.7%

Handling of Grievances

76.1%

%

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

DECEMBER 2009

70

3

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From ONA President Présidente, AIIO

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

Disseminating H1N1 Fact from Fiction La diffusion d’information sur le virus s the H1N1 virus continues to steamroll through our province, H1N1 – Distinguer le vrai du faux

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we are increasingly concerned about conflicting scientific reports and studies, and inaccurate information that is only serving to confuse and alarm our members. For example, some medical officers of health are now telling our public health nurses they do not require protective equipment during the pandemic – a direct contrast to what the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has said all along! It’s no wonder there has been inconsistent public health implementation of the Ministry’s pandemic plan. Even with these challenges, our public health nurses continue to do an incredible job. While nurses faced threats during the SARS pandemic as much from the confusion, lack of knowledge and communication among government, employers and public officials as the virus itself, I can assure you that ONA is sifting through all the information about H1N1 and providing you with the facts. Our Pandemic Steering Committee meets frequently and participates in MOHLTC teleconferences. They provide regular, reliable and accurate updates on our website, which include specific direction for public health nurses and a question and answer document that all members should read. Along with that, you will also find links to MOHLTC health advisories. When it comes to this virus, knowledge really is power. We know that you continue to face other H1N1 challenges as well, including supply and fit-testing of respirators, employer resistance to personal protective equipment and vaccine safety/mandatory vaccinations. Let us know if you have concerns on the frontlines, so we can ensure your employers live up to their health and safety obligations. We also believe that cuts hospitals made to nursing positions and hours – more than 1,200 positions in the past six months alone – are coming back to haunt them as there are simply no extra critical care nurses to care for additional H1N1 patients. We have been warning about the nursing shortage for years and lobbying against hospitals balancing their budgets on the backs of registered nurses, but the government has not proactively addressed those concerns. They must use all possible additional resources now before decisions have to be made about who is in the most need to be admitted to an ICU. Thank you for your continued dedication to your patients/clients/ residents despite these trying times. I wish you a happy – and healthy – holiday season.

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DECEMBER 2009

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andis que le virus H1N1 continue de se propager irrésistiblement dans notre province, nous entretenons des préoccupations grandissantes face à certaines études et à certains rapports scientifiques contradictoires, ainsi qu’à une information inexacte qui ne sert qu’à semer la confusion et la crainte parmi nos membres. À titre d’exemple, certains médecins hygiénistes en chef affirment maintenant à nos infirmières et infirmiers de la santé publique qu’ils n’ont pas besoin d’équipement de protection pendant la pandémie, affirmation qui s’oppose directement aux propos que le ministère de la Santé et des Soins de longue durée (MSSLD) tient depuis le début! Il ne faut pas s’étonner que l’instauration du plan de lutte contre la pandémie du ministère ait subi des incohérences dans le domaine de la santé publique. Malgré ces difficultés, nos infirmières et infirmiers de la santé publique continuent d’accomplir un travail extraordinaire. Bien que les infirmières et infirmiers aient affronté des menaces lors de la pandémie de SRAS, qui provenaient autant de la confusion, de l’absence d’information et de communication entre le gouvernement, les employeurs et les fonctionnaires que du virus en soi, je peux vous assurer que l’AIIO passe au crible toute l’information sur le virus H1N1 et qu’elle vous met au fait. Les membres de notre comité directeur sur la pandémie se réunissent fréquemment et prennent part aux téléconférences du MSSLD. Ils actualisent régulièrement leur information diffusée sur notre site Web, qui se veut exacte et fiable. Dans le cas d’un virus aussi virulent, savoir, c’est vraiment pouvoir. Des hôpitaux ont réduit le nombre de postes et d’heures de travail dans le secteur des soins infirmiers, en éliminant plus de 1 200 postes au cours des six derniers mois seulement. Nous croyons également que ces compressions reviendront maintenant les hanter, car on ne trouve tout simplement plus d’infirmières et d’infirmiers spécialisés en soins intensifs pour intervenir auprès de nouveaux patients infectés par le virus H1N1. Depuis des années, nous lançons des avertissements sur la pénurie de personnel infirmier, et nous exerçons des pressions auprès des hôpitaux qui équilibrent leur budget au détriment des infirmières et infirmiers autorisés, mais le gouvernement ne s’est jamais montré proactif en donnant suite à nos préoccupations. Ils doivent pourtant exploiter toutes les ressources additionnelles possibles dès maintenant.


From ONA Chief Executive Officer Directrice générale, AIIO

Lesley Bell, RN, MBA

Your Opinion Really Does Matter!

Votre opinion compte vraiment!

NA exists to improve the professional lives of our members so you can provide quality care to your patients/clients/residents. And while we believe the services we offer for your monthly dues are far superior to those of other unions and organizations, what matters most is what you think. With that in mind, ONA recently conducted another survey of all members. Dubbed “membership research,” these surveys help us plan, budget and prioritize service provision, and go hand and hand with our smaller one-off surveys, such as evaluations handed out at education sessions. They tell us what we are doing well, where we have made improvements and what we could do better. We make adjustments based on these results because if we don’t remain relevant to you, we will cease to operate. It’s just that simple. Let me give you recent examples. You told us that professional practice issues are a key concern, and so we expanded our professional responsibility workload forms into the community and public health and hired additional staff in this area. We are redesigning our website to provide more of the information you told us you need in a user-friendly format. You asked for additional education in areas such as contract interpretation, and we revised and added courses to our core curriculum as a result. So to those of you who say that what you think doesn’t matter, I can assure you that it does. And I hope the next time we ask for your feedback – whether it be in the form of meeting evaluations, yearly surveys in Front Lines/Annual Report, or our large-scale membership research project – you will take some time to fill them out. It really will make a difference to your union – and to you. All the best for the year ahead.

’existence de l’AIIO vise l’amélioration de la vie professionnelle de nos membres. Ainsi, vous pouvez prodiguer des soins de qualité à vos patients, à vos clients et à vos résidents. À notre avis, les services que nous vous offrons en contrepartie de vos cotisations mensuelles sont nettement supérieurs à ceux proposés par les autres syndicats et associations. Ce qui nous importe le plus, pourtant, c’est bien votre opinion. Compte tenu de ces éléments, l’AIIO a mené récemment un nouveau sondage auprès de tous les membres. Surnommés « recherche sur les membres », ces sondages nous aident à planifier, à budgétiser et à prioriser la prestation des services. Ils vont de pair avec nos sondages uniques plus brefs, dont les formulaires d’évaluation qui vous sont remis au cours des séances de formation. Ils nous informent des domaines où nous faisons preuve d’efficacité, des aspects que nous avons améliorés ainsi que des améliorations que nous pourrions apporter. Nous avons réalisé des ajustements en fonction de ces résultats, car si nous ne vous sommes plus utiles, nous cesserons d’exercer nos activités, tout simplement. Permettez‑moi de vous donner quelques exemples récents à ce sujet. Vous nous avez affirmé que les enjeux concernant l’exercice de la profession constituaient pour vous une préoccupation fondamentale. Nous avons donc étendu nos formulaires sur la responsabilité professionnelle et la charge de travail à la santé publique et communautaire, puis nous avons embauché du personnel supplémentaire dans ce secteur. À l’heure actuelle, nous restructurons notre site Web, pour vous fournir davantage l’information dont vous avez besoin, comme vous nous l’avez précisé, dans un format convivial. Vous avez demandé d’enrichir la formation sur des domaines comme l’interprétation des contrats. Par conséquent, nous avons révisé et ajouté des cours à notre programme de base. À tous ceux et celles qui affirment que leur opinion ne compte pas, je peux vous assurer le contraire. La prochaine fois que nous vous demanderons votre rétroaction, par l’intermédiaire des formulaires d’évaluation des réunions, des sondages annuels joints à la publication Front Lines et au rapport annuel, ou de notre projet de recherche à grande échelle sur les membres, j’espère également que vous prendrez le temps de nous la transmettre. Elle contribuera vraiment à faire évoluer la situation de votre syndicat – et la vôtre. Mes meilleurs vœux pour l’année qui s’annonce.

