Page 1

Vol. 14 • No. 1 MARCH 2014


The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

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

ONA Campaign Calls for More Nurses Now! Who better than ONA front-line members to warn about the dire consequences of continu-


Up Front.......................................................... 3 Member News.............................................. 6 ONA News....................................................11 Queen’s Park Update................................15 OHC................................................................15 Occupational Health & Safety...............16 Pensions........................................................17 Student Affiliation.....................................18 Education.....................................................19 Human Rights and Equity......................20 Awards and Decisions..............................22

Turn the page for an IMPORTANT LETTER from Your ONA President

ing down the path of eliminating RN positions in our province? In our clever new television and transit ads, ONA members Marcia Robinson (pictured), along with Cindy Orlicki, Roland Orlicki, Cathryn Hoy, Eve Edwards and Sabrina (Xiaoxia) Wu, explain what more nurses means to them.


’s aggressive public campaign calling for an end to nursing cuts to ensure the best possible care for our patients has officially launched, and its success depends largely on the involvement of our front-line members. On February 10, 2014, ONA unveiled our More Nurses-themed campaign, which features television and subway ads and a “microsite” (website) chalked full of information and tips on how you and our supporters can help fight for an appropriate number of registered nurses in our system. The television ad also began airing on February 10 and features several ONA members in a number of scenarios showing that Ontarians can’t predict when they will need a nurse. That was followed closely by a similarly-themed transit ad, promi- continues on page 3  ONTARIO NURSES’ ASSOCIATION 85 Grenville St., Ste. 400 Toronto ON M5S 3A2

How to contact

Editor: Ruth Featherstone

your 2014 ONA Board of Directors Call ONA toll-free at 1-800-387-5580 (press 0) or (416) 964-8833 in Toronto and follow the

Features Editor: Melanie Levenson

Vol. 14 • No. 1 MARCH 2014

operator’s prompts to access board members’ voice-mail. Voice-mail numbers (VM) for Board members in the Toronto office are listed below.

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

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

Send submissions to:

ONA Provincial Office

Communications and Government Relations

85 Grenville St., Ste. 400

Intake at

Toronto ON M5S 3A2

Contributors: Karen Bertrand, Sheree Bond,

Tel: (416) 964-8833

Mary Lou King, Enid Mitchell, Stacey Papernick,

Toll free: 1-800-387-5580

Simran Prihar, Katherine Russo, Tricia Sadoway,

Fax: (416) 964-8864

Lawrence Walter


The Members’ Publication of the Ontario Nurses’ Association

on our website at

Vicki McKenna, RN

First VP, VM #2314 Political Action & Professional Issues

Front Lines can be accessed

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 14,000 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 Human Rights & Equity

Copyright © 2014 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 Occupational Health & Safety

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 1069 Wellington Rd. South, Ste. 109 London, ON N6E 2H6 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

Michael Balagus

Chief Executive Officer / Chief Administrative Officer


Design: Artifact graphic design (

MARCH 2014

#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

ONA Campaign Calls for More Nurses

nently placed at the Queen’s Park subway station in downtown Toronto for maximum viewing by those who work in government and make decisions for our province.

The Current Situation With the elimination of RN positions a regular occurrence throughout Ontario, and a provincial election a strong possibly for late spring, the time was ripe to launch our most ambitious campaign to date. The statistics driving our campaign are sobering. Since 2012, the Ontario government has cut almost 1,400 nursing positions and there are currently 800 fewer fulltime RNs, giving our province the unfortunate distinction of having the second lowest nurse-to-patient ratio in the country. Just to catch up we would need to hire 17,500 additional nurses. Add to that the fact that in 2013 the average age of an RN was 45.5 years, 25 per cent of employed RNs were 55 and 13 per cent over 60, and it’s not hard to see that we have a serious crisis on our hand. “To say that unsafe registered nurse staffing levels are stretching nursing care too thin

and putting our patients at risk is a gross understatement,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. If our system was staffed with the appropriate number of nurses, it would result in more nursing care for each patient, shorter wait times, fewer complications and lower death rates for patients, saving the health care system significant money. Instead of cutting nurses, we need to train and hire more so we can provide the highest-quality care for everyone.”

Tim Hudak’s Anti-Nurse, Anti-Union Plan To make matters worse, we are also faced with the real threat of a Tim Hudak-led Conservative government, which will privatize health care services even more, bringing in an American-style two-tiered health care system. The rich will get the best care, and the rest of us? Well, we will get whatever is left over. “If that isn’t a frightening enough prospect, Mr. Hudak will also cut our pensions, increase workload and impose a two-year wage freeze” added Haslam-Stroud. “Attacking nurses may drive them out of nursing in

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud launches our More Nurses campaign at Ryerson University on February 10, 2014.

the province and discourage young people from choosing this profession altogether.”

How You Can Help Our future could look very different – and that’s where you come in. Our campaign is a starting point to get our members mobilized in this fight, and we have made it very easy to do. From sending a templated letter to your MPP to photographing yourself with one of our More Nurses signs to spreading the message to the people in your life, log on to to learn what you can do (see story below) or ask your Local leader for one of our campaign pamphlets. Every little bit helps.


