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december 2012 Vol. 12 • No. 6

In This Issue . . . E4

The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

From ONA President/Interim CEO Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN E5 From ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN

ONA Campaign Values the Invaluable! FEATURES

Reflecting on 40 Years................................ 6 Member’s Cardiac Pain Research........... 8


Up Front.......................................................... 3 Member News.............................................. 6 ONA News....................................................11 Queen’s Park Update................................14 CFNU News..................................................14 Education.....................................................15 Pensions........................................................16 Occupational Health and Safety..........16 Professional Practice................................17 Student Affiliation.....................................18 Pay Equity.....................................................18 Human Rights and Equity......................19 Awards and Decisions..............................20 Financial Statements................................22

Special Pull-out Feature: ONA’s Biennial Convention!

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud humourously displays that ONA is #1 during the unveiling of our new Value the Invaluable campaign at our Biennial Convention in Toronto on November 20, 2012.


has launched a positive ad campaign that urges the government, employers and members of the public to recognize the true heroes of our province: you! During our November Biennial Convention in Toronto, ONA unveiled details of our new campaign, which continues with our very successful Value the Invaluable campaign, using a humourous, sports-related analogy to remind people of the value and skills that Ontario nurses bring to our health care system. The campaign launched with a radio ad playing throughout Ontario continues on page 3 

ONA Successfully Maintains HOOPP Provisions ONA has successfully negotiated an agreement with the provincial government that maintains Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) provisions in light of government changes. The agreement maintains current contribution rates, exempts HOOPP from being merged with smaller pension plans with funding deficits, and ensures that employers will

see no contribution increases until at least December 30, 2017. HOOPP is the defined benefit pension plan of the majority of our members. “We have negotiated an agreement that ensures HOOPP will continue to be there for our hard-working, dedicated registered nurses and allied health professionals who pay into the plan to prepare for retirement,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. continues on page 3 

Included with this Issue: Work of the Union, Winter Issue; Access to Confidential Patient Records Q&A

How to contact

your 2013 ONA Board of Directors Call ONA toll-free at 1-800-387-5580 (press 0) or (416) 964-8833 in Toronto and follow the operator’s prompts to access board members’

december 2012 Vol. 12 • No. 6

Editor: Ruth Featherstone Features Editor: Melanie Levenson Send submissions to:

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

Communications and Government Relations Intake at

members in the Toronto office are listed below.

Contributors: Dan Anderson, Doug Anderson, Sheree Bond, Nancy Johnson, Colin Johnston, Mary Lou King, Bev Mathers, Enid Mitchell, André Proulx,

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

President/Interim CEO, VM #2254 Communications & Government Relations / Student Liaison

Katherine Russo, Karen Sandercock, Lawrence Walter

The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

Vicki McKenna, RN

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


Toll free: 1-800-387-5580 • •

ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the

Pam Mancuso, RN

community, clinics and industry.

VP Region 1, VM #7710 Occupational Health & Safety

Copyright © 2012 Ontario Nurses’ Association All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic,

Anne Clark, RN

mechanical, photocopy, recording, or by any information storage or

VP Region 2, VM #7758 Labour Relations

retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher (ONA members are excepted). ISSN: 0834-9088

Andy Summers, RN

VP Region 3, VM #7754 Human Rights & Equity

Printed by union labour: Thistle Printing Limited

ONA Regional Offices

Dianne Leclair, RN

E Hamilton

E Orillia

E Thunder Bay

VP Region 4, VM #7752 Local 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. 201 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


Design: Artifact graphic design


#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

ONA Campaign Values the Invaluable!

Want to Tell Your Story about a Nurse who Made a Difference? As part of our Value the Invaluable campaign, ONA is asking people to share their positive stories about nurses online.

 continues from cover

By logging onto our website (

ONA Campaign Values the Invaluable!

and providing some brief details, we will share your positive stories with the front-line nurses in your community, and we will post some on the campaign website page. ONA will ensure your personal privacy by removing any identifying details. We have already received several submissions so far, including: • “The nurses at the Ottawa General Hospital are all great, but I’d like to especially thank those on the

ONA members become Front Lines cover stars at a very popular booth at our recent Biennial Convention, allowing them to show their family and friends that they really are the MVPs of our health care system!

To learn more about our campaign and how you can get involved, log onto

“I know you have heard many attacks on HOOPP in the media, with some calling it a gold-plated pension plan for the public sector. The truth is HOOPP is a defined benefit plan that is fully funded through contributions of its members and employers. In fact, approximately 80 cents of every HOOPP pension dollar paid comes from investment returns on contributions of members and their employers, not the taxpayer.”

The nurses were professional, honest and provided my family with the answers we needed in Granddaughter, Ottawa

entitled, “The Super Shift,” which likens the efforts and achievements of a nurse to those of a pro athlete during an important game and questions why nurses aren’t valued in the same way. “For ONA members, every shift is a super shift as you strive to provide the quality patient care that Ontarians need and deserve,” said ONA President Linda HaslamStroud. “Our health care system desperately needs your invaluable skills and care, and the government must recognize the fact that dollar for dollar, you are the best value in health care. This campaign will help make sure they do.” The radio ad was closely followed by transit shelter ads across the province, which depict a packaged “action figure” nurse run off her feet complete with appropriate “accessories” (see back cover). Both the radio and transit shelter ads urge listeners to express their support of nurses via ONA’s website.

ONA Successfully Maintains HOOPP Provisions

a few weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer.

unfamiliar territory. You are all superstars.”

 continues from cover

 continues from cover

rad/onc floor. They took care of my grandma for

• “The nurses who cared for my father while he was in palliative care made the difference between his ‘dying’ and ‘living while dying.’ When my father died, the nurses literally circled us in a group hug, made us a cup of tea and allowed us time to absorb the shock. To him and to his family, they were the best thing during very sad times.” Daughter, Scarborough We know that you have positive nurses’ stories. Please share them with us so we can share them with the communities across Ontario!

Through extraordinarily good management, HOOPP has avoided funding deficits and has allowed contribution rates to remain stable for many years. “HOOPP is an example of an extremely well run pension plan that should have been an example for the government, not one that they should have chosen to attack,” Haslam-Stroud added. For more information on HOOPP and the other pension plans of ONA members, please see pg. 16.



From ONA President/Interim CEO Chronique de la présidente/directrice générale par intérim, AIIO

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

ONA at 40 Years: A Vibrant Profession. L’AIIO à 40 ans : une profession A Powerful Union! dynamique. Un syndicat puissant!


he Ontario Nurses’ Association is turning 40! It’s hard to believe that our union is hitting this milestone birthday, and doing so with such energy, passion and commitment. For those who attended the 2012 Biennial Convention in Toronto last month, that energy, passion and commitment was on full display. As I like to remind members, ONA is you, the members, and the dedication you all display daily to Ontarians. You are what makes ONA such a strong, united and respected organization. At the Biennial, I spoke of just how far the union has come in our 40 years of existence, of how we’ve advanced the respect and recognition of nurses and our allied health members and improved your socio-economic welfare and working conditions. I also spoke of the threats to unionism, our profession and patient care. Despite evidence to the contrary, conservative politicians are pushing hard to create a society in which unions don’t exist or are powerless, where workers have no voice to improve workplace conditions, earn a fair wage or even have a stable job at all. Each one of us needs to decide what kind of Ontario we want to see, now and in the future. Evidence shows that nations with high rates of unionized employees have lower unemployment and inflation rates, higher productivity and make speedier adjustments to economic shocks. Despite this, we see the Ontario PC Party leader releasing a white paper that calls for a “flexible workforce” – much like what has destroyed the standard of living for so many in states like Wisconsin. Your union has overcome many hurdles in our 40 years. Clearly, we’ll have to continue our work to overcome many more in the future. I have no doubt that our members are up to the challenge as we work together to advocate for our profession and for our patients/ clients/residents, because we are a vibrant profession and a powerful union! Happy anniversary, ONA!