O

And while we believe the services we offer for your monthly dues are far superior to those of other unions and organizations, what matters most is what you think.

L

DECEMBER 2009

5


ONA Members Across Ontario Public Health

Public Health Nurses Narrowly Avert Strikes ONA public health members at three units have reached settlements just days before their strike deadlines and in the midst of pandemic preparations. Members at Local 35, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, voted 87 per cent in favour of a new contract reached during mediation on September 28, 2009. The 43 nurses had been without a contract since December 31, 2008, and were in a legal strike position as of October 1, 2009. The three-year contract provides a 5.75 per cent wage increase. Public health nurses with the Haldimand Norfolk Public Health Unit, Local 7, also ratified a mediated settlement, which includes increases to wages, on October 26, 2009. The 31 nurses had been without a contract since March 31, 2009 and would have been in a legal strike position on October 29, 2009. On December 3, 2009, a settlement was reached during mediation for 118 public health nurses at the Sudbury and District Health Unit, Local 2. The nurses, who had been working without a contract since April, would have been in a legal strike position on December 4, 2009. The three-year deal includes increases to wages. “Public health nurses play a pivotal role in illness prevention and educating the public on how to protect themselves from the spread of infectious diseases,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “Throughout negotiations, our nurses kept in mind their responsibil-

CCACs

Down to the Wire! The final hours of conciliation of the North East Community Care Access Centre (NECCAC), Local 12, were boosted by the arrival of ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud on October 30, 2009 in Sudbury. After several days of negotiations throughout 2009, the NECCAC reached a settlement during conciliation, which was overwhelmingly ratified in mid-November. Members of the NECCAC Negotiating Team are (left to right): Kathi Rankin (Sault Ste. Marie rep), Donna Haley (Timmins rep), Haslam-Stroud (Provincial President), Christine Campbell (North Bay rep), Louise McNeil (Sudbury rep and Bargaining Unit President), Tricia Lafrance (Kirkland Lake rep). Not pictured are ONA Labour Relations Officers Pat Carr and Angele Caporicci. “Our group really enjoyed the help and support (of Haslam-Stroud) down to the final hours of conciliation,” Lafrance said.

ity to the community in light of the H1N1 outbreak.”

Key Arbitration Award

Award Important Victory for Nurses who Become Ill ONA has won yet another important atten-

Two grievances were filed by the nurse,

hospital was aware of Cowan’s malicious and

dance management arbitration decision after

who went on sick leave in October 2005 and

unsupported accusations and…was content

a finding against the employer of “bad-faith

had been cleared to return to her regular

to ride along with (its) behaviour. In the very

behaviour” and “reckless” management in the

nursing duties a month later by her family

least, Cowan demonstrated time and time

case of a member who tried to return to work

physician. However, acting on the advice of

again to the hospital that it was unfit to per-

following an illness.

third-party attendance management consul-

form the task contracted to it, and the hos-

In the award, released on October 14,

tant Cowan Wright Beauchamp, contracted

pital was reckless in continuing that retainer.”

2009, Arbitrator Daniel Harris found the nurse

by the hospital to manage short-term disabil-

This award is one of a number of success-

is entitled to damages because of her “un-

ity claims and assess its return to work pro-

ful arbitrations for ONA on attendance man-

necessary suffering” due to Hamilton Health

grams, HHSC refused her return to work for at

agement against HHSC, which continues to

Sciences Corporation’s (HHSC) “maliciously

least an additional seven months.

use Cowan despite ongoing concerns about

thwarting” of her return to work. If the parties

Arbitrator Harris allowed both grievances,

the way they’ve been dealing with ONA nurs-

cannot agree on damages, they will be deter-

finding Cowan’s medical director acted with

es and the hefty price tag of litigation. ONA

mined at a later date.

“ill will and acrimony” and stating that “the

has since censured HHSC (see cover story).

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DECEMBER 2009


Emerging Leader Sings Praises of ONA Program

Participants in ONA’s second Leadership Development Program are (back row, left to right): Erica White-Ryan (mentor), Nadine Novak (mentor), Cyndra McGoldrick (mentor), Tracey Gutierrez, Kimberley West, Brenda Senger (mentor), Ingrid Vander Kloet, Lady Jane Bobie-Ansah, Lizza Fernando-Ogden, Carrie McCallum, Priscilla Marcellais (mentor), Karen Accettola, Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers. First row (left to right): Donna Lee Anglin, Barbara Porter (mentor), Marcia Robinson (mentor), Lorraine Powers, Carol Buchanan (mentor), Eleanor Adarna, Mireille Probst (mentor).

For one new Bargaining Unit President, ONA’s

who works at Guelph General Hospital. “I

follow-up, which includes creating an action

Leadership Development Program (LDP) has

thought a leadership program would help

plan and applying her key learnings to devel-

not only provided an opportunity for her to

me build on previous workshops that I have

oping herself as a leader.

grow in her challenging role, but to learn and

taken with ONA. I went into it with a very

“The Leadership Development Program

be inspired by fellow members with similar

open mind. The content of the program is

is an opportunity to learn about yourself and

goals.

primarily about reaching out to leadership in

inspire a change for the positive,” she said.

diversity, but the information provided is the

“Thank you, ONA, for the opportunity to meet

building blocks to succeed in leadership.”

other future leaders from all backgrounds and

Through a series of classroom teachings and independent learning, the LDP is designed to enhance the leadership skills of

Accettola, who appreciated the help of

equity groups whom I can call on anytime –

women from ONA’s designated groups who

the mentors and hopes to return as one in the

and for empowering the participants to con-

have traditionally been underrepresented in

future, is now working on her post-program

tinue on a path towards leadership.”

leadership roles. The program was first held in 2007 and was such a success, a decision was made to continue it in the fall of 2009, with 10 new participants and 10 additional members serving as mentors. One such participant, Local 25 Bargaining Unit President Karen Accettola, decided to fill

Allied Health Professionals

Happy MRT(T) Week! ONA’s Medical Radiation Technologists-Radiation Therapists (MRT(T)) have joined with their colleagues in cancer treatment across Canada to celebrate national MRT(T) Week.

out an Expression of Interest form for the pro-

Much like Nursing Week celebrated each May, MRT(T) Week, which was held from No-

gram earlier this year because her Local Coor-

vember 8-14 this year, is set aside to laud the contributions of these highly skilled health care

dinator was a participant in the first program

professionals, who provide hands-on diagnostics, therapy and technology to ensure quality

and couldn’t say enough about it.

cancer care for all Canadians. They make an enormous difference to patients in hospitals and

“I am a Bargaining Unit President in my first year with very little experience, so I jumped at the opportunity,” said Accettola,

clinics and play an important role in the promotion of medical radiation safety for patients. ONA is proud of our many MRT(T) members, who are a component of our allied health group, and celebrated along with them during their special recognition.