New Website Speaks to our Core Message: More Nurses! ONA’s campaign to inform Ontarians that more registered nurses are

Submission instructions are available at Cap-

needed in our health care system is making a virtual impact of its own.

ture one of the nursing themes above or create your own and send it

Launched last month, our website provides visitors many – and simple – opportunities to show support to nurses across Ontario. Boasting a colourful and engaging design, the site houses several interactive sections: • A robust activity centre that includes videos and photos that ensures ONA’s key message is heard loud and clear: Ontario needs

to us – it may be featured on the website. • Notes to Nurses. Visitors can send personal notes of encouragement to front-line nurses. It’s nurses’ own personal e-bulletin board! • Take a small step in political action: Users are encouraged to send an email to a local MPP to tell him/her to hire more nurses – enough with the RN cuts! • Download our graphics. Through your personal social media ac-

more nurses. Web visitors can submit videos and images that

counts, share our photos and graphics with your followers and

speak to this important issue. Tell us about your nursing story us-

tell them that RN cuts are a no-no.

ing video or photos: - Why did you become a nurse? - What are your challenges in your day-to-day worklife? - How can it be better?

Be sure to participate in the discussion: Ontario Needs More Nurses! Visit the website often as information is updated regularly.

MARCH 2014


From ONA President Chronique de la présidente, AIIO

Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN

More Registered Nurses Now!


here likely isn’t an ONA member in the province who is unaware of the challenges to patient care created by unrelenting RN cuts. While your union has been out there decrying the watering down of nursing care that is the result of multiple years of hospital underfunding, including two fiscal years of zero base funding increases, the cuts have continued. This month, ONA is saying enough! As you can see from our cover, on February 10, ONA launched a very ambitious, public campaign to call for an end to nursing cuts – and for more nurses for Ontario. As ONA has always emphasized, you – our front-line members and the face of health care to Ontarians – have a vital role to play in making this campaign go far. There is no question that the quality of care is suffering as employers cut the front lines to balance the bottom line. As nurses are the face of care, I am asking everyone to support the campaign, Please join in to talk to your colleagues, friends, advocating for neighbours and families about the safer, high-quality link between RN staffing levels and patient care. positive patient health outcomes, and about the savings the system would enjoy if we could provide the best-quality care to patients that comes with safe staffing levels. As the cuts have continued, Ontario has had the dubious honour of having the second-worst RN-to-population ratio in the entire country. Not only are we as nurses suffering from more illness and injury due to stress and burnout, our patients are suffering. This is simply unacceptable. As your More Nurses campaign continues, I ask that you please consider supporting it locally. ONA is here to help! We need more nurses now. Please join in advocating for safer, high-quality patient care.


MARCH 2014

Plus d’infirmières et infirmiers autorisés dès maintenant!


ous les membres de l’AIIO sont probablement bien conscients des défis posés par les incessantes suppressions de postes d’infirmières et d’infirmiers autorisés en ce qui a trait aux soins des patients. Les coupes se poursuivent, bien que votre syndicat ait dénoncé haut et fort l’affaiblissement des soins infirmiers résultant de nombreuses années marquées par le sous-financement des hôpitaux, dont deux exercices financiers sans aucune hausse du financement de base. Ce mois-ci, l’AIIO dit que c’est assez! Comme vous pouvez le constater sur la page couverture de notre publication, le 4 février, l’AIIO a lancé une campagne publique très ambitieuse pour réclamer la fin des abolitions de postes et exiger que l’Ontario se dote d’un plus grand nombre d’infirmières et d’infirmiers. Il ne fait aucun doute que la qualité des soins souffre des coupes que les employeurs font subir aux employés de première ligne afin d’équilibrer leur bilan financier. Puisque c’est vous qui incarnez la réalité des soins de santé, je demande à chacune et à chacun d’entre vous de soutenir la campagne et de discuter avec vos collègues, vos amis, vos voisins et vos proches du lien qui existe entre le nombre d’IA et les résultats de santé des patients, ainsi que des économies qui pourraient être réalisées dans le système si nous pouvions offrir aux patients les soins de qualité optimale associés à des niveaux de dotation adéquats. C’est une véritable honte pour nous qui sommes les porte-parole des patients. Nous, les infirmières, subissons plus de blessures et de maladies liées au stress et à l’épuisement professionnel, et nos patients souffrent également. C’est tout simplement inacceptable. Notre campagne Plus d’infirmières se poursuit, et je vous demande de penser au soutien que vous pouvez y apporter à l’échelle locale. L’AIIO est là pour aider. Nous avons besoin de plus d’infirmières et d’infirmiers dès maintenant. S’il vous plaît, joignez-vous à notre campagne pour réclamer que les patients bénéficient sans tarder d’une prestation de soins de santé plus sécuritaire et de qualité.

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

Vicki McKenna, RN

We Must all do our Part to Improve Health Care

Nous devons tous contribuer à améliorer les soins de santé

hile the annual action plan of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) is always something we encourage our members to help bring to life, with an impending provincial election and the Tim Hudak-led Tories bent on privatizing our health care system, it is even more crucial that we all do our part. The action plan, a blueprint of the campaigns the OHC and its members, including ONA, will embark on this year, was designed in part by our members and staff during the OHC’s Health Action Assembly this past November and issues dozens of recommendations under eight broad categories. Not surprisingly, the action plan focuses heavily on the prospect of a May provincial election, with plans for a public campaign that will build support for improved funding for health care services, provide a party platform comparison and educate the public on their choices. You can be sure ONA will be piggybacking this campaign in conjunction with our own. I am imploring Other actions for this year inyou to support the clude: conducting a media tour OHC’s action plan. across Ontario to bring attention to inadequate care levels for longterm care residents; calling for a public inquiry into violations of the Canada Health Act by private clinics; conducting a door-todoor campaign to stop the dismantling of community hospitals; promoting progressive reform in home care; and supporting the national campaign to win a renegotiated Health Accord with stable funding and national standards. I am imploring each and every one of you to support the action plan in any way you can, including joining the activities of your own local health coalitions. In today’s fragile political climate, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the very future of our profession, our health care system, the care we provide to our patients/clients/residents and our union is at stake.