You are what makes ONA such a strong, united and respected organization. 4



’Association des infirmières et infirmiers de l’Ontario célèbre ses 40 ans! J’ai du mal à croire que notre syndicat célèbre ce 40e anniversaire, une étape charnière, avec tant d’énergie, de passion et de détermination. Pour ceux qui ont participé au Congrès biennal de 2012 à Toronto le mois dernier, cette énergie, cette passion et cette détermination étaient bien visibles. Comme j’aime à le rappeler à nos membres, l’AIIO c’est vous, nos membres, et l’engagement que vous manifestez tous les jours à l’égard des Ontariens. C’est grâce à vous que l’AIIO est un organisme puissant, uni et respecté. À l’occasion du Congrès biennal, j’ai discuté de la progression impressionnante de notre syndicat au cours de ses 40 années d’existence, de la façon dont nous avons promu le respect et la reconnaissance des infirmières et infirmiers ainsi que de nos membres des professions paramédicales, et amélioré votre bien-être socioéconomique et vos conditions de travail. J’ai aussi parlé des menaces qui visent le syndicalisme, notre profession et les soins aux patients. Chacun de nous doit décider de ce que nous voulons pour l’Ontario, maintenant et à l’avenir. Il a été démontré que les nations ayant des taux élevés d’employés syndiqués ont des taux de chômage et d’inflation moins élevés et une productivité supérieure, et s’adaptent plus rapidement aux chocs économiques. Malgré cela, le chef du Parti progressiste-conservateur de l’Ontario a publié un livre blanc appelant au recours à une « main-d’œuvre flexible » – à l’image de ce qui a détruit le niveau de vie des résidents de si nombreux États américains, dont ceux du Wisconsin. Votre syndicat a surmonté de nombreux obstacles au cours de ses 40 ans d’existence. Visiblement, nous devrons poursuivre notre travail pour triompher de beaucoup d’autres à l’avenir. Je n’ai aucun doute que nos membres sont prêts à relever ce défi alors que nous travaillerons ensemble pour défendre notre profession et nos patients, clients, et résidents, parce que notre profession est dynamique et notre syndicat, puissant! Joyeux anniversaire, AIIO!

From ONA First Vice-President Chronique de la première vice-présidente, AIIO

Vicki McKenna, RN

The Legislature is Prorogued, So Now What?

La législature est prorogée. Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour nous?

any of you have asked me now that Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced his resignation and prorogued parliament, what does that really mean for ONA and our members? Just before Premier McGuinty made this announcement in October, essentially shutting down parliament to any current and future business, there was a bill on the table that virtually stripped away all democratic rights of public sector workers, including our members, to bargain collectively (see the cover of the October issue of Front Lines). With the proroguing of parliament, that bill will not be on the table in the immediate future, may change or may not be introduced at all. With two agreements negotiated between high school teachers and their local school boards receiving a thumbs-up from the government just as we went to press, we are optimistic this pause in proceedings was used to reflect on legislation that is blatantly inappropriate and unfair, and may spell better days ahead. While we expect key decisions to be made in those days that will have a significant impact on the working conditions for nurses and our ability to provide safe quality care, we sincerely hope that all parties – and the new Liberal leader (who will be decided in January) – will take advantage of our front-line knowledge and consider our advice when developing their plans for the delivery of health care services. After all, who understands the barriers and challenges that must be addressed to move forward to meet the needs of our patients/clients/residents better than nurses? And it is our patients/clients/residents who expect that consultation to happen without delay. We will be advocating that their needs, along with respect for nurses, the value of our work and our democratic right to collectively bargain our terms and conditions of work, must be the focus of the discussion on solutions. If our rich 40-year history is anything to go by, I am confident that by remaining united and strong, we will prevail. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

on nombre d’entre vous m’avez demandé ce que la démission du premier ministre Dalton McGuinty et la prorogation du Parlement signifient concrètement pour l’AIIO et pour nos membres. Tout juste avant l’annonce du premier ministre McGuinty, en octobre, laquelle a essentiellement eu pour effet de bloquer le Parlement pour toutes les affaires courantes ou futures, un projet de loi avait été déposé et retirait pratiquement tous les droits démocratiques des travailleurs du secteur public, y compris nos membres, de participer à des négociations collectives (voir la page couverture du numéro d’octobre de Front Lines). En raison de la prorogation du Parlement, ce projet de loi ne fera pas l’objet de discussions dans l’avenir immédiat, pourrait être modifié ou pourrait même ne pas être déposé. Puisque deux ententes négociées entre les enseignants des écoles secondaires et leur conseil scolaire local ont reçu l’approbation du gouvernement tout juste avant la publication de ce message, nous espérons que cette pause dans les délibérations a permis une réflexion sur la législation tout à fait injuste et inappropriée, et pourrait se traduire par un avenir meilleur. Bien que nous nous attendions à ce que des décisions clés soient prises, qui auront une incidence importante sur les conditions de travail des infirmières et des infirmiers, ainsi que sur notre capacité de fournir des soins de santé sécuritaires et de qualité, nous espérons sincèrement que toutes les parties – de même que le nouveau chef du Parti libéral (qui sera désigné en janvier) – tireront parti de nos connaissances de première ligne et tiendront compte de nos conseils quand ils élaboreront leurs programmes de prestations de soins de santé. Par ailleurs, nos patients, clients et résidents s’attendent à ce que cette consultation ait lieu dans les plus brefs délais. Nous continuerons de faire valoir que leurs besoins, de même que le respect pour nos infirmières et infirmiers, la valeur de notre travail et notre droit démocratique à négocier collectivement nos modalités et conditions de travail, doivent être les principaux points abordés dans le cadre des discussions sur les solutions. En me fiant sur nos quarante années d’histoire, je suis persuadée qu’en demeurant unis et forts, nous réussirons.


…our democratic right to collectively bargain our terms and conditions of work must be the focus of the discussion on solutions.




ONA Members Across Ontario

Reflecting on 40 Years of Nursing and ONA The following was written by Susan Crilly, an RN at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, in honour of ONA’s 40th anniversary. As I was reading Front Lines, I was amazed to realize this is ONA’s 40th anniversary!

ing for better health care. Our first contract gave us a good

It took me down memory lane. I remem-

salary increase. I was now making

ber voting for a union in 1972. I had just grad-

more than my husband! We worked

uated and started a full-time job as an RN.

fewer weekends and shifts, and

We worked two out of three weekends, and

schedules began to improve.

all three shifts. I can recall my fiancé asking

Through Susan Nelles, we be-

me what my salary would be. “I don’t know...

came aware of one of ONA’s most important

would like to say THANK YOU to ONA for all

whatever nurses make,” I said! Orderlies with

services to nurses: legal representation.

the gains it has acquired for us.

only weeks of training and no accountability or assignment made more than the nurses.

When I was on a membership team in the

We went through the spread of AIDS before it was understood, and SARS.

late 1990s, I learned firsthand the high cali-

Our uniforms were white dresses and

Throughout it all, ONA has been there

ber of all the staff who make up ONA. I was

white stockings, no runners. Yes, we wore our

advocating for and protecting us in ways I’m

amazed, and ONA gained my utmost respect.

hats and proudly displayed the black band

sure they could not have foreseen. And it

Thanks to all the tireless work and hours

identifying us as RNs. Hair was up, no jewelry,

continues to take on new battles.

other than our school pin.