DECEMBER 2009

7


ONA Members Across Ontario Our Members Write…

The following letter to the editor by an ONA public health nurse was published in the Windsor Star on November 19, 2009 in response to comments made by Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj that hospitals need an immediate wage and benefits freeze of their health care workers. While I can understand (Musyj’s) argument and position trying to “balance the budget” at Windsor Regional Hospital, in my opinion, his approach is inequitable and demoralizing to his nursing staff. He quotes the average nurse’s salary as $76,195, yet fails to mention his salary was quoted in the “Sunshine List” as $210,186 (and that was his wage before he took on the top job at Windsor Regional Hospital). What is his current salary? Do those top CEO spots really deserve 176 per cent more than front-line nursing staff? Maybe there should be a cap as to what hospital administrators are paid across the province. The nurses working at Windsor Regional Hospital care for our families 247. They monitor and report vital information to doctors 24-7. They work all shifts, put themselves and their families at risk for getting infections, such as SARS and H1N1, and administer medication that could kill you if they didn’t have their education. I am appalled this is the way that Mr. Musyj has decided to thank them. I believe that if Mr. Musyj really wants to “balance the budget,” he can start at the top and drastically reduce top administrators’ wages at the hospital. Better yet, I believe Mr. Musyj should earn his pay and advocate for more funding to pay his staff on the frontlines the wages and benefits they deserve. If you are going to advocate for provincial legislation changes to arbitration, that’s fair. When you publish your nurses’ annual wages and suggest they don’t deserve their wages, I say shame on you, Mr. Musyj. You not only demoralized your nursing staff publicly, but to the public, you have come off as a hypocritical bureaucrat. Dana Boyd - Local 8, Windsor Essex County Health Unit

Highlighting Violence at Safety Fair ONA members from Local 134, Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, including Grievance Officers Shellie Houle and Jacky Leary, highlighted the problem of horizontal violence (between peers) at the hospital’s Safety Fair on November 2, 2009, while handing out ONA promotional items and our “Violence in the Workplace Guide.” Leary reports that the turnout was good, “everyone loved the materials from ONA, and the booklets were a huge success.” During the fair, Houle and Leary also volunteered to help deliver H1N1 vaccines at the staff clinic. Approximately 220 staff were vaccinated in three hours.

Engaging Local Leaders At the June Provincial Coordinators Meeting, we asked Local Coordinators to explain to us how they engage their Local leaders, particularly to attend ONA meetings. The following is the story of Local 15 Coordinator Muriel Vandepol. “I have a great group of executive members and the spark of one with great Nursing Week plans ignited energy around the table, where practically everyone started to

In response to a letter to the editor by ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud on the same topic, the following letter was sent to ONA. Thank you for your quick response to David Musyj’s letter to the editor posted in the Windsor Star. I found it firm and to the point. I am a registered nurse in the ED at Windsor Regional Hospital. I was disappointed in his remarks also. With our ED visits up 25 per cent and the demands on the nurses to meet benchmarks, I don’t know how he could target front-line workers. Nurses are well aware of the economic downturn; some have taken on full-time positions to support their families as their spouses have lost their jobs. I have been a critical care nurse for 25 years, my back is weary, but we are that backbone of the system. Brenda Wood - Local 11

8

DECEMBER 2009

share ideas on how they would celebrate the week. “I encourage my executive to attend Area Coordinators Conferences (ACC) and Provincial Coordinators Meetings (PCM) with me. We have interest in the May occupational health and safety education and there is always interest in the Biennial Convention, for which the executive will use a portion of our education budget to attend. We usually have good representation for the Biennial. “I make standing items on every executive meeting agenda to discuss the previous ACC and PCM and we usually have a great dialogue. I believe this gives both some education and connection to these meetings for everyone on the executive.”


Getting Down to Business With the November Provincial Coordinators Meeting just around the corner and

So what is our “Scope of Practice?”

continued challenges with issues such as the H1N1 virus, nursing layoffs and reductions

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has

in hours, and occupational health and safety, this fall’s Area Coordinators Conferences

provided a response to a member’s query

(ACC) in all five regions were indeed busy ones. Pictured here are Local leaders from

that is important because it confirms in

Region 1 (left photo) and Region 3 (right photo), who held their ACCs at ONA’s provincial

writing its stand on a specific concern

office in early October 2009. ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud and CEO Lesley Bell

about the scope of practice for registered

also attended a portion of the meetings to hear from the Local leaders firsthand, discuss

nurses and registered practical nurses.

the 2010 ONA budget and share their insights.

A registered nurse recently sent a question in writing to a Practice Liaison Officer

Landmark EI Decision Helps Parents of Multiples

at the CNO regarding the role of registered practical nurses in caring for sedated patients. The concern was related to an en-

The Employment Insurance Board of Referees has released a groundbreaking decision that

doscopy recovery area where the all-RN

could extend benefits for parents of multi-birth children.

skill mix was recently changed, resulting

The decision acknowledges that both parents in multiple birth families experience an in-

in staffing levels where one RN works with

terruption of earnings and, therefore, can both receive up to 35 weeks of employment insur-

two RPNs. The scenario described to the

ance (EI) parental leave coverage. Previously, parents of multiples could at most split one 35-

officer was that the RN would not always

week parental leave claim.

be physically present in the department,

The board allowed Christian Martin to claim 35 weeks of parental benefits for one newborn

but would be “nearby for consultation.”

daughter after the baby’s mother, Paula Critchley, had already made a successful claim for 35

The officer responded, “(The CNO) has

weeks for the other child. His claim had previously been denied on the basis that the Employ-

been very clear over the years that it is out-

ment Insurance Act only recognized one 35-week parental leave claim resulting from a “single

side the scope of an RPN to monitor a se-

pregnancy” irrespective of whether there are multiple children for whom each parent could

dated patient. Therefore, it is inappropriate

make a claim. He appealed the decision. In allowing Martin’s appeal, the board recognized the

to have an RPN left alone in your recovery

enormous challenges involved in caring for two newborns.

room. In fact, we have said in the past that

Where three or more children are born, both parents will still be limited to personal maxi-

the RPN should not be part of the recovery

mums of 35 weeks of parental leave benefits. And, as the Act is an insurance scheme, only

team given the restrictions around seda-

eligible claimants will be allowed to make a claim (people who have worked the requisite

tion. It is more appropriate for the RPN to

hours before the birth). Despite those limitations, for parents of multiples, the ability to have

care for the client prior to the procedure.”

both parents at home for up to 35 weeks to juggle the significant demands of twins, triplets or more, represents a truly meaningful step forward for parental leave policy in Canada. If you are in this position, ONA advises you to make an EI claim and forward any questions to your local EI office.

We advise members to continue to send specific questions to the CNO via email or regular mail and let us know what that reply is.