ous encourageons toujours nos membres à contribuer à la réalisation du plan d’action annuel de l’Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), mais devant l’imminence d’une élection provinciale et la détermination des conservateurs de Tim Hudak à privatiser encore plus les services de soins de santé, notre participation collective est encore plus importante. Ce plan d’action fournit l’orientation des campagnes que l’OHC et ses membres, y compris l’AIIO, entreprendront cette année. Conçu en partie par nos membres et notre personnel lors de l’Assemblée pour une action en santé en novembre dernier, il contient des dizaines de recommandations réparties dans huit grandes catégories. Sans surprise, le plan d’action met beaucoup l’accent sur la perspective d’une élection provinciale. Vous pouvez être assurés que l’AIIO soutiendra cette campagne conjointement à la sienne. Voici d’autres activités au programme pour cette année : nous organiserons une tournée médiatique dans l’ensemble de l’Ontario avec une chaise berçante géante afin d’attirer l’attention sur le niveau inadéquat des soins offerts aux résidents des établissements de soins de longue durée; nous réclamerons une enquête publique sur les infractions à la Loi canadienne sur la santé par les cliniques privées; nous effectuerons une campagne de porte-à-porte pour mettre fin aux fermetures d’hôpitaux communautaires; nous ferons la promotion d’une réforme progressive des soins à domicile; et nous soutiendrons la campagne nationale visant l’obtention d’un accord renégocié sur les soins de santé prévoyant un financement stable et des normes nationales. J’encourage fortement chacune et chacun d’entre vous à soutenir le plan d’action dans la mesure de vos moyens, notamment en participant aux activités organisées par votre coalition de santé locale. Vu le climat politique précaire qui prévaut actuellement, je ne crois pas exagéré d’affirmer que c’est l’avenir même de notre profession, de notre système de soins de santé, des soins que nous fournissons à nos patients/clients/résidents et de notre syndicat qui est en jeu.



MARCH 2014


ONA Members Across Ontario

Post-Acute Patients Need RN Skills, Rouge Valley IAC Hears After repeatedly trying to find solutions with Rouge Valley Health System, registered nurses in the hospital’s post-acute care unit have called for an Independent Assessment Committee to review their continuing professional practice and workload concerns. At issue is that half the RN and RPN positions in the unit have been replaced with unregulated care providers, leaving nurseto-patient ratios unsafe, unmanageable and dangerous for patients. The RNs have consistently provided written documentation to hospital administrators outlining their inability to properly and safely provide patient care, but the hospital has refused to staff the department with an appropriate number of RNs. “While the patients are post-acute care, they have complex medical issues with multiple health conditions that require the broad scope of practice, skills, knowledge and ex-

Nurses from the post-acute care unit of Rouge Valley Health System get together with

perience that RNs bring to the table,” said

leaders and staff on January 9, 2014 following the Independent Assessment Commit-

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “Unfor-

tee hearing into their workload concerns. Pictured are (back row, left to right): Region

tunately, I suspect that balancing the budget

3 Vice-President Andy Summers, Local 24 Coordinator Dianne Brunton, RNs Sue Pe-

has taken priority over that.”

schke, Marlene Badgley, Mary Deli and Connie Ortiz. Front row (left to right): Profes-

The IAC, a panel of three nursing experts,

sional Practice Specialist Meni Didimos-Bryant, Bargaining Unit President Carol

conducted a hearing into the post-acute

Oates, Labour Relations Officer Andrea Kay, Professional Practice Specialist Jo Anne

care unit on January 7-8, 2014 to determine

Shannon, RNs Brenda Barnes and Anne Richardson, and Chris Axtell, the Professional

whether nurses are being assigned more

Responsibility/Labour Relations Advisor for the United Nurses of Alberta, who offered

work than is consistent with the provision of

his assistance and showed support to the IAC process.

proper patient care. Their recommendations are expected to be released at any time, and Front Lines will report on them in the next issue. “While an IAC is always a last resort, we commend our nurses for coming forward with these serious issues,” added HaslamStroud. “We look forward to seeing the recommendations of the IAC panel and to working with the hospital to ensure that our patients receive the quality professional nursing care they so deserve to ensure positive health outcomes.”


MARCH 2014

And the Winner of the iPad Mini is.... Kristen Corbett from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance! Corbett submitted an update to her ONA contact information, as requested in the October issue of Front Lines, and was automatically entered in the Update Your Info contest. More than 1,000 members submitted changes. Thanks to all who provided ONA with contact updates. If you still need to forward ONA this important information, please do so online at

Employer Implements Changes to Medical Unit and Beyond Thanks to ONA PRC A significant Professional Responsibility Complaint (PRC) settlement at Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital has resulted in improvements not only to the unit in question, but the entire facility.


and medication administration issues – escalated and were documented on ONA pro-

Windsor Locals Show True Leadership during Merger

fessional responsibility workload complaint forms.