Yes, our uniforms have changed and how

put in at the Local level by many nurses who strive to uphold our contracts and protect our rights.

We worked in teams with a team leader

we work has changed many times over, but

and a charge nurse. There was no such thing

the main focus of our work continues to be

We make a good salary and have one of

as lifts, blue pads, incontinent pads or at-

driven by compassion and advocating for the

our country’s best pensions to look forward

tends. We had draw sheets and a few rubber

sick to achieve the best outcome using all the

to and count on.

sheets. Needless to say, we changed many

resources available.

When I reflect on ONA’s 40 years, an old

beds. Gloves were only worn for sterile pro-

Today we have so much support and bet-

saying comes to mind: “You’ve come a long

cedures. Protecting ourselves wasn’t really a

ter working conditions because ONA has

way baby!” So once again, thank you, ONA,

consideration. We pulled patients up and in

worked so hard to “care for the caregiver.” I

and happy 40th!

and out of bed using our own bodies as leverage. Medications were written on tiny colourcoded cards. Our notes were in black, green

Happy MRT Week!

and red ink denoting the different shifts. If

ONA’s Medical Radiation Technologists (MRT) have joined with their colleagues across

you were a female patient, 45 years of age or

Canada to celebrate national MRT Week.

over, chances are you were on Valium. There

MRT Week was celebrated from November 4-11 this year to laud the contributions

was little understanding of women’s health

these highly skilled professionals make to our health care system. MRTs, which comprise

issues. Most patients over 70 were not resus-

several disciplines, use hands-on diagnostics, therapy and technology to ensure quality

citated automatically; that was the sole dis-

cancer care, and treat many benign diseases. MRTs make an enormous difference to

cretion of the doctor.

patients in hospitals and clinics and play an important role in the promotion of medical

They tried to tell us we didn’t really want a union, as they were only after our dues. But the vote happened and ONA began its work of representing Ontario nurses and advocat-



radiation safety for patients. ONA is proud of our many MRT members, who are a component of our allied health group, and celebrated along with them during their special recognition.

Membership Engagement

Get Members to the Meetings! One ONA Local has realized that if you really want to engage executive members and the up and comers in the work of our union, you’ve got to get them to provincial meetings. Local 81 Coordinator Judy Carlson, who brought 16 members to the November Biennial Convention (pictured), said her Local introduced a levy a few years ago that specifically goes towards education. In non-Biennial years, the money is earmarked for an array of membership education; in Biennial years, it is dedicated to sending members to that convention. “The Biennial is our biggest learning experience,” she said. “We solve the problems at our Local meetings, but you cannot get the big picture unless you go to the provincial meetings. You can’t possibly take all your learnings from those meetings home. You’ve got to get the members to the provincial meetings.” Not only does the Local fund members of the executive to go to the Biennial, they also hold a draw for one or more members to attend (depending on finances), who have shown a keen interest in getting more involved in the union. In fact, four of the members Carlson brought this year had never previously been to a Biennial.

“Sometimes in the Local we get bogged down with the heavy stuff we deal with dai-

“They couldn’t believe all the work that ONA does and said it was so exciting to be part of

ly,” she said. “But the Bargaining Unit Presi-

it!” she said. “They didn’t feel that connection before they came to the Biennial. The levy has

dents all come back from the Biennial com-

really opened up education to us.”

pletely energized and ready to take it all on.

Even for seasoned convention goers, Carlson said you cannot downplay the power and importance of attending such a gathering.

Algoma Public Health Nurses Narrowly Avert Strike

It doesn’t just rev up the new people, it revs them all up.”

ONA public health nurses and nurse practitioners from the Algoma Public Health Unit join the Canadian Union of Public Employees for an information picket outside the Board of Health meeting in Sault Ste. Marie on October 17, 2012. The nurses, who provide public health services to residents in the District of Algoma, including Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, Blind River, Elliot Lake and surrounding areas, were set to strike on November 1 after conciliation failed, but reached an agreement with their employer on October 25. “I would like to thank ONA for the support given to public health,” said Local 12 Coordinator Susan Berger. “Even as a Local leader and very involved in our union, I don’t think I quite grasped the power of ONA. When an employer isn’t showing respect for the work we do, it is difficult, but having the support of such a strong union makes it so much better. I know the war is not over, but I think we have won this battle!”



ONA Members Across Ontario

Member’s Pain and Anxiety Research May have Far-Reaching Implications After witnessing patients suffer from cardiac chest pain at her rural

nity hospital; the management and clinical staff were extremely sup-

community hospital, an ONA member is conducting research that

portive,” she said. “Also, the study would not have happened without

may have a profound effect on how that pain is managed in such set-

patients suffering from ACS who were willing to share their experi-

tings in the future.


Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy (pictured), who has worked for more

Data analysis is completed and O’Keefe-McCarthy hopes her re-

than 25 years as a chemotherapy nurse and in cardiology, neurology,

search will change the standard of practice for the assessment and

emergency and intensive care, launched a cardiac pain study at Ross

management of cardiac pain and related anxiety.

Memorial Hospital in Lindsay in June 2011. By learning from those

“While it is premature to discuss particular results, we have learned

in pain, she hopes to document their experiences to identify where

valuable information about the warning signs people may have six

more pain management is needed.

months to weeks before their cardiac event and possible factors that

“Over the years, the experience of pain and pain management has

may contribute to the severity of ACS pain,” she said. “Ultimately, the

been a major concern, and the problem of cardiac pain continually re-

best I can hope for is that clinical practice can change because of the

surfaced,” she said. “I needed to do something concrete to change the

results of my research, and that ACS patients’ pain and anxiety can be

way we understand and treat patients with cardiac pain.”


That something began to take flight after O’Keefe-McCarthy, a George Brown College graduate, went back to school, completing her baccalaureate degree at Ryerson University in 2004 and her master’s degree at the University of Toronto in 2007. She became very interested in research and evidence-based practice and wanted to pursue the complex problem of cardiac pain and related anxiety. “Once enrolled in the PhD program, I went to the literature to identify the gaps in practice that would help me build a case for a study to address the relationship between pain management and cardiac pain intensity and anxiety for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients,” she said. “ACS refers to the clinical symptoms of coronary artery disease and is a leading cause of death and disability in Canada. If not adequately managed, the pain and anxiety caused by ACS can cause further heart damage.” O’Keefe-McCarthy, who has obtained various certificates in critical care, emergency room theory and advanced patient assessment, explained that the current gold-standard treatment of ACS is rapid access to cardiac angiography and revascularization with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), but in Canadian rural ERs, transfer to PCI can take up to 32 hours. “Given those long wait times, effective pain and anxiety management for people suffering ACS in rural ERs must be made a priority to preserve vulnerable heart muscle,” she said. With the full support of management and fellow colleagues, O’Keefe-McCarthy interviewed agreeable candidates who arrived at Ross Memorial with chest pain regarding their pain intensity and level of anxiety while they waited for diagnostic tests and transfer to PCI. “I was delighted to conduct my research in my own rural commu-



Speaking out for Those Who Can’t ONA member Jessica Lyons speaks during a Raise the Rates rally at Toronto’s City Hall on October 17, 2012 to protest the government’s cancellation of the Community Start Up Benefit on December 31, 2012. Every two years, individuals and families on social assistance are entitled to receive these funds to assist them when they need to move or start up in a new home, which means that those leaving hospitals and other institutions and women and children fleeing abusive relationships can buy the bare necessities. “I think we all understand that the cancellation of the Community Start Up Benefit is an ugly and vicious attack on poor people,” said Lyons. “ONA members are coming together, creating a new opportunity to stand against poverty to make the connection between dignity in health care and dignity in life.”