DECEMBER 2009

9


ONA Members Across Ontario Former Leader “Shares” Award with ONA

A former Local Coordinator, patient advocate and community activist has won a prestigious award from the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) for her tireless work in trying to save her local hospital – and believes ONA played a big part. On October 23, 2009, former Local 35 Coordinator Shirley Roebuck (pic-

Region 2 Vice-President Anne Clark (in red jacket) joins with members of Local 74, following a town hall meeting on October 1, 2009 to discuss planned cuts at the Brockville Mental Health Centre.

tured) received the OHC’s Daniel Benedict Award, which is given annually to the person or persons who, in conjunction with their local health coalition, best embody

Hospitals

tivism and commitment to the protection

Brockville Members Decry Cuts

and extension of public medicare.

the spirit of extraordinary community ac-

Local 74 members have joined Region 2 Vice-

ate supports are not in place for the patients

Roebuck and Local 35 members have

President Anne Clark at a town hall meeting

of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, some

been instrumental in their community’s

to bring attention to the Royal Ottawa Hos-

of whom have been receiving care for many

Save our Sydenham campaign after a Feb-

pital’s plan to close mental health beds and

years at a place they consider to be their

ruary 2009 report by a consulting firm

services in Brockville by March 2011.

home and will be very difficult to transition

retained by the Local Health Integration

As part of the recovery plan to balance

Network recommended the closure of the

the Royal Ottawa Health Care group’s bud-

“We have patients being forced out of the

emergency department of the Sydenham

get, transitional care units at the Brockville

home and community,” Clark told the crowd.

campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alli-

Mental Health Centre will be closed and pa-

“We have beds but not patients being trans-

ance. (See Front Lines, April 2009, pg. 7.)

tients transferred to group homes and nurs-

ferred, and the status and the funding model

into the community.

“I was very surprised and excited to

ing homes in the community, and psychiatric

of the beds being changed. We have a hos-

be honoured by the Ontario Health Co-

patients at Elmgrove Acute Care Services will

pital that is supposed to accept services and

alition in this way,” said Roebuck. “I share

be transferred to Brockville General Hospi-

patients without having an approved plan or

this award with my fellow nurses, with the

tal. The changes will affect approximately 24

funding. We have nurses being significantly

Save our Sydenham Committee in Wallace-

nursing positions, removing almost 50,000

impacted by changes being made without in-

burg, and with the Ontario Nurses’ Asso-

hours of dedicated and specialized care from

put from the community. I don’t know about

ciation, which provided me with the tools

the community.

you, but to me this is no way to treat patients

to effect change through political action.”

At the town hall meeting on October 1,

Congratulations, Shirley, on this very

2009, which drew hundreds of supporters,

deserving award!

10

DECEMBER 2009

Clark expressed ONA’s concern that appropri-

or their nurses and certainly no way to design a health care system for the community.”


Focus on…Brenda Goodman, Northern NP Practising in a small northern Ontario town is more than just a dream job for one ONA nurse practitioner – it’s about giving back to the community where she was born and raised. Local 14’s Brenda Goodman is the sole nurse at the Beardmore Regional Health Centre, approximately 85 kilometres north of Nipigon. The clinic, which also employs a full-time secretary, delivers primary health care to its catchment area of several hundred and is an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital. It is under the management of the Nipigon District Memorial Hospital. After graduating from high school in the 1980s, Goodman lived in Ottawa for four years while pursuing a nursing diploma at Heritage College, across the river in Hull, Quebec. Following her studies, she returned to her hometown. “My goal was always to come back home to my own community and be a nurse,” said Goodman, who worked for 16 years at Geraldton

My goal was always to come back home to my own community and be a nurse. Brenda Goodman - Beardmore Regional Health Centre

District Hospital, 80 kilometres northeast of Beardmore. “I always knew the clinic was a nursing station and I had worked casual relief there since 1992, filling in whenever they needed me. I knew the nurse on staff would be retiring in the future and I could apply for that position.” With that goal in mind, Goodman obtained her nursing degree through distant education from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, and just last year became a nurse practitioner. In October 2007, she began working at the clinic, and if she hadn’t, the position might not have been filled – and certainly not as quickly. Working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. four days a week in the fully equipped clinic, Goodman’s tasks include assessing patients; ordering and dispensing medications; monitoring routine care of well babies and the immunization schedule; conducting well-woman exams; providing health education; stabilizing and escorting patients in ambulances; and collecting, preparing and arranging for the transportation of lab specimens. And just recently, she gave out 195 H1N1 flu vaccines in just two days on her own. She is also on-call after hours and on weekends for emergencies, and will conduct home visits for urgent care, especially in the case of a child. Goodman works in conjunction with other multidisciplinary services, including nutrition, community care access, public health and mental health. Once a week, Dr. Michael Wilson from Nipigon District Memorial Hospital visits the clinic to see patients, conduct follow ups and discuss any issues and concerns Goodman has. At any time, she is also able to contact the doctors at that hospital for support. “I like being able to give back to my community,” she said. “If not Goodman with Local 14 Coordinator Judy Wright (left) and Beardmore Regional Health Centre Secretary Martine Rutherford (right).

for this clinic, residents would have to drive an hour away for health care, sometimes in heavy snow. My role as a nurse practitioner is continuing to evolve, and this is still new to the community. But I have not met with any resistance. In fact, residents are very receptive and are learning about how much I can do.”

DECEMBER 2009

11


ONA News

November PCM – Solidarity Across Ontario!

ONA leaders and members flocked to down-

Wayne Samuelson, a staple at our provin-

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb

town Toronto on November 11-12, 2009 for

cial meetings, joined us for the last time as

Matthews was slated to take part in a meet-

the Provincial Coordinators Meeting (PCM),

Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President,

and-greet and address ONA delegates, but

an opportunity to discuss key union business,

as he and OFL Secretary-Treasurer Irene Harris,

was unable to attend due to illness.

listen to guest speakers and network with col-

who also spoke, did not seek re-election. Other

The week kicked off with our annual hu-

leagues.

speakers included CUPE Ontario President Sid

man rights and equity caucus, focusing on

Delegates listened to reports on gover-

Ryan, who ran for OFL President; Marie Kelly

the topic of harassment, and ended with an

nance and operations, and were provided

from the Steelworkers Union, who sought the

informative education session on hot trends in

with updates on bargaining in all sectors,

position of OFL Secretary-Treasurer (both were

nursing research.

H1N1, organizing, the ONA budget, and our

subsequently acclaimed; see pg. 22); Canadian

Cutting Nurses, Cutting Care campaign, which

Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda

Full highlights of the meeting are available on

continues this fall with letters to the editor and

Silas; and Canadian Nursing Students’ Associa-

the members’ section of the ONA website at

meetings with government officials. They also

tion Ontario Regional Director Branden Shep-

www.ona.org. The March PCM will be held at To-

participated in a special Remembrance Day

itka, who discussed student challenges and

ronto’s Delta Chelsea Hotel on March 2-3, 2010,

ceremony in the hotel lobby.

thanked ONA for our ongoing support. New

followed by an education session on March 4.

12

DECEMBER 2009


ONA to Launch New and Improved Website!

In January 2010, ONA will unveil our new website, which will be easier to navigate and contain added features, such as a video section and additional sector-specific information. In this issue of Front Lines, we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at the new and improved features of the website, which were based on membership feedback. We hope you will visit www.ona.org in the New Year – and come back often!

The new website has a more exciting, vibrant and modern look

There is an increased use of eye-catching and rotating images

Sector-specific news is accessible on the homepage; no more logging on!