ONA members have shown true leadership and a

In March 2010, practice and workload concerns of RNs on the hospital’s medical unit – including inadequate base and relief staff, resulting in unfilled shifts on the posted schedule, inability to replace sick calls, inadequate evening and night shift staffing, insufficient staff to travel to other units to implement dialysis, and pharmacy

Keen to reach a resolution, management, including the Vice-President and Chief Nursing Executive, and at times the CEO, began meeting with ONA in 2011 and continued to do so over the next two-plus years, finally culminating in the signing of a

commitment to the success of the recent merger of two Locals in Region 5. The transfer of services between Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital re-

Minutes of Settlement last October. The resolutions of the settlement, which is binding, resulted in positive changes,

sulted in a significant shift of members between

not only on the medical unit but throughout the entire facility. They include:

the two facilities. These hospitals represented the

• Improvements in staffing on the unit, including an additional RN added to the

core of membership in two different Locals, and the shift meant a merger of the Locals would need

evening shift and an RPN added to the night shift seven days a week. • Alleviation of non-nursing duties, including the creation of a hospital-wide portering team, increased clerical support, an expansion of staffing office hours to

to take place. To the credit of the senior leadership of both

eliminate the need for RNs to spend time calling replacement staff, and increased

Locals, the merger was anticipated and some very

pharmacy support, including the removal of the pharmacist responsibilities that

early meetings took place to compare polices, fi-

had been downloaded to RNs.

nancial priorities and overall function. There were

• Improved orientation/mentorship and training/in-service to new and existing RNs,

differences, but both teams placed a membership filter to every decision.

and tools to help determine the appropriate category of care provider. • There is a new level of respect for the PRC process and increased input of and re-

“Absolutely, there were compromises, but in the end the team developed a draft template of

spect for front-line RNs in decision making affecting their practice. “Workload is the number one issue of our members, but this settlement proves that ONA is helping make positive changes to your working lives,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “It’s also a huge win for our members’ colleagues throughout the hospital and, most importantly, their patients, who will reap the benefits of their tenacity. And it was achieved without the use of an Independent Assessment Committee. We look forward to continuing to work with the employer on these significant improvements.”

policies and financial priorities that supported all the Bargaining Units and the members that they service,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. Elections were held for the new Local executive, members were engaged and it was an exciting day, with more than 450 ballots cast. Congratulations to Susan Sommerdyk, who was the successful candidate for Local Coordinator of the

ONA Celebrates Black History Month

“new” Local 8, and is the Bargaining Unit President for Windsor Regional Hospital, and Jo-Dee Brown, the Bargaining Unit President for Hotel-

ONA joined with our friends and allies throughout North America in celebrating Black History Month this past February.

Dieu Grace. “The entire leadership team at both the Bar-

Black History Month is an opportunity to share the historical and current

gaining Unit and Local level are committed to the

contributions of African Canadians and African Americans in areas such as medi-

success of this merger,” added Haslam-Stroud. “I

cine, public service, education, art, culture, economic development, politics and

want to thank all of them for their leadership dur-

human rights.

ing this process.”

MARCH 2014


ONA Members Across Ontario

Time to Get Ready for Nursing Week! Nursing Week 2014 is just a few weeks away and we urge you to start planning activities to acknowledge and celebrate your important profession. Nursing Week recognizes the year-round dedication and achievements of RNs, RPNs and nurse practitioners and increases awareness of their contributions to the well-being of Canadians. This year, Nursing Week will be held from May 12-18, building on the messages from our More Nurses campaign. As usual, we will be offering Nursing Week posters, buttons, small tokens of our appreciation for your dedication all year round and other special surprises. Members of the Board of Directors will also be making site visits across the province to cel-

When Beds Closed During Summer Never Reopen…

ebrate with members firsthand and discuss your current realities. It is important that you take this opportunity to

ONA members from across Eastern Ontario, including (left to right) Julie Nyswander and Kristen Penney from Pembroke Regional Hospital and Bargaining Unit President Blaine Davidson and Ashley Miller from Arnprior Regional Health join other hospital staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union at the Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital on December 10, 2013 to lobby for the reopening of six acute care beds, closed since last June. The unions report that the hospital went from destaffing six beds indefinitely, to claiming it was only four beds and that they are trying to send patients home faster. Now, the hospital is telling nursing staff that the beds are open, but they are yet to be properly staffed while patients are held in the ER. “The hospital has gone from 30 beds to 24, which we feel will lead to the eventual closing and loss of funding for those beds and the subsequent loss of RN positions,” said Davidson, who also spoke at the rally.

Bargaining Updates 8

MARCH 2014

honour and celebrate the achievements of Ontario’s nurses and your critical role in our health care system. Involve your colleagues and employer, community, nursing students and local elected officials too. A modified version of our Nursing Week Planning Guide, which is chalked full of tools and tips to help plan a successful event, can be found on our website at, under the “Nursing Week” tab. (Local leaders can find the full version containing order forms, on the Local Executive section of our website.) And don’t forget that when the week is over to please send Front Lines your stories and photos for a Nursing Week spread. Submissions can be emailed to Communications and Government Relations Intake at

ONA is the midst of bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association for a renewed contract for our members in the hospital sector. Negotiations for a new central nursing homes collective agreement will begin in the next few months as well. Be sure and check out all the latest bargaining news on our website at

Members Support Striking PSWs

When ONA members learned that personal

lifting, vital health promotion and preven-

care dollars are spent on front-line care, rath-

support workers (PSWs) were commencing a

tion functions and daily hands-on care for

er than company profits and excessive execu-

strike with Red Cross Care Partners, the lar-

tens of thousands of Ontarians.

tive salaries (right photo). We also handed out

gest home care agency in Ontario, they were quick to jump in and offer support.