LTC Nurse Steps out of Comfort Zone Using ONA Tools ONA tools and the help of strategic coach Mark Gaylard has given a long-term care leader the confidence to do something she never thought she could: speak to politicians and nursing leaders. And she plans to take her newfound skills right back to her Bargain-

After overcoming her fear and approaching NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (right) during ONA’s Biennial Convention, Jean Kuehl is sharing her new lobbying skills with her fellow members!

ing Unit to help others. Local 15 Bargaining Unit President Jean

Those people include NDP Leader Andrea

And now that Kuehl has taken that first

Kuehl, who works at Forest Heights Long-

Horwath, who appeared transfixed by their

plunge and succeeded with flying colours,

Term Care Facility in Kitchener, said that

conversation about the work of her party,

she plans to share those skills and tools with

thanks to the resources offered by ONA, in-

CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge, and Ca-

her members back home.

cluding education, written material and ex-

nadian Federation of Nurses Union President

“I will take what I’ve learned back to my

pert advice by staff, and her strategic coach,

Linda Silas, whom Kuehl wanted to tell “how

Bargaining Unit because we can’t be compla-

who provided much-needed direction, she

much I appreciate her passion for nurses and

cent with all that’s going on around us,” she

was able to help spread ONA’s key messages

nurses’ unions.” She also approached a Minis-

said. “We have some very important work to

at the November Biennial Convention.

try of Labour inspector to discuss inspections

do. I will encourage my members with the

of long-term care facilities.

materials and tools I received from ONA and

“I went to the MPP reception by myself and immediately thought, what am I doing

“What I learned through ONA and Mark is

at the Biennial Convention, and from the sto-

here?” she said. “I took one look at my new

that I need to come out of my comfort zone

ries I’ve heard because I’ve learned that what

‘Yes, I can’ tattoo, mustered up the courage,

– step up, step out! – and I did!” she laughed.

we need are stories. ONA has the tools; let’s

and managed to speak to the people I ad-

“But I was so pumped during the MPP recep-

show our members how to use them!”


tion. My coach told me I’m his hero!”

Raising Money – and Awareness Local 8 Treasurer Dagmar Ray (left) and Secretary Dana Boyd take advantage of the ONA Biennial Convention to promote the work of nurses while raising money for a good cause. Bargaining Unit President Carol Ahpin, an industry nurse from Chrysler, had an idea last summer to produce and sell car magnets reading, “Nurses Put Patients First” with all proceeds supporting the United Way of Windsor Essex Counties. The Local produced 1,000 magnets, which they sell for $5 each. “We have the highest unemployment rates and lowest determinants of health in the province, and the good work of the United Way goes a long way to help,” said Boyd. The Local raised $750 at the June Provincial Coordinators Meeting alone, and sold many more at the Biennial. “Really, these things sell themselves,” noted Boyd, “and we are so grateful for the support of ONA members.”



ONA Members Across Ontario

Letter of Praise to College Overwhelms RNs Two ONA members who were singled out in

“I was very flattered,” added Prudence, who

was still pending at press time, but they say

a letter to the College of Nurses of Ontario

mostly worked the night shift. “I was having

a new TV for families to watch while in the

(CNO) for their exceptional care of a patient

one of those days when I read the letter and it

sunroom is a distinct possibility. The family

in her final days say they acted as they do

really made me feel good. I didn’t do anything

also requested donations for the unit in lieu

with all their patients.

that I wouldn’t do on a daily basis with every

of flowers, which Clerici said amounted to

patient, but it is lovely to be recognized.”

approximately $3,000.

Pam Prudence and Frank Cinicolo, registered nurses on the intensive care unit (ICU)

Cinicolo believes that because Clerici is

While the letter to the CNO was an unex-

at Leamington District Memorial Hospital,

a nurse herself, she understands the politics

pected boost to their morale, both Cinicolo

were highly praised in a letter from Connie

and challenges nurses face and could see

and Prudence agree nurses should be the

Clerici on behalf of her family, who came into

they go above and beyond for their patients.

first ones to pat themselves on the back.

the ICU unexpectedly following a health crisis experienced by their mother. “Pam and Frank are two RNs who demonstrate their understanding of the need to bal-

“A nurse can always recognize what an-

“Don’t be discouraged if recognition is

other nurse is doing,” he said. “The family

not verbalized,” said Cinicolo. “People do rec-

spent a lot of time at the bedside and appre-

ognize when you do a good job, even if they

ciated our work.”

don’t say it. They really do – and you should

ance professionalism with compassion,” the let-

So much so, in fact, that the Clerici fam-

ter, shared with Front Lines by the family, states.

ily donated $1,000 to the nurses’ unit in their

“You don’t have to have these accolades,

“It is our opinion that Frank and Pam should be

mother’s memory, and Cinicolo and Pru-

but they are a bonus,” concluded Prudence.

held out as role models for their peers.”

dence were given the honour of choosing

“Knowing that I am doing what I can to make

where the money would go. That decision

a better day for a patient is enough for me.”

Not only did the two nurses provide ex-

know it too.”

emplary care to the family’s mother in her final days, but consulted with them about her care every step of the way, and intervened when the family felt their mother’s health care wishes were not being followed. “Pam and Frank consistently demonstrated their understanding of the trauma on our family and our immediate need for information and clarity,” the letter states. “As a result of (their) efforts, our mother was able to pass away with her dignity in a very comfortable manner.” the hospital’s Vice-President of Nursing and

This Employer’s Trick is no Treat

featured in their hospital’s newsletter, took

On Halloween night, The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) members, including Local 111

them both by surprise.

Treasurer Agnes Alix, deliver a truly frightening message to their community about

The letter, forwarded to the nurses by

“The letter absolutely made me cry,” said

the impact of their employer’s plan to replace RNs with lesser-skilled workers with no

Cinicolo, who worked the day shift caring for

professional nursing training. Trick-or-treaters were handed candy attached to a flyer

the patient and attended her funeral. “Who

for their parents reading, “Say boo to cutting health care” and asking them to tell their

does this stuff? It was wonderful to be acknowl-

MPPs and TSH CEO that the hospital’s plan to balance its budget “is a trick that isn’t

edged for going the extra mile because we al-

even fit for Halloween.” On the back is a “I (Heart) RNs at The Scarborough Hospital”

ways do for all our patients. We were empathic

sign, which we hope community members will display. “Member engagement for this

with the family because we understood where

campaign has been phenomenal,” said Local 111 Coordinator Susan Brickell. “We are

they were coming from. We consulted with

reaching out to people who have never been involved in our union before.” For more

them along the way and that’s so important.”

information, log onto



ONA News

Introducing the 2013 Board… The televote results are in! Following a vote via telephone, which took place this fall, Pam Man-

• Region 2 Vice-President: Anne Clark (third from left).

cuso from Local 46 (Sault Area Hospital) was elected Region 1 Vice-Pres-

• Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers (far right).

ident on the ONA Board of Directors. Candidates in regions 2, 3, 4 and 5

• Region 4 Vice-President Dianne Leclair (far left).

were acclaimed, meaning no election was necessary for their positions.