Hot off the press news items you need to know are front and centre

ONA videos can now be viewed from our website

President’s Message is now right on the homepage

In keeping with the times, ONA is now part of the Facebook social networking community

DECEMBER 2009

13


ONA News Long-Term Care Supreme Court Ruling Prevents “Dalton Days,” ONA Disappointed with Second Set of LTC Draft Regulations ONA Says ONA will publicly fight any attempt by the provincial government to force unpaid leave for public sector workers, including nurses, and believes the law is on our side. While calling unpaid days off for government workers – so called “Dalton Days” – just a figment of the media’s imagination, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (pictured) has not specially ruled them out, stating that such workers have been “sheltered” during the recession. Instead, he said the government wants to open consultations with its unions to discuss their role in eliminating the province’s $24.7-billion deficit. However, any new measures won’t be announced until next spring’s provincial budget. This move is reminiscent of the social contract during the recession of the early 1990s when former NDP Premier Bob Rae instituted mandatory time off for government workers, known as “Rae Days.” ONA and our union allies believe a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, which determined that the collective bargaining process is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and struck down British Columbia legislation that dismantled union contracts and stripped job protection, prevents the Ontario Liberals from reopening our collective agreements. “The government knows Ontario is already facing a nursing shortage, and forcing nurses to take time off in 1993 ended up costing more because replacements had to be called in on overtime,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “The Supreme Court ruling certainly supports us on the frontlines in relation to the government opening the contract. If the government legislates unpaid days off, nurses will say loud and clear that patient care will suffer as a result.”

14

DECEMBER 2009

ONA is disappointed that the second set of draft regulations under the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007, Bill 140, still does not include staffing and care standards. Instead, the regulations include staffing plans that are a lower requirement than what currently exists, which is that there must be sufficient staffing to provide the nursing care required by residents. The 24-hour RN requirement is lower than what currently exists because agency nurses will be allowed in homes under 129 beds without the employer having to show they have been unable to recruit RNs, and RN care can be replaced by other classifications. ONA has been lobbying for a minimum standard of 3.5 hours of registered nursing care per resident per day. We are also concerned that the second set of draft regulations was released before we knew what changes had been accepted for the first set of regulations, released in June 2009. ONA prepared a submission for those regulations as well. To view our full submission on the second set of draft regulations, log onto our website at www.ona.org.


Hospitals

Change in Process for Hospitals’ Budget Approval

CNSA Students Swarm ONA Booth!

Student Affiliate Member Ontario Nurses’ Association

Ontario hospitals are now required to provide a Management Planning and Risk Report (MPRR) for 2010-11 instead of the two-year Hospital Accountability Planning Submission (HAPS). As well, under the Local Health System Integration Act, each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is required to enter into a service accountability agreement with the health service providers that it funds, includ-

Delegates at the Ontario Regional Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association just can’t get enough ONA materials! The delegates, who were meeting from October 30 to November 1, 2009 at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury, crowd the ONA booth, staffed by ONA Communications Officer Ken Marciniec (left), at the conference’s career fair. ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud and First Vice-President Vicki McKenna also attended the conference, hosted by Laurentian University, to meet with students and show them firsthand ONA’s ongoing support.

ing hospitals. A joint hospital/LHIN communiqué released in October states, “In consideration

Hospital Service Accountability Agreement is

ONA Appeals MOL Ruling in Member’s Death

being recommended for 2010-2011.”

ONA is appealing a Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspector’s decision not to issue orders

of the unprecedented and unpredictable environment currently facing LHINs and hospitals, a one-year extension of the current

As a result, a HAPS, which describes how hospitals and LHINs will work to “ensure qual-

against London Health Sciences Centre in connection with the death of a member who contracted a superbug infection last February.

ity, safe, accessible and sustainable hospital

The critical care trauma nurse from Local 100 had been caring for a patient infect-

services within the resources available,” was

ed with the superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), who later

not required for November 2009. Instead,

passed away. The nurse subsequently became ill and died six days later from complica-

hospitals will be required to provide LHINs

tions; MRSA was deemed a contributing factor. While ONA believes there were several

with a MPRR for 2010-11 in December 2009.

serious gaps in the system, including patient screening procedures, staff training, de-

LHINs are asking hospitals to provide plan-

fective equipment and risk assessment, the MOL inspector issued no orders against the

ning scenarios based on 0 per cent, 1 per cent

hospital, nor made any recommendations to improve hospital policies or procedures.

and 2 per cent funding allocations.

“The seriousness of this incident and the need for hospitals to do a better job of

ONA is concerned that the MPRR doesn’t

infection control cannot be ignored,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “We

have to be approved by a hospital’s Board

know from past experiences that nurses are seriously impacted by infectious disease

of Directors and widespread community en-

outbreaks while caring for patients, and appropriate health and safety policies are par-

gagement is not required. We continue to

ticularly vital.”

press the government for appropriate hospi-

ONA was disappointed that the Ontario Labour Relations Board adjourned our first

tal funding to prevent further cuts to nursing

day of discussions because the MOL is continuing its investigation. We are awaiting

hours.

new dates.

DECEMBER 2009

15


ONA News

News in Brief E Members of the ONA Board of Directors have attended the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) Persons Day Breakfast. This year, the breakfast, held on October 18, 2009, marked the 80th anniversary of the Persons case, when Canadian women were legally declared “persons” under the law and became eligible to be appointed to the Senate. LEAF is a national non-profit organization that promotes equality for women and girls through legal action and public education. E The Hamilton Spectator’s weekend news quiz on October 3, 2009 included a question asking “who has just been re-elected to lead the Ontario Nurses’ Association for a record fourth term?” (Answer: S at u r day, O c to b e r 3 , 2 0 0 9 Linda Haslam-Stroud!) E A moderator for a U.S.-based international list-serve for occupational medicine and related disciplines has told ONA that the pandemic planning feature contained in the August issue of Front Lines was the “best synopsis of what has and has not transpired since SARS,” and asked if he can provide a link to it on his website. The feature is available on our website at www.ona.org. E The Laurentian University School of Nursing and Trent University have been chosen for the implementation of a new nursing curriculum based on cultural safety competencies. The curriculum, which aims to improve the experience of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people in health care settings, will include all the competencies in the new Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada’s (ANAC) framework. The framework, formally launched on National Reconciliation Day on June 11, 2009, was the result of a joint partnership between the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing and the ANAC.

16

DECEMBER 2009

Recent Studies E Nine in 10 Canadians support universal health care, a Nanos Research poll shows. When asked the key weakness of the Canadian health care system, waiting times for treatment was named by 32.7 per cent, followed by a shortage of doctors, nurses and other providers at 13.8, and a lack of resources or government funding at 9.7 per cent, the survey indicates. E Health spending will hit $183-billion this year, up $10-billion from 2008, a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information predicts. Hospitals continue to account for the largest slice of Canada’s health care spending pie at $51-billion, the report states. E Young workers face the toughest job market in their lifetimes, a report released by the Community Foundations of Canada finds. Youth – including students – have been hit harder by the recession than any other age group, the study shows, revealing that July and August saw the highest levels of student unemployment on record. “The hardships facing youth and students are the untold story of the recession,” said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Facing record high tuition fees, students are especially vulnerable during these hard economic times…More students than ever before are depending on a job to get them through the year.” E Significant improvements have been made in shrinking wait times for some types of surgery and high-tech imaging, but many Ontarians still wait too long, the annual report of the Ontario Health Quality Council (OHQC) states. “Thanks to Ontario’s Wait Times Strategy, waits have been greatly shortened for cataract surgeries, hip and knee replacements and some cardiac procedures,” said OHQC Chair Lyn McLeod. “But when half of cancer patients who need urgent surgery have to wait longer than is medically acceptable, when waits for MRI scans are three to four times longer than the target, and when waits for nursing home spaces have doubled in just two years, it’s pretty clear that everyone involved in delivering health care has to take action.” For the fourth straight year, the report pointed to the lack of systemwide information technology tools, such as electronic medical records, as one of the biggest roadblocks to a more efficient system with high-quality care.