ONA’s provincial office immediately sent out a communications to our Local lead-

gift cards to help the picketers who were without pay during the holidays (see pg. 13).

About 4,500 PSWs across the province,

ers and staff to join mass rallies being held

As ONA’s Orillia office is located in the

members of the Service Employees Inter-

throughout the province on the day the

same plaza as the Simcoe Muskoka Local

national Union (SEIU), went on strike on De-

strike commenced – and many of you an-

Health Integration Network, staff opened the

cember 11, 2013 after voting to reject the

swered our call, joining your fellow health

doors to the picketers, providing warmth,

employer’s latest offer over the key issues

care workers in communities such as Sault

coffee and bathroom facilities, and report

of wages (PSWs make between $12.50 and

Ste. Marie (left picture) and Thunder Bay.

they were extremely appreciative.

$15.02 an hour, don’t receive paid sick days

Provincially, members of the ONA Board

On Christmas Eve, the PSWs returned to

or have pensions, and the majority don’t re-

of Directors, including President Linda

work after agreeing to allow a provincially

ceive benefits) and travelling costs for home

Haslam-Stroud, marched in solidarity with

appointed arbitrator to assist in negotiating.

visits. This largely female workforce all too

PSWs from City Hall to Queen’s Park to call

The new contract was issued on January 8,

often works and lives in poverty doing heavy

on the Ontario government to ensure home


Graphic courtesy of the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Reprinted with permission

Happy Social Work Week! ONA extends a very happy National Social Work (SW) Week to our SW members throughout Ontario. Much like Nursing Week, SW Week, held this year from March 3-9, is set aside to laud the role and contributions of these highly skilled professionals, who enhance health care by helping people of all ages, backgrounds and income levels participate more fully in relationships, work, and home and community life. They also address complex social problems, such as the multiple impact of poverty, the lack of adequate housing and barriers imposed by discrimination. The theme for this year’s SW Week is Social Workers: Champions of Positive Change, meant to highlight that social workers support positive change, rooted in practical problem-solving, which has the potential to improve the lives of individuals and society as a whole. ONA is proud of our SW members, who work in many sectors and are a component of our allied health group.

MARCH 2014


ONA Members Across Ontario

Public Health RN Pens Inspiring Poem

I am a Nurse

An ONA public health nurse has written a power-

With my hands I heal.




ful poem about what it truly means to be a nurse

I value knowledge. I re-

With my heart I love and care.

– regardless of whether you have a degree.

spect the work it takes to

With my eyes I assess.

Stephanie Vrkljan (pictured), who works at

get a degree. I respect the

With my mind I learn.

the Durham Region Public Health Unit, wrote the

process,” she said. “Saying

With my soul I feel.

poem during Nursing Week 2013 “to remind us

all this, I feel that experi-

With my very being I forgive.

to tell each other that we are valued and appreci-

ence should also be considered as valid higher-

With my life I sacrifice.

ated for our work and who we are.”

level education. We are slowly going down in

With these 25 years came dedication.

A graduate of a college nursing program in

numbers with retirement and career changes,

With my mentors came inspiration.

1988, Vrkljan said she feels her worth has been

but I have another 10 years of nursing or more in

With my experience I share.

lost and that her experience is not taken into

me and I want to be acknowledged for my ability.

With my smile I encourage.

consideration because she doesn’t have a de-

“I hope this poem makes all RNs remember

gree. While she has taken courses to obtain her

where they came from, what they have been

With my deeds comes the truth.

BScN, with four kids, two of whom are in post-

through and to see their value. The years and the

With all this I will continue forward.

secondary education, money for tuition is spent

pain, heartache and trauma we have endured to

I serve my clients.

on them first.

be who we are should be enough.”

I serve my community.

With my words comes value.

I am an example to my children. I am a provider for my family. I am needed and loved. I will stand through the biggest storms. I will do what is right not what is easy. I will mentor others. I will grow everyday in knowing. I have always done my best. — Stephanie Vrkljan

Heading to the Hill! ONA Local and provincial leaders, including Region 2 VicePresident Anne Clark (in red, left photo), and Local 83 Coordinator Frances Smith and Region 1 Vice-President Pam Mancuso (right photo) take the opportunity of Lobby Day 2013, held on Parliament Hill on December 3, to discuss Accord and cuts to federal funding support for health care,

Northern Reflections

the need for a continuing care program for seniors and

Local 73 Coordinator Donna Wheal (far right) and First Vice-Coordinator

those with chronic illness and a national Pharmacare

Myra Pyhtila (far left) accompany Region 1 Vice-President Pam Mancuso (in

program with federal politicians, including Paul Dewar, MP

white jacket) as she conducts a site visit of Thunder Bay Regional Health

for Ottawa Centre and Bryan Hayes, MP for Sault Ste. Marie.

Sciences Centre on September 10, 2013. Site visits allow the Board of Direc-

To prepare participants, a briefing was held the day before,

tors to tour ONA members’ places of employment and see and learn about

along with a Seniors Health Care Plan for Canada National

your working experiences and realities firsthand. Also pictured are medical

Conference. Both events were organized by the Ontario

nurses Matt Shonosky, Lise Lozier, Katie Nyburg, Andrea Kromm, Carra

and Canadian Health Coalitions.