• Region 5 Vice-President Karen Bertrand (second from right). Thank you to Region 1 incumbent Diane Parker for your years of

The Board for 2013 is as follows: • President: Linda Haslam-Stroud (third from right).

service and dedication to our union and your members, and to those

• First Vice-President: Vicki McKenna (middle).

in Region 1 who exercised your democratic right to vote in this im-

• Region 1 Vice-President: Pam Mancuso (second from left).

portant election.

Making a Big Statement for our 40th Anniversary! ONA has kicked off our 40th anniversary celebration in a very noticeable way! On November 1, 2012, ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud joined the Board of Directors and staff to mark the start of ONA’s year-long anniversary celebrations by unveiling an eye-catching banner running down the south-west side of our downtown Toronto provincial office. “ONA was formed in 1973 out of the need to empower nurses and to gain recognition and respect for those who devote so much time and energy to ensuring that the patients, clients and residents of Ontario receive the quality care they need and deserve,” she said during the unveiling. “Over the decades, ONA has done a great deal to both improve the quality of work life for members and to grow respect for the profession of nursing. I hope you like the very colourful and very big way in which we’re announcing that ONA continues to be a powerful and credible union for a very passionate nursing workforce, and that we’re proud of our 40 years of advocacy!” ONA will be marking our anniversary throughout 2013 and we hope you will take some time to celebrate our achievements along with us. Added Haslam-Stroud, “As we move forward with our 40th anniversary celebrations, let’s work together as a team and ensure we continue to be a vibrant profession and a powerful union!” To read about ONA’s history, log onto



ONA News

ONA Fights Back Against Discriminatory Bill ONA is vehemently opposed to an intrusive bill that would require unions to provide highly detailed and complicated financial statements far in excess of what could be considered reasonable or fair. Bill C-377 proposes amendments to the Income Tax Act that will require unions, their pensions and training trusts to file statements on all transactions and disbursements more than $5,000 as well as the salary of all employees and executives. “What this discriminatory bill really sets out to do is monitor and restrict the political activity of unions and labour organizations

ONA Local and provincial leaders and members join the Canadian Federation of Nurses

while threatening the privacy of union staff,”

Unions (CFNU) for a Lobby Day on Parliament Hill in November, focusing on Bill C-377.

said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud.

The group, including (left to right) Local 83 site rep Sandy McEwen, CFNU President

“ONA is already transparent to our members

Linda Silas, Local 42 Bargaining Unit President Luc Lauzon, Region 2 Vice-President Anne

and has nothing to hide. Our financial state-

Clark, Local 42 Coordinator Patty Shaughnessy, Local 83 Coordinator Frances Smith and

ments are included in the December issue of

Local 83 member Rose O’Neill (not pictured) met with three MPs, including Russ Hieberts,

Front Lines (see pages 22-23). There is no way

who introduced Bill C-377. “This bill is just the latest attack on unions,” said Clark, “and

the federal government can justify this bill.”

we made our opposition to it clearly known during Lobby Day.”

While at press time the federal Finance Committee had heard from all witnesses and the bill was expected to pass, ONA did

formation about the bill on our website and

test, which many of you did. Despite the out-

not take the news lying down. We posted in-

urged members to contact your MP to pro-

come, we thank you for your support.

ONA Stands up for CCACs ONA is flatly rejecting a report released by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) that calls for the wholesale closure of Ontario’s 14 community care access centres (CCACs).

cost of management staff of these agencies. “With the government continuing to focus on moving care out of hospitals and into the community, this is an opportune time to ex-

CCACs currently connect people with a variety of non-hospital

pand and enhance the role of dedicated RNs and allied health profes-

care sectors, including home care and long-term care, but the RNAO

sionals in CCACs, who continue to be best positioned to coordinate

report recommends that all planning, service agreements, funding,

care for Ontarians,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “They

monitoring and accountability functions currently carried out by the

are absolutely integral to the care of patients, clients and residents

CCACs be transferred to the province’s 14 Local Health Integration

trying to navigate their way through the health care system.”

Networks (LHINs). Closing the CCACs would save $163-million a year,

We also believe that CCAC case managers should assume total re-

which, if applied to home care, would provide more than four million

sponsibility for coordination of care and internal service delivery for

additional hours of home care services, the report states.

patients, residents and clients requiring community or home care to

ONA was quick to speak out, noting that the CCAC system is not broken. Rather than close CCACs, we believe the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should conduct a critical review of the size and



ensure Ontarians smoothly navigate through the system. ONA has written a formal letter to the RNAO outlining our concerns with its CCAC proposal.

Public Sector Cuts Reduce Economic Growth, ONA Research Shows ONA has released important new research showing that cuts to public health care and education will actually reduce economic growth. As the province continues down the road of decreased public spending in health care and other public services through initiatives such as imposed wage freezes, forced pension erosion and sweeping labour law reform, ONA’s paper, Easy to Take for Granted: The Role of the Public Sector and Carework in Wealth Creation, by ONA economist Salimah Valiani, shows that the value of economic output generated through every dollar spent on public health care, education and social services is considerably higher than each private investment dollar. Using quantitative as well as qualitative data, our research shows that the current focus on public sector cuts actually means reduced economic growth in the years to come, noting that Ontario needs to shift from a framework of “economic efficiency” to one of “social efficiency” for true health care reform to happen. While market efficiency results in short-term financial savings, it also results in long-term costs for careworkers and the most vulnerable, and negatively impacts economic growth as a whole. “Remembering cuts to health care in the 1990s, our research and experience tell us that cuts to public health care are a false economy,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “We have to organize public health care and other public services so they are the most beneficial to recipients and providers. Contracting outside ‘experts’ who know nothing about front-line service delivery settings will inevitably leave Ontarians with poorer health and an increasing reliance on patients’ families and friends to the detriment of everyone.” In the current environment of increasing inequality and falling economic growth around the world, Ontario needs a combination of economic and human development to regenerate the economy and the population, the paper concludes.

News in Brief E Health Canada has removed the licensing conditions mandated as part of the pilot of the Donor Care Associate (DCA) model, meaning Canadian Blood Services (CBS) can expand that model nationally. ONA has been lobbying against this model change to minimize the impact on our members and the public. DCAs are unregulated workers who are hired and trained by CBS to screen potential blood donors at clinics across Canada. RNs, who can ask additional assessment and screening questions, had been providing this service until the change. ONA is concerned that donors may now not be screened appropriately, posing a risk to the province’s blood supply.

E ONA is claiming victory after a for-profit U.S. conglomerate has decided not to proceed with the purchase of Shouldice Hospital. In September, it was announced that Shouldice would be sold to Centric Health Corp., a publicly traded company controlled by American-based Global Healthcare Investments and Solutions. While Ontario outlawed for-profit hospitals in 1973, it exempted existing facilities such as Shouldice, which specializes in hernia operations, making it one of the few private, for-profit medical centres in Ontario that receives government funding. ONA wrote a letter to Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, stating this unique circumstance should not be carried on through the sale, noting that for-profit ownership is linked to poorer health outcomes for patients and less transparency and access to information because of commercial interest. The $14-million sale required the Minister’s approval under the Private Hospitals Act.