ONA2a_Apr09, 2.625x10.25_CMYK:Layout 1

Voluntary Benefits

E Canadians’ out-of-pocket health care expenses have increased at least sevenfold since 1981, the Health Council of Canada reveals. The council, created by first ministers to monitor and report on the progress of health care renewal, reports that Canadians paid $16.5-billion out of their own pockets for health care in 2007, up from $2.3-billion in 1981. The council adds that private health care represents a growing financial burden, especially for lowincome Canadians, and is calling on Ottawa and the provinces to fully implement the five-year-old National Pharmaceuticals Strategy, which it says will address issues such as catastrophic drug coverage, patient safety and pricing. E The average Canadian middle-income family would have to fund more than half its pay cheque to buy health care, education and other “free” public services now paid for with tax dollars, a new analysis from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds. Canada’s Quiet Bargaining: The Benefits of Public Spending concludes that the services are a terrific bargain yet their value is often glossed over when it comes to discussions around tax cuts.

OHC News E The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) has released its 2009-2010 Action Plan, a blueprint of the measures it plans to take over the next year to help protect and improve our public health care system for the good of all Ontarians. The plan, devised at the OHC’s Health Action Assembly-Annual Strategy Planning Meeting in October attended by several ONA members and staff, includes specific actions on inadequate hospital funding; privatization and public-private hospitals; home care; long-term care; and democracy and public accountability in hospital board elections and access to information at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Copies of the action plan were available to Local

A Benefit for Everyone, Active or Retired • Long Term Disability • Extended Health Care & Semi–Private Hospital • Dental Care • Critical Illness • Life Insurance • Accidental Death & Dismemberment • MEDOC® Travel Insurance For more information, contact the ONA Program Administrator: Johnson Inc. 1595 16th Ave., Suite 700 Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3S5 (905) 764.4959 (local) 1.800.461.4155 (toll-free)

leaders at the November Provincial Coordinators Meeting.

E OHC Director Natalie Mehra has written an opinion-editorial that calls for the government to rebuild confidence in the public health care system following the scathing report from the auditor general about the eHealth scandal. “We need new rules requiring public disclosure at the Ministry and in our health institutions; more robust oversight and appeal; real whistleblower protection; a ban on gag-clauses in employee contracts; a reinstitution of proper parliamentary processes; and the fresh air of democratic debate and meaningful public input into policy changes that affect our lives and our access to care,” she writes.

Critical Illness Survivor Plan is underwritten by Western Life Assurance Company and administered by Johnson Inc. MEDOC® is a registered trademark of Johnson Inc. MEDOC® is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada and is administered by Johnson Inc. Johnson Inc. and Royal & SunAlliance Insurance Company of Canada share common ownership. All other available benefits are underwritten by Manulife Financial and administered by Johnson Inc. Some conditions may apply. LRP.04.09

DECEMBER 2009

17

4/2


From First Vice-President

Vicki McKenna, RN

ONA’s Input Reflected in Violence Legislation Des suggestions de l’AIIO prises en compte hile we are pleased the government sought ONA’s input dans la législation sur la violence

W

and tabled a bill to address many of our concerns regarding workplace violence, we were concerned that the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, 2009 (Bill 168) didn’t go quite far enough. In our submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on November 24, 2009, we commended the Act for acknowledging the need to address “harassment” and some risks of “violence” in the workplace; domestic violence spillover into the workplace; and a worker’s right to refuse work when faced with some forms of workplace violence. However, we felt two seemingly small but fundamental flaws threatened the value of the entire Bill. In the definition of workplace violence, “the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker” was problematic because not all workplace violence is directed at a worker, as a worker can be involved in violent incidents as part of her/his duties. As well, the proposed definition of violence remained confined to the actual exercise or attempt to “exercise physical force” and ignores threatening statements and behaviours, such as stalking. As Front Lines went to press, the Bill was passed into law, with amendments in response to issues we had raised, such as all risk(s) being assessed and risk assessments being put in writing. While it doesn’t include the specific language we proposed to amend the definition of workplace violence, it covers our issues about threats and threatening statements/behaviours. So, this is definitely a step in the right direction. We will continue to work with the government and employers to ensure your workplaces are safe from violence and harassment, so you can concentrate on your job of delivering quality care to your patients/clients/residents. Our entire submission is available on the ONA website at www.ona.org.

We will continue to work to ensure your workplaces are safe from violence and harassment. 18

DECEMBER 2009

N

ous sommes heureux que le gouvernement ait demandé à l’AIIO de lui transmettre nos suggestions, et qu’il ait présenté un projet de loi qui aborde plusieurs de nos préoccupations sur la violence au travail. Cependant, nous estimons que la Loi de 2009 modifiant la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail (projet de loi 168) ne va nettement pas assez loin en ce sens. Au moment de présenter notre proposition au comité permanent de la politique sociale, le 24 novembre 2009, nous avons fait l’éloge de la Loi, qui reconnaît la nécessité d’éliminer le « harcèlement » et certains risques de « violence » au travail, de réagir aux retombées de la violence familiale au travail, et de tenir compte du droit des travailleurs de refuser l’exécution d’une tâche, s’ils font face à certaines formes de violence au travail. Cependant, deux lacunes anodines en apparence, mais pourtant fondamentales compromettent la valeur du projet de loi dans son ensemble. Dans la définition de la violence au travail, le segment «  l’emploi de la force physique contre un travailleur  » se révèle problématique. En effet, la violence au travail n’est pas dirigée systématiquement contre les travailleurs, car ils peuvent être impliqués dans des incidents de violence dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions. De plus, la définition proposée quant à la violence se limite à l’emploi réel ou à une tentative d’« emploi de la force physique », en omettant les propos et les gestes menaçants, dont le harcèlement criminel. Tout juste avant que Front Lines ne soit imprimé, le projet de loi a été adopté, comportant des modifications en réponse aux problèmes que nous avions soulevés, comme l’évaluation de tous les risques et les évaluations du risque consignés par écrit. Même si la loi n’utilise pas la terminologie que nous avions proposée pour modifier la définition de la violence au travail, elle tient compte des problèmes que nous avions soulevés à propos des menaces et des comportements menaçants ou des remarques menaçantes. Nous allons poursuivre notre travail en collaboration avec le gouvernement et les employeurs afin d’assurer que vos milieux de travail sont exempts de violence et de harcèlement pour que vous puissiez vous concentrer sur votre mission, qui est d’offrir des soins de qualité à vos patients, clients et pensionnaires. Le texte intégral de notre proposition est présenté sur le site Web de l’AIIO, à l’adresse www.ona.org.