Morriseau and Jill Kuzmich.

the Harper government’s refusal to renew the Health


MARCH 2014

ONA News

Class Action for CCAC Members Settled

The following are key highlights from the Board of Direc-

The class action for community care access centre (CCAC) members is now

tors meeting, held December 9-12, 2013 at the ONA prov-

complete and the proceeds are being distributed.

incial office:


The CCAC class action was initiated by ONA Region 4 Vice-President Dianne

A Supplementary-funded Locals that have obtained

Leclair and Susan McSheffery of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union

pre-approval from the Vice-President of Local Finance

(OPSEU) for those who were members of several unions, including ONA and

will be supported to a maximum of $1,000 annually

OPSEU, between 1996-1998 and worked as employees for municipalities or

for the use of an ONA-designated teleconference line.

other employers providing home care services and were then transferred to a

A A contribution of $35,000 will be given to the Ontario

CCAC between 1996 and 1998, thereby continuing their employment without

Health Coalition for sponsorship, the special election

interruption and, consequently, have been a member of the Healthcare of On-

campaign and other campaigns. A sustaining spon-

tario Pension Plan (HOOPP).

sorship was also provided to the Canadian Health Co-

The settlement, mediated by former Judge George Adams, provides the class action members with $6.5 million dollars, plus interest. After the application pro-

alition for $5,000 for the 2014 fiscal year.

A Up to $5,000 will be allocated from the Human Rights budget to the 2014 World Pride event in Toronto this

cess was completed, this amounts to $5,553.71 per applicant. “Class actions are very legalistic and subject to very strict rules from the

June (for more on World Pride, see pg. 20).

courts,” noted ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. “This included how, what

A The $15,000 leadership monies from Johnson Inc., the

and when information could be communicated to class members, as well as the

provider of the ONA benefits plan, will be used to sup-

application process itself. While this has been an extremely long and arduous

port ONA’s Novice Leadership Conference in June.

journey, we thank you for your patience and determination in seeing it through

The following Board meeting was held at the ONA provin-

to a successful conclusion.”

cial office on February 10-13, 2014, just as Front Lines went

To learn more about the CCAC class action, visit

to press, and highlights will appear in the next issue.

There’s the Rich – and then there’s the Rest of Us ONA leaders, members and staff were among

local food bank in 2011, and more than 35 per

the 200 people who braved the brutal cold

cent of seniors live on less than $20,000 a year.

on January 20, 2014 to attend the fourth

Strategies to close the ever-growing in-

Rich and the Rest of Us town hall, this time in

come gap include creating good jobs, income


supports for low wage workers, accessible and

Through a panel presentation, open dis-

affordable public services and a more progres-

cussion and story sharing, the town hall re-

sive tax system.

layed how the attack on labour rights, the lack

The town hall was hosted by the All Togeth-

of tax fairness, the lack of an organized strat-

er Now! coalition of unions campaigning for

egy to create good jobs with good wages,

public services and tax fairness (ONA, Ontario

and the reduction in public services have all

Public Service Employees Union, Elementary

worked together to make income inequality

Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Ontario Pro-

worse. This is particularly meaningful to local residents as a recent report by Pathway to Pros-

Local 8 Coordinator Susan Sommerdyk

fessional Fire Fighters Association, Canadian

(left) and Region 5 Vice-President Karen

Media Guild and the Society of Energy Profes-


sionals) and followed similar events in Sudbury,

perity, an organizing partner of the town hall,

Kingston and Hamilton over the past year. To

reveals some alarming statistics about Wind-

cipients, about one in six children live in pov-

learn more about the campaign, log onto

sor-Essex: there are 18,500 social assistant re-

erty, almost 230,000 meals were served by the

MARCH 2014


ONA News

End RN Cuts and Hospital Underfunding, ONA Says Pre-Budget Presentation ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, supported by Government Relations Officer Lawrence Walter, presents to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park on January 16, 2014, urging the government to fund a multi-year plan of action to hire and maintain RN positions in hospitals to make significant progress in reducing the RN-to-population ratio gap in Ontario.

The Ontario government must end the

Ontario and the rest of Canada of more than

underfunding of Ontario hospitals and cuts

17,500 RNs.”

to RN positions if patient care needs are to be

Our presentations stressed that there is a

met, ONA has told the Standing Committee

dire need for more RNs to meet the increased

on Finance and Economic Affairs in a series

care needs of the complex, unstable patients in

of pre-budget presentations in communities

our hospitals while highlighting that patients

throughout the province.

with alternate levels of care needs are increas-

During the presentations, ONA provincial

ingly being moved to the community sector.

and Local leaders, including ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud and First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, and staff reiterated that hospitals have failed to keep up with the rate of inflation during the past four years, RN staffing levels in many hospitals have put patients at risk and increasingly, hospitals are

The zero per cent for hospital base budgets has to end if patients are to receive the highly-skilled nursing care they need.

for nurses and dangerous for patients. “It’s a shocking little secret that Ontario

must put in place a functioning Fiscal Advisory Committee and must make recommendations to their boards regarding operations and staffing in the hospital. • Fund a plan of action to consolidate a culture of safety in the health care sector and healthy work environments directed to RN staffing to improve nurse-to-patient ratios. Doing so will reduce the costs to the health care system of illness and injury of nurses and reduce the likelihood of patient readmission. • Fund a regulated minimum staffing standard in long-term care homes at an average level of four worked hours of nursing

looking to balance budgets by deskilling the RN workforce, leaving workloads excessive

pitals Act, specifying that every hospital

Specifically, ONA is proposing the following for priority action in the government’s 2014 budget:

and personal care per resident per day (including .78 RN hours) to meet increasing resident care needs. • Implement a policy of wage parity for home

has the second-lowest RN-to-population

• End underfunding of hospitals, which re-

ratio in the country, with just seven RNs for

sults in cuts to RNs and hurts patient care.

every 1,000 residents,” said Haslam-Stroud.