To view the entire paper, log onto

Spreading Holiday Cheer on the Picket Line ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud (right) holds a thank you to ONA plaque from Cassandra Robinson, Operation Christmas Cheer founder, during a meeting at our provincial office in November to discuss the importance of supporting striking workers. ONA has donated an additional $5,000 to the cause this year, which ensures that everyone walking a picket line in this province during the holidays receives support, cheer, a traditional Christmas dinner for their family and a toy for each of their children. ONA staff also donated gift cards, which will go directly to the picketers. Last year, ONA helped support 984 families and 392 children through Operation Christmas Cheer, and this year’s donation will assist the members of five Locals walking picket lines in Ontario on extended strike/lockout, with possibly more to come. A message from Haslam-Stroud on the importance of Operation Christmas Cheer and ONA’s ongoing support appeared in its annual publication, Picket-line Press. For more information or to view the newsletter, visit



Queen’s Park Update

E On October 9, 2012, Premier McGuinty announced additional services that

pharmacists can now deliver in an expanded scope of practice. In addition to giving the flu vaccine, pharmacists can now also: I Renew or adapt existing prescriptions. I Prescribe medication to help people quit smoking. I Demonstrate how to use an asthma inhaler or inject insulin. I Support patients who have a chronic disease, such as diabetes, and

monitor their condition.


Just how many patients can one nurse safety care for?

CFNU Report Confirms What Nurses Know is True The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) has released a report showing that excessive nurs-

Ontario’s public health units, through public health nurses, will be supporting

ing workload is negatively affecting patient out-

pharmacists in the administration of the publicly funded influenza vaccine,

comes, asking just how many patients can one

including education, inspection and distribution of vaccines. The intent of this

nurse safely care for?

increased scope of practice is not to replace existing providers and flu vaccine

The report, Nursing Workload and Patient Care:

clinics, but to add capacity and points of access for these services by more

Understanding the Value of Nurses, the Effects of Ex-

providers. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has assured ONA that

cessive Workload and How Nurse-Patient Ratios and

all current funding for public health units to provide influenza vaccines will

Dynamic Models Can Help, surveyed Canadian and


international evidence relating nurse staffing to

E The Ontario government has announced passage of the Healthy Homes

Renovation Tax Credit Act, which will allow Ontario’s seniors to receive a tax credit to renovate their homes so they can live in them safely, independently and comfortably longer. Seniors who own or rent homes, and people who share a home with a senior relative, will be able to receive the new tax credit worth up to $1,500 each year. Examples of eligible home modifications include stair lifts, walk-in bathtubs and ramps. Homeowners should save their receipts for eligible expenses made on or after October 1, 2011. Seniors at all income levels can qualify for the tax credit. From 2012 onward, the tax credit can be claimed on the Personal Income Tax return for 15 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses per year.

patient outcomes, including mortality. It also captured the results from three consultations of experts and the experiences of front-line nurses. The report confirmed that inadequate nurse staffing is associated with increases in mortality rates, hospital-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sepsis, hospital-acquired infections, pressure ulcers, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, shock and cardiac arrest, medical errors, falls, failure to rescue and longer hospital stays. “Matching nursing levels to the number and acuity of patients pays off,” said CFNU President

E On October 24, 2012, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews

Linda Silas. “It pays off for patients in terms of im-

announced $15.1-million in funding for seniors to live independently at home by

proved health. It pays off for nurses in terms of

increasing support for home care and other community services in the Hamilton

reduced illness and injury in the workplace, and it

Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), such as:

pays off for government by lowering costs of nurs-

I Additional home care services to seniors.

ing overtime and turnover, less hospital readmis-

I Assisted living programs that help patients with a range of essential daily

sion and shorter lengths of stay.”

activities. I Community programs to help seniors better manage their diabetes.

The report calls on governments to commit to safe staffing models across the continuum of care.

I Overnight personal assistance for seniors living in supportive housing units.

“Patients are at risk due to excessive nursing

Funding allocated for other LHINs, which has since been announced, include:

workload,” warned Silas. “We urge health ministers

I Erie St. Clair LHIN – $6.5-million.

to work with us to improve patient safety by devel-

I North East LHIN – $7.5-million.

oping safe staffing plans and practices.”

I North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN – $5.047-million.

To view the entire report, visit




Is Your Day Like an Emergency Room Scramble? ONA has launched a new and exciting way for you to have fun on Facebook while learning about the professional responsibility workload reporting process. As many of you know, ONA has its own Facebook page where you can find up-tothe minute ONA news, information and events. We also have a specific page on Facebook for eLearning, which provides members with an array of free ONA education that can be accessed at any time and at any pace from the comfort of your own home. We are very excited to offer you a custom ONA game that you can access through ONA’s eLearning Facebook page as well. This new game, ER Scramble, highlights the need to be aware of the professional responsibility workload reporting process! And it’s very simple to play. Choose an ONA board member to play as your character while you respond to as many emergencies as possible in a crowded ER before you run of time. Play the game, have fun, and compete for a top 10 score you can share with your friends. Play as many times as you please! We encourage you to check out the eLearning page often at OntarioNurses, or “like” our page to receive convenient news updates and announcements in your Facebook feed.




Occupational Health & Safety

Do You Know Your Pension Plan? Most ONA members are enrolled in a defined benefit pension plan to help provide financial security when it’s time to retire. To help you wade through the myriad of pension plans and which one you belong to, we are providing a concise list below. In upcoming issues of Front Lines, we will continue to delve into member pension plans, what they offer and how they differ. The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) is a defined ben-

Health and Safety Action:

Ministry of Labour Orders Now Posted on ONA Website

efit pension plan, which covers the majority of ONA members. Employers

In an ongoing effort to share information that can help

providing HOOPP include hospitals, community care access centres and

members in your quest to improve workplace health

some long-term care facilities. HOOPP is jointly governed and ONA has

and safety, dozens of Ministry of Labour (MOL) orders

two members on the Board of Trustees.

are now listed on the ONA website.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital, Grand River

“ONA members want to know how the Ministry of

Hospital and Providence Hospital have their own pension plans. Of these,

Labour is handling these issues across the province, so

Grand River and St. Michael’s also partially participate in HOOPP for some,

we decided to post the MOL orders we receive from

but not all, of their employees. These are employer-sponsored plans and

our members,” said ONA Health and Safety Specialist

we have no representation on the governing boards.

Nancy Johnson. “By making these orders publicly ac-

As a result of the psychiatric hospital divestments, some ONA mem-

cessible on the website, we are giving ONA members

bers are currently members of the Ontario Public Service Employees

specific information they can use to show employers

Union (OPSEU) Pension Trust (OPT) and a number continue to hold past

what has been required of similar employers around

service with that plan. OPT is jointly governed by OPSEU and the provin-

the province, and press for provincially consistent best

cial government.


The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) cov-

The Ministry orders – found under the Enforcement

ers municipal employees in Ontario. ONA members covered by this plan

tab under Health and Safety – are sorted into several

include those working in public health and municipal homes for the aged.

hazard headings, including chemical, work design,

Many nurses employed by community care access centres (CCACs) also

biological and internal responsibility system/law.

hold past service with OMERS, dating back to the creation of the CCACs

So far, health care employers have been cited for a

when HOOPP was established as the pension plan for them all. OMERS is

wide range of infractions including:

jointly governed, but due to our low number of members, we do not have

• Failure to notify Joint Health and Safety

representation on the governing board. Members in the long-term care sector mainly participate in the Nurs-

Committees and workers of occupational injuries and illnesses as required by law.

ing Homes and Related Industries Pension Plan (NHRIPP). NHRIPP is a

• Tripping and ergonomic hazards.

union-sponsored target benefit plan. ONA has a trustee and an alternate

• Equipment deficiencies such as incorrect lifting

trustee on the NHRIPP board. The Victorian Order of Nurses and Canadian Blood Services (CBS) both offer defined benefit pension plans to their employees. Nurses work-

equipment, personal protective equipment, etc. • Too many “supervisors” (as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act).

ing for General Motors and Chrysler Canada are covered by the plans

“The information from the orders will help members re-

offered by those companies. Of these, ONA has an alternate union trustee

alize that they’re not alone. There are similar issues and

on the CBS plan.

infractions arising across all sectors,” noted Johnson.