Queen’s Park Update E Beginning in January 2010, Ontario will require all hospitals to use a surgical safety checklist, which  currently includes eight patient safety indicators. C. difficile is one indicator that hospitals began to report in September 2008. The surgical safety checklist covers the common tasks and items that operating room teams carry out, and has been shown to reduce rates of death and complications among patients. The first public reporting from hospitals will take place on July 31, 2010, covering the period April 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. E The government has released the Terms of Reference for the Rural and Northern Health Care Panel, which is charged with conducting an environmental scan of existing historical and current work underway and producing a final report to the Minister of Health. The government now says the panel is in stage one of the development of a Rural and Northern Health Care Framework. Stages two and three are broader community consultations and development of a provincial framework/plan, which will commence upon completion of the panel’s work. While there are a few very broad questions posted for feedback, ONA and the Ontario Health Coalition are calling for public consultations by the panel prior to submitting its report, not after, which will be too late for many hospitals facing cuts and closures of units. We are lobbying for a moratorium on hospital cuts and closures pending completion of the panel’s work. E Bill 175, the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009, has passed. The Bill, introduced on May 5, 2009 by the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, amends the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to comply with the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), a federal/provincial/territorial agreement that came into force in 1995. The Bill sets out a Labour Mobility Code (in Part II) that must be complied with by all Ontario regulatory authorities, including the College of Nurses of Ontario, which prohibits them from requiring individuals to reside in Ontario as a condition of certification, if the applicants reside in a province or territory that is a party to the AIT. The Code also provides that when an individual applies to an Ontario regulatory authority for an authorizing certificate for a regulated occupation, and the individual already holds an authorizing certificate for the same occupation granted by an out-of-province regulatory authority, the Ontario regulatory authority will not require the individual to have, undertake, obtain or undergo any additional training, experience, examinations or assessments as a condition of certification in Ontario.

E The Standing Committee on Social Policy amended Bill 179, Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009 on October 19, 2009. The Bill will now come back to the legislature for third reading and royal assent. Bill 179 includes changes to the scope of practice for a number of health care professionals, including nurse practitioners (NPs) and registered nurses, and changes to professional liability coverage. For example, Bill 179 provides the following changes in scope of practice: • Enables NPs to access new controlled acts (prescribing, dispensing, selling and compounding drugs in accordance with regulations; applying forms of energy; or setting or casting a fracture of a bone or dislocation of a joint). • Clarifies the authority of NPs to initiate controlled act procedures and write orders for other nurses to perform procedures (such as venipuncture). • Removes the restrictions on the types of x-rays NPs can order. • Provides for dispensing drugs for RNs and RPNs. The amended Bill is available at: www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_current.do?locale=en#bill179.

CFNU News E The Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliate unions, including the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), have distributed thousands of postcards as part of a campaign to end violence against women. The campaign, called 20 Days, 20 Ways, asked people to send 20 postcards in 20 days to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging him to keep the gun registry and containing messages asking that Canada improve the lives of women by increasing funding for shelters, investing in new social housing, setting a national standard for welfare rates, providing equal pay for work of equal value, and improving services, such as day care. The campaign is in recognition of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, 2009, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Montreal massacre when 14 women were shot and killed at École Polytechnique. CFNU President Linda Silas brought postcards for ONA leaders during the November Provincial Coordinators Meeting.

DECEMBER 2009

19


Human Rights and Equity FAQ: Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism in the Workplace ONA places a great deal of importance in the area of human rights and equity, and as such, has developed a number of tools to assist members and leaders and raise awareness about the issues our members are facing. The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, available on the ONA website in its entirety, is one such tool. Have lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people achieved equality in the workplace? In the last two decades, unions have played a key role in ensuring equal access to benefits, parental leave and other entitlements once available only to workers in heterosexual relationships. While significant legal gains have been made, we know this does not mean full dignity and equality in the workplace or society. The reality is that many lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people experience social exclusion, targeting for gossip, inappropriate questioning, unequal treatment, ridicule and harassment because of their sexual orientation.

Homophobic comments refer to homosexuality or LGBT people in disparaging ways. They can often arise when a person does not conform to narrow gender roles, i.e. when a man acts “feminine,” he may be called a “fag.” When a woman acts “masculine,” she may be referred to as a “dyke.” If someone is ridiculed because he or she is acting outside what is considered normal male or female behaviour, the homophobia is based on rigid gender roles. Therefore, to fight homophobia, we must also fight sexism. “Gay-bashing” is an expression that refers to verbal and/or physical attacks on people thought to be LGBT.

What are our responsibilities as union members? ONA believes in everyone’s right to dignity and equal treatment on the job. We are committed to making our members’ workplaces safe and respectful for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We must educate ourselves to recognize and challenge homophobic comments and behaviour. We must support and defend our LGBT members who experience discrimination or harassment and enforce their rights using employers’ workplace policies and the collective agreement.

What is heterosexism? Heterosexism is a form of oppression based on the belief that heterosexuality is the only normal and proper expression of sexuality. It is deeply rooted in the culture and institutions in our society. Most of us are taught at school, at home, through advertising or religion that the only normal sexual activity or relationships are heterosexual ones. These are powerful, pervasive messages. We are rarely taught that same sex relationships are positive and natural ways of loving and being in the world.

What is homophobia? Homophobia is the irrational fear of homosexuality and those who are attracted to members of the same sex. It ranges from dislike and avoidance, to acts of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, to hatred and acts of violence.

What is sexual orientation? Sexual orientation indicates who we are attracted to in our erotic lives. Studies commonly suggest that approximately 10 per cent of the population is gay or lesbian. It has been suggested that 15 per cent of the American population is bisexual.

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DECEMBER 2009

What is meant by transgender? A transgender person perceives themselves and identifies as belonging to a different sex and feels the need to live that way. Some “trans” people proceed with gender reassignment surgery and some do not. Many people wrongly assume that gender identity and sexual orientation are linked. Some trans people enter into same-sex relationships, while others seek opposite-sex relationships. Transgender people experience transphobia in part because they upset for others the deeply held norms of gender identity, biology and gender expression. Why LGBT “pride?” Most people grow up being taught or told to be ashamed of at least some aspect of themselves and their lives. This is especially true for LGBT people, and all those who aren’t part of the dominant culture. Throwing off this shame and learning to be proud is at the heart of pride movements. How do homophobia and heterosexism affect us in the workplace? Homophobic or heterosexist comments harm the dignity of LGBT workers by suggesting that they are lesser people. Homophobia keeps many LGBT workers invisible and “in the closet.” They choose not to disclose their sexual orientation for fear of losing the friendship and support of coworkers, being harassed and losing opportunities in the workplace. Homophobic comments like “you’re not gay to me, you’re a person” or “that’s fine as long as you don’t flaunt it” treat LGBT peo-


ple as less than whole people. “Flaunt” usually means when LGBT people do or say anything that makes people aware that they are LGBT. When LGBT people do speak about their relationships and families, they are acting courageously, refusing to be invisible and affirming themselves as whole people. What can I do as an ally? • Change homophobic or heterosexist attitudes you may hold. • Interrupt homophobic jokes and bullying in the workplace. • Use the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc. It will make LGBT workers feel less invisible and will teach others to use these words. • See and treat LGBT people as whole people. • Recognize that all of us, including LGBT people, talk about our social lives. We are not flaunting our heterosexuality. By the same token, we are not flaunting our homosexuality or bisexuality. • Avoid assumptions about a person’s sexual orientation. • Respect the privacy of LGBT people and allow them the opportunity to “come out” when they decide they are ready.

Contact your Bargaining Unit Human Rights and Equity Representative, Bargaining Unit President or your servicing Labour Relations Officer for further advice and support.