• Enforce a strong voice for front-line nurses

“Polls have shown how important health care

related to proposals that impact patient

is to Ontarians and it’s vital that we begin re-

care in our hospitals. Hospitals must be

To read our entire submission, log onto

ducing the gap that currently exists between

directed to comply with the Public Hos-


MARCH 2014

care nurses to build nurse staffing capacity in the community sector to address the complexity of care being delivered.

Spreading Some Much-Needed Cheer Heading to her home town of Hamilton, ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud managed to put smiles on the faces of members of the United Steelworkers, who have been on strike since last July (right photo). Their employer, Max Walking a picket line is never easy, but doing so during the holidays is even tougher.

Aicher, is seeking an hourly wage decrease of

With that in mind, ONA once again supported Operation Christmas Cheer, which ensures that

$7 to $11 an hour, a defined contribution pen-

every Ontarian on a picket line during the festive time of year receives a traditional turkey dinner,

sion plan instead of the current defined benefit

toys for their children and moral support. Not only did ONA provide a financial contribution to the

pension plan, cuts to benefits, the elimination

program, our members and staff donated gift cards, many at the November Provincial Coordina-

of a cost-of-living increase and a reduction in

tors Meeting, which we were able to distribute in person.

severance payments and vacations.

Region 3 Vice-President Andy Summers (middle, left photo) was flanked by striking United

“We know how important it is for our com-

Steelworkers, who were forced onto the picket lines last September because of unreasonable

munities that workers withdraw our labour,

demands to cut employee benefits, pension issues and the setting up of a two-tiered wage

when necessary, to make sure there are still

system by their employer, Crown Cork and Seal in Toronto.

good jobs around for our children’s genera-

With the strike of personal support workers employed by Red Cross Care Partners just a week

tion,” said Haslam-Stroud. “Being able to deliver

old (see pg. 9), ONA Director Marie Kelly was pleased to show ONA’s ongoing support by handing

some happiness to them on their picket lines at

an envelope full of gift cards to a Service Employees International Union representative at our

this time of year brings to mind the true mean-

provincial office in Toronto (middle photo).

ing of the holidays.”

LHINs Must Revamp Accountability Agreements, ONA Submission States Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) nei-

derstood exclusively in the blunt language of

ther safeguard the professional interests and

restructuring, including transforming, merg-

practice conditions of nurses, nor protect the

ing and dissolving, which has been more di-

delivery of quality care for patients, ONA says.

rected to cost-cutting, our submission states.

Our submission to the Standing Commit-

“We are of the view that LHNs must be re-

tee on Social Policy regarding a review of the

vamped to restore a focus on quality patient

Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 lists

care and publicly delivered health care in the

our concerns related to the current operation

public interest as a key objective,” ONA Presi-

and practices of LHINs and makes recom-

dent Linda Haslam-Stroud told the standing

mendations for improvements in the areas

committee during a presentation in Hamilton

viders across Ontario; the inclusion of public

of accountability and planning, access and

on January 28, 2014. “Our starting point is that

health as health care organizations within the

transparency, and quality.

effective integration of health care services is

LHINs’ planning mandate; that hospitals active-

fundamental of health care reform in the pub-

ly consult with and provide a strong voice for

lic interest.”

front-line nurses prior to any planned nursing

While original government statements concerning Ontario’s 14 LHINs offered promise that patients mattered in health care inte-

Our key recommendations include: that

gration decisions, ONA is concerned the evo-

LHINs develop an RN health human resource

lution of LHINs has not reflected this commit-

database and implement RN health human

ment. Instead, effective integration is now un-

resource planning in concert with health pro-

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud.

and clinical service reductions; and wage parity between institutional and community care. To read the full submission, log on to

MARCH 2014


ONA News

NEWS IN BRIEF E The Auditor General of Ontario has concluded that improvements are needed in Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care oversight and assessment of the effectiveness of its Nursing Strategy. Specifically, his recommendations include: monitoring nursing employment trends and assessing the outcome of nursing initiatives in transitioning graduating nurses to permanent full-time employment; assessing the reason for declining participation in its Nursing Graduate Guarantee and improving the program’s effectiveness; and monitoring nurse practitioner-led clinics more closely to ensure they are meeting program requirements and achieving their patient targets.

E A group of nurses, includ-

ing ONA members, and doctors are urging the Ontario government to raise



wage to $14 from $10.25 an hour, calling poverty the biggest barrier to good health. Members of Health Providers Against Poverty said there is a notable difference in meeting children’s developmental milestones and for school readiness in communities where there is more poverty, adding that hiking the minimum wage to $14 an hour would mean a pre-tax difference of $650 a month. Statistics Canada data show nine per cent of Ontario’s workforce, or almost 500,000 people, were working for minimum wage in 2011, more than double the number from 2003. At press time, the government announced it will raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour starting June 1, 2014 and will tie future increases to the rate of inflation.

E The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) wants the federal government to establish a collaborative Aging and Seniors Care Commission of Canada (ASCCC) to promote the health and well-being of Canadians as they age, enhance chronic disease prevention and management, and increase system capacity around frailty and vulnerability. The ASCCC would have a 10-year mandate to develop and implement a strategy on healthy aging in seniors’ care, including greater support for caregivers, and would also feature a health innovation fund to advance its implementation and infrastructure, the CNA said.