The plans named above cover the vast majority of workplaces where

To read the MOL orders, visit If

ONA has bargaining rights. There are still a few employers who offer only

an inspector visits your workplace and leaves a report,

group RRSPs or defined contribution plans, but we continue to work to-

please scan a copy and e-mail it to

wards bringing those members into a more mainstream defined benefit

An ONA Health and Safety Specialist will review and


select ones to post on the website.



Professional Practice

College Verifies Importance of ONA Workload Forms ONA has verified with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) that our Professional Responsibility Workload Report Forms (PRWRF) are an integral part of a complaint review after a comment made by a College representative left some members in doubt. During a recent College presentation at one of our Bargaining Units, members commented that they were fearful of losing their licences over workload concerns and were filling out PRWRFs to protect themselves, asking if the College felt this was important. Members tell us the response was that it was not, and that in a situation where an RN is investigated, only documentation from the patient chart is looked at, and if a complaint went to court, the PRWRF would not be admitted. Members felt the take away message was that these forms are not worth the time or effort to complete. ONA sought confirmation from the CNO that these comments do not represent its position. The

care and demonstrates individual accountability

ONA Policy 16.16: Member Discipline Decisions

by providing a record of the nurse’s application of

On April 30, 2012, two hearings were held by a discipline committee of the Board of

the standards of practice. Where work situations

Directors regarding complaints that two members were guilty of conduct detrimental

impact on the ability to provide safe and ethical

to the advancement of the purposes of/or reflecting discredit upon the union contrary

care, the College expects nurses to take appropri-

to Article 9 of the Constitution.

College responded that its standards emphasize that documentation in the client’s health record is a critical component of providing safe client

ate steps to advocate for a quality practice setting.

In both matters, the Board found that the members had engaged in activity that

The College also noted that if a review or com-

was detrimental to the best interests of ONA and their Local. The Board suspended

plaint is made about nursing care, it collects infor-

their membership privileges.

mation from a variety of sources, including copies

Such suspensions mean the members cannot hold union office at the Local or

of relevant documents such as the client health re-

provincial level, and they cannot attend ONA meetings at the Local or provincial level.

cord, letters or e-mail correspondence, and hand-

As a member of the Bargaining Unit, they are permitted to attend ratification meetings

written notes or statements. If relevant to nursing

and to vote at those meetings. The affected Local executives have been notified of these

practice, a completed PRWRF would also be col-


lected and reviewed. So please continue to fill out your workload forms; they really do make a difference!

Local and Bargaining Unit leaders are reminded that when conducting elections and/or appointing for vacant positions to contact ONA to confirm the entitlement status of the members involved.



Student Affiliation

PAY Equity

PAY EQUITY ALERT! Keep Your Address Current with Former Employers! ONA is currently negotiating pay equity with virtually every ONA employer. These negotiations will last for some time. If you leave/or have left the employ of any employer since 2009, ensure your former employer is notified of your current address. If ONA successfully negotiates retroactive money, your past employer(s) will only be obligated to contact you at your last known address. It is your obligation to keep your address current.

Hold on to Your Membership Card!

ONA Really Does Have Students’ Backs!

Ontario Nurses’ Association

Canadian Nursing Students’ Association Ontario Regional Conference Directors Vanna Kazazian (left) and Vikky Leung stand beside images of nursing students, including Lueng, on an ONA display board during their conference in late October. Under the theme

Our Union Respected Strong United Linda Haslam-Stroud ID 1122330

DIVE into Nursing: Diversity and Inclusivity Via Empowerment, the conference, hosted by Ryerson University’s Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Toronto, explored a wide variety of topics, including mental health, homelessness, social media and political activism, as well as Aboriginal and LGBTTIQQ2SA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited and allies) communities. Several speakers, including Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers and Region 1 Vice-President Diane Parker, and workshops explored various topics, including how nurses can provide holistic and quality care in a variety of community and health care settings. Students were also given the opportunity to display and share their work, including research projects, scholarly papers/publications, research posters and nursing initiatives, with conference attendees. ONA handed out information about our services and answered questions at our booth, which proved very popular among the students.



For those of you used to throwing out your ONA membership card at the end of each year, just a reminder that the card you received in 2012 is permanent and should be retained. Based on feedback from our members and leaders, in 2012 we issued permanent lifetime membership cards to eligible members, meaning new cards will no longer be distributed at the beginning of each year. However, should you change your name or lose your card, we will issue a replacement. To make such a request, or if you have any other questions, contact ONA Dues and Membership Intake at (416) 964-8833 (Toronto) or (toll-free) 1-800-387-5580, ext. 2200 or

Human Rights and Equity

We’re Listening!

Acting on Your HR&E Feedback Each year at the Human Rights and Equity Caucus breakout sessions, ONA members provide invaluable suggestions to promote and move equity issues forward for our membership.

• Increase membership engagement in the area of human rights and equity. • Develop leadership skills on the Human Rights and Equity Team. Using members’ suggestions and input from

were developed and are delivered by ONA’s Provincial Education Coordination Team: • Obligations in Representing Members under the Human Rights Code. • Basic Introduction to the Human Rights

With this feedback, we are able to assess

the team, tactics are developed to support

our areas of strength in representing our

these strategies. For example, each issue of

• Harassment, Mobbing and Bullying.

members and areas that need improvement.

Front Lines has a dedicated article on human

• Violence in the Workplace.

It allows us to confirm the specific forms of

rights issues. This year, we educated members

• Supporting Members with Addictions.

discrimination and harassment that persist in

about sexual assault in the workplace; pro-

• Duty to Accommodate.

members’ workplaces and to identify new is-

vided highlights of ONA’s participation in the

The role of the Bargaining Unit Human Rights

sues and trends that need our attention.

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy

and Equity Representative continues to grow

How is Members’ Feedback Reviewed?

consultation on mental illness and addictions

as members share their knowledge and ex-

in the workplace; and reviewed the basics of

perience in the role and the importance of

attendance management programs and the

diversity in their workplaces.

The key messages and feedback from members participating in the Caucus breakout sessions are first reviewed for clarity by the facilitators of the sessions, who are members of the provincial Human Rights and Equity Team. The information is collated and then evaluated and reviewed in detail by all members of the team. In fact, the team goes over the information line by line, ensuring nothing is overlooked.

How has Member Feedback Shaped the Work of the Union?

employer’s human rights obligations. It is thanks to your suggestions that the

rise and the equity group representing Members with Disabilities suggested that more

oped and published for all members. The

support was required. As a result, a RTW Spe-

bulletins have been a huge success and a

cialist is now part of Team ONA and we are

great resource.

in the process of creating a RTW Network,

We know from your feedback that edu-

Relations Officers.

from members in all five equity groups and

Keep Your Feedback Coming!

members who are Friends and Allies. In 2012, the Human Rights and Equity Team brought members three provincial teleconnects. Partic-

veloped from members’ feedback aimed at

rights and the employer’s legal obligations,

enhancing ONA’s representation in the areas

practical strategies for immediate implemen-

of human rights and equity. The team uses

tation, and opportunities to pose questions to

these strategies to guide our work through-

ONA’s specialists in the following areas:

out the coming term/year.