DECEMBER 2009

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OFL News

ONA Resolution Passes at OFL Convention ONA’s resolution on stopping cuts to public health programs has unanimously passed at the 2009 Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) Biennial Convention. At the convention, held in downtown Toronto from November 23-27, 2009, ONA President Linda Halsam-Stroud addressed the assembly, which included more than 20 ONA delegates, on our resolution calling for the OFL and its affiliates to mount a lobby of the government for improved funding to public health nursing programs to turn back the cuts and ensure public health nursing programs are supported to prevent disease and promote health. Other health care resolutions raised by fellow unions were also passed on issues such as nursing programs, hospital cuts, long-term care staffing standards and community/home care nursing. A number of ONA leaders spoke on these resolutions and other issues facing our members. The 1,000 delegates also unanimously chose their new leadership team. Longtime Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario President Sid Ryan is OFL President-elect, replacing Wayne Samuelson, who did not seek re-election after 12 years. Marie Kelly, Assistant Director for Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces of the United Steelworkers, was acclaimed to the position of Secretary-Treasurer, taking over from Irene Harris. Terry Downy was re-elected Executive Vice-President, a position she has held since 2005. ONA delegates also attended two rallies during the convention to protest the termination and replacement of workers at Cadillac Fairview Corporation, and to support the strike of steelworkers from Vale Inco, who are facing deep, unwarranted concessions.

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DECEMBER 2009


Awards and Decisions: The Work of our Union! The following is a sampling of recent key awards and/or decisions in one or more of the following areas: rights arbitration, interest arbitration, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Long-Term Disability (LTD) and Ontario Labour Relations Board. A complete listing of recent awards and decisions can be found on the ONA website at www.ona.org.

WSIB

ONA wins appeal; pressure to return to work exacerbates several improperly reported prior injuries

she returned to work that was not suitable

E South Hospital

she felt unsafe for patients, herself and

(September 24, 2009)

for her to perform. Her medication made her drowsy, and as she was a team leader, other staff.

After an initial workplace back injury in 1999,

In 2005, the worker underwent surgery

this nurse had a further workplace accident, in-

to correct the injury from the workplace

juring her back and shoulder in 2003.

accidents.

Rights

The employer did not file forms for this

ONA appealed the WSIB decisions

workplace injury. The occupational health nurse

reaching back to 1999 and subsequent

expressed hope that the injury would

workplace injuries that were not properly

Discharge for allegedly fraudulent illness set aside; damages for mental anguish

improve, and when she returned to

reported. The Appeals Resolution Officer

E South Hospital

work, advised her to “be careful.” She

allowed her claim for all periods of lost

(Mikus, October 8, 2009)

returned to an understaffed unit in

wages and health care from 1999

The grievor was a full-time nurse with more

which nurses at the time were filing

up to the surgery in 2005, and

than 20 years of service, who became em-

workload complaints because of un-

is obtaining further medi-

broiled in a heated argument with the hos-

safe staffing levels. Mechanical lifts

cal reports to determine

pital about time off. The fact that she became

were not used on the unit.

the extent and duration of

ill a day later and provided a medical cer-

continued entitlement beyond

tificate giving her that very period off, raised

2005.

the employer’s suspicions. They deemed her

The nurse had a further injury when helping another nurse lift a confused patient from the floor. The pa-

Importance to ONA: Af-

terminated pursuant to Article 10.06(e). After

tient dropped like a dead weight, pull-

ter being injured at work, this

an extensive review of the medical evidence,

ing both nurses down with him. The

nurse was pressured several

including her history, the arbitrator held that

nurse immediately felt pain shooting

times to return to work that

the grievor was genuinely ill through stress

down her leg, reported the incident and

was not safe for her, and which

and depression. Since she had notified the

was advised by her doctor to be off work

actually resulted in more inju-

hospital of her absence and provided a satis-

ries. This is another case that

factory reason for it, the deemed termination

When the injured worker presented

underscores the need to ensure

must fail. Discharge for cause would also fail –

the note to the Occupational Health De-

that workers are returned to work

the hospital’s suspicions were not supported

partment, she was told to return to work

that is safe for them to do, and

by evidence.

for four weeks.

immediately and that, “people who get

to have union representation to

The grievance was allowed; the grievor

hurt at work must return to work under the

push back when pressured by

was reinstated with full retroactivity, senior-

new WSIB regulations…It doesn’t matter

employers and WSIB to do un-

ity and compensation, including an award of

what your doctor’s note says, you have to

safe work.

$5,000 for mental anguish caused, in part, by

come to work.” Against her doctor’s ad-

the breach of confidentiality and privacy she

vice and under pressure from the employer,

experienced.

DECEMBER 2009

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OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH and Safety

Following a Ministry of Labour Order The Ministry of Labour (MOL) has come into your workplace and issued an order, but what exactly does that mean and how can you facilitate the process? MOL inspectors visit workplaces to conduct regular inspections, and/or to investigate accidents, work refusals or complaints. When they find a contravention of a provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or regulations, these inspectors are empowered under Section 57 of the Act to order employers and other workplace parties to comply with the law. An order is a legal direction which the inspector may initially verbalize, but which must be confirmed in writing. The inspector writes the order on a standard MOL form and leaves it with the employer who is required to provide a copy to the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), as well as post it in a conspicuous place for workers to see. Types of Orders 1. Forthwith Order: compliance must be achieved by the time the inspector leaves the workplace. 2. Time-based Order: specifies the time within which compliance must be achieved. Where time has been given to fix a contravention which is a hazard to a worker, the inspector will, where applicable, issue an order for interim protection of workers. 3. Compliance Plan Order: issued with a related contravention (companion) order when a plan is needed to specify how and when the contravenor will comply with the related contravention order.

Ontario Nurses’ Association 85 Grenville St., Ste. 400 Toronto ON M5S 3A2

4. Stop Work Order: stops a process or the use of a machine or equipment until the related contravention order is complied with. 5. Barrier Order: forbids access to a particular area of a workplace until the related contravention order is complied with. Requirement When an inspector suspects a contravention or requires more information, she or he may issue a “requirement” under Section 54, i.e. a legal direction issued to a workplace party notifying the party of its obligation to cooperate with an inspector. Requirements are also written and have four elements: identification of the recipient; the applicable section of the legislation; the compliance date, if known; and the nature of the requirement. Compliance The inspector may visit the workplace to ascertain compliance with an order, or more commonly leave a Notice of Compliance form. While it is a constructor or employer who submits a Notice of Compliance to the MOL, it is the inspector who ultimately determines that compliance has been achieved. The Notice of Compliance can be a letter or a form, sent to the issuing inspector. Either must be signed by management and a worker member of the JHSC, with a copy posted in the workplace. Telephone notification of compliance is not accepted. Appeal Under Section 61 of the Act, workplace parties may appeal an inspector order, decision,

or refusal to render either. An appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the order or decision. An inspector may rescind an order if it is deemed inappropriate. Appeals are processed and administered by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Decisions of the Board are final, although they are subject to judicial review. The board will attempt to mediate the issue, and if unsuccessful, will hold a consultation presided over by a chair or vice-chair. If unresolved, the board may convene a full hearing. Prosecution Failure to comply with an order or requirement is a prosecutable offence under the OHSA. How Can JHSC/Union Members Facilitate with Orders/Appeals? MOL orders/requirements are valuable legal tools that help achieve safe and healthy workplaces. You can facilitate the issuance of beneficial orders by furnishing inspectors with information and evidence of contraventions while they are touring or investigating your workplace. Be vigilant after orders are issued. No JHSC member should sign a notice of compliance unless completely satisfied that compliance has been achieved. Also, if an inspector refuses to issue an order, or issues a deficient order, consult with your Bargaining Unit President/Labour Relations Officer as soon as possible about optional responses.

Front Lines December 2009  

The members’ publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association. Vol. 9, No. 6 - ONA censures Hamilton Health Sciences; Members highly rate ONA...