• Bullying in the workplace.

to human rights and equity resources and education. • Increase and promote the human rights

which will be comprised of servicing Labour

cation is always a priority and a key message

ipants received core education on their human

• Increase members’ awareness and access

Return to work (RTW) issues are on the

Human Rights and Equity Bulletin was devel-

There have been a number of strategies de-

Currently, four strategies are in place:


• Putting the brakes on attendance management: What is permissible? • Understanding and respecting generational differences among health care professionals.

and equity profile with membership using

Also based on membership feedback, six hu-


man rights and equity education sessions

Your feedback will continue to assist in developing ONA into a leader in representing our diverse membership, and we encourage you to provide us with your ideas and suggestions at any time. Your comments can be forwarded to the Human Rights and Equity Team at email:; tel. (416) 964-1979 or (toll-free) 1-800-387-5580 (press 0 and follow the operator’s prompts to access the voicemail boxes for English (7768) or Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers, who holds the human rights and equity portfolio (7754). This is just another example of how ONA is listening to your needs and responding to them appropriately!



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.


industry. The hospital also pointed to the

Witness statements from the nurse who

language of the 1980 Hospitals of Ontario

assisted in the transfer and the worker’s part-

Disability Income Plan (HOODIP) brochure,

ner, to whom she complained when she fin-

LTD carrier cannot offset amount of HOOPP disability benefits for nurse who opts for free accrual

which provides that the amount of LTD ben-

ished her shift, corroborated her claim. The

efits payable are less than the amount of dis-

employer did not dispute that the particular

ability payments “available to the member”

patient to whom she was assigned was very

ONA and Timmins District Hospital

under her/his employer’s pension plan.

difficult, as he also suffered from Parkinson’s

(Arbitrator William Marcotte, October 9, 2012)

The arbitrator agreed with ONA that

disease and required a great deal of personal

the words “available to the member” in

care. The witnesses confirmed that at the

This is the second case that ONA has argued

the HOODIP brochure was ambiguous and

time of the incident, the personal support

and won regarding the deemed offset of

should not be interpreted in favour of the

workers who were responsible for the per-

Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)

insurance company. To receive HOOPP dis-

sonal care needs of the patients were not

disability benefits from long-term disability

ability benefits, the member must end her

present on the unit.


employment relationship. The arbitrator sur-

ONA also obtained evidence that the

The grievor suffered a brain tumour and

mised that by ending her employment rela-

worker’s symptoms did not progress as

had been off work since February 2009. She

tionship, she would lose a significant benefit,

quickly as would be expected because the

was approved for LTD benefits in September

which was never the intent of the parties.

day after the incident she became bed-rid-

of that year.

Accordingly, the arbitrator concluded that

den with a chest cold and, in fact, called in

Beginning in September 2011, the LTD

HOOPP disability benefits were not “avail-

sick for her next scheduled shift. Her neck

carrier began threatening the grievor that

able” to her for the purposes of LTD offset,

symptoms continued, but were mild com-

if she did not apply for disability benefits

and ruled that the insurance carrier could not

pared to the chest cold for which she visited

under the hospital’s pension plan (HOOPP),

properly offset that amount.

the emergency department (to see if she

it would begin deducting or offsetting an amount equivalent to those benefits from her monthly LTD. The grievor applied for HOOPP disability benefits and was given the option to either accept the benefit or contin-


ONA, the grievor opted for free accrual. The

Case underscores need for immediate reporting, value of good witnesses

grievor also applied for and began receiving

East Hospital

ue to receive free accrual. Under the advice of

CPP disability benefits, which were properly deducted from her LTD. In March 2012, the LTD carrier began offsetting the estimated HOOPP disability

(October 19, 2012) This ONA win is from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT), the highest level of appeal of WSIB decisions.

benefit, which was equivalent to $1,035 per

In 2006, a 38-year-old part-time nurse

month. ONA filed a grievance and expedited

suffered a cervical injury when transferring

it to arbitration.

a dead weight patient from a walker/chair to

At the hearing, ONA made similar argu-

bed in the adult psychiatry department. The

ments to the ones raised in the Cambridge

worker didn’t report the incident until 13 days

Memorial Hospital case. The hospital called

later when her symptoms had progressed to

an expert witness to testify that deemed off-

total disability. WSIB denied the claim be-

sets were a normal feature in the insurance

cause there was “no proof of accident.”



needed antibiotics). It wasn’t until she had returned to her regular duties on day shift that her symptoms

worsened to the point she sought medical attention. Her physician ordered her off work immediately and referred her to a physiatrist


and a neurologist, and for an MRI. By the time

Carrier allegations unfounded

she saw the neurologist two months later,

Hospital, Region 5

she had been “diagnosed” as pregnant and

(August 18, 2011)

was ordered off work completely until after

Following work-related musculo-skeletal

the pregnancy due to possible catastrophic

injuries, a member suffered from atypi-

injury that could occur because of her cervi-

cal pain and multi-focal limited range of

cal spine instability. ONA obtained medical

motion problems. She consulted with a

reports from the worker’s physician and spe-

physiatrist in the fall of 2009. Throughout

cialists and referred her to the Occupational

that year, the claimant returned to work

Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, which

with multiple restrictions.

provided confirmation of the compatibility of the injury with the mechanics of the lift.

Subsequently, the carrier stopped paying long-term disability benefits, re-

The WSIB Appeals Resolution Officer de-

lying on the opinion of a non-physician

nied the appeal because of the delay in re-

health practitioner that she was “fit to re-

porting. ONA took the file to WSIAT, where

turn to modified work.”

the panel found the worker’s testimony to be

Documentation obtained from a

credible and consistent with all the medical

health care practitioner of the carrier’s

reports, her own reporting, and statements

choice was deemed irrefutable despite

made at the time of the injury. They agreed

medical evidence from her physicians

with ONA that the delay in reporting should

that supported her claim. A strained, non-

not disentitle the worker, as the consistency

therapeutic patient-practitioner relation-

of her statements and the medical confirma-

ship influenced what the union argued

tion of compatibility show that the neck in-

was a clearly non-objective and gender-

jury was work-related.

biased report.

Now that the worker has initial entitle-

The carrier alluded to malingering

ment, further claims must be made for psy-

and non-compliance with recommended

chiatric disability due to the injury, perma-

treatment. Diagnostic testing and a neu-

nent impairment and further submissions

rosurgical consultation confirmed the

to the WSIB on level of impairment, as it will

existence of a significant congenital spi-

have to decide the amount of benefits. While

nal cord as well as secondary spinal cord

the worker has learned to manage her life

deformity and disc herniation. The claim-

with the physical injury, she has suffered se-

ant’s Occupational Health file revealed

vere psychological impact from it.

that she had sought medical intervention

Importance to ONA: This is a win for

for thoracic and lower back pain on nu-

ONA, and while the nurse must continue to

merous occasions throughout her em-

seek all proper entitlements from WSIB, her

ployment with the hospital. A functional

claim has been allowed. This case under-

abilities evaluation confirmed her inabil-

scores the need for immediate reporting and

ity to function efficiently, effectively and

the value of good witnesses. Our members

safely in her pre-disability occupation.

must report all incidents to protect them-

Benefits were reinstated, and the

selves, and to avoid the protracted argu-

claimant has now been back at work for

ments at all levels of the WSIB.

nearly two years.







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

ONA Front Lines December 2012  
ONA Front Lines December 2012  

The members' publication of the Ontario Nurses' Association.