MARCH 2014


E Ontario is going ahead with a policy of moving procedures out of

non-profit clinics under the governance of hospitals and should not

hospitals into private clinics, starting with cataract and colonoscopy

be moved to private clinics that are not accountable under the Public

procedures. Other procedures will be considered, including dialysis,

Hospitals Act. Read ONA’s submission at

out-patient orthopedic, and other specialized services that do not require overnight stays in a hospital. Health care providers must apply to provide services under the new model, starting in early 2014. A new policy guide outlining eligibility criteria and standards for the new clinics is now available at ONA believes these patient care procedures are most safely provided in

E The Ontario government has announced $26.2 million for the Niagara Health System to plan a new hospital in South Niagara and two urgent care centres, as proposed by Dr. Kevin Smith’s report on the future of health care in the Niagara region. These facilities are intended to replace five existing hospitals in Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

OHC News OHC Honours ONA Members for Local Activism The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) has shown its appreciation to the local lobbying efforts of three of our members by bestowing them with the prestigious Daniel Benedict Award. At the OHC’s Health Action Assembly last November, the award was presented to Region 2 Vice-President Anne Clark (left) and Local 83 Coordinator Frances Smith, who was unable to attend, for their campaign to stop RN cuts at The Ottawa Hospital, and Local 111 Coordinator Susan Brickell (right) for her work rallying members and her community against the continuing erosion of RN positions at The Scarborough Hospital. The winners are supported here by Government Relations Officer Lawrence Walter, who attended the Health Action Assembly on behalf of ONA leadership. Named after the OHC founding member, the award is given annually to the person or persons who – working with one of the local health coalitions – best embodies Benedict’s spirit of extraordinary community activism and commitment to the protection and extension of public Medicare. “I truly enjoyed working with the Ontario Health Coalition,” said Brickell. “They are an amazing, energetic and knowledgeable group of advocates. It was a wonderful experience to be awarded the Daniel Benedict Award, and I was surprised and honoured to be put in the same category as all the past recipients.”

Added Smith, “I am very honoured and certainly recognize that there are many people in and outside of ONA who work tirelessly to advocate for Ontarians’ access to quality health care. This award is also proof that one can be a union activist advocating on behalf of our patients – adequate health care funding has to include adequate staffing to provide the care at the front lines. Our patients and families deserve this and we as Ontarians – and Canadians – should expect it.”

MARCH 2014


• •

OCCUPATIONAL Health & Safety

No More Health Workers Injured on the Job, ONA Demands! Recent statistics from the Public Services

lost from these exposures.

Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) show-

• The Ministry of Labour is prosecuting one

ing the health care sector leads other indus-

employer after two workers were beaten

tries in workplace injuries and exposures has

and hospitalized by a patient and a third

ONA questioning why more isn’t being done by the government to assist our members.

made ill. • The injury numbers don’t reflect the human toll, such as the veteran nurse who injured

The Grim Statistics

her back lifting children and is now perma-

The statistics reveal that in 2012, the health

nently disabled from her job. She can’t even

care sector led the workforce in illnesses and

lift her own children.

injuries related to exposures to contaminants. Six-hundred-and-twenty four violence-related injuries resulting in lost time were from the health care sector, almost twice as many as 11 other industries, including manufacturing,

struction, mining and industry.

ONA is questioning several gaps and initiatives, which we believe have left health care workers out in the cold.

agriculture, construction, education and electrical, combined. With MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), 3,075 lost-time injuries were from the health sector, just slightly behind the services industry and significantly ahead of manufacturing, transportation, construction and especially mining, which reported only 88 such injuries for the same period. Health care also led in exposures, with 941 lost-time injuries. As well, there were 1,155 lost-time injuries related to falls in the health care sector – the third highest rate for all industries in Ontario. And ONA has reason to believe that these numbers reflect under-reporting of the extent of the problems. “Sadly, these statistics are not surprising to us; we hear about these reports from our members on the front lines every day,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud. Here are just a few examples:

• The new MOL Chief Prevention Officer excluded health care from the Prevention Council, which advises and makes recommendations to the MOL to improve worker health and safety in the workplace. • The focus of the provincial Prevention Of-

“Justice Archie Campbell said in his ground-

fice is on vulnerable workers, small busi-

breaking SARS report that hospitals are as dan-

nesses and high-hazard work, but is not

gerous as mines and factories, yet lack the same

recognizing health care workers as vulner-

health and safety systems,” added Haslam-

able or the work they do as high hazard,

Stroud. “These statistics show that many more

meaning less prevention attention is di-

of our members are being hurt on the job than

rected to the health care industry.

those who work in mines and factories, which

• MOL resources are arranged in three

are generally considered to be more danger-

branches: construction, mining and in-

ous. So, why isn’t more being done?”

dustrial. The industrial group only has a very small group of health care inspectors,

The Current Problems Specifically, ONA is questioning several gaps and initiatives, which we believe have left

though statistics reflect that it is one of the most injured groups of workers. • It appears health and safety sections of the

health care workers out in the cold:

Criminal Code are not well understood by

• The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

enforcement officers and even when con-

(MOHLTC) and senior health care execu-

sidered, are only being used to prosecute

tives frequently demonstrate ignorance of

employers after a fatality occurs.

occupational health and safety laws and

ONA’s Solutions


• At a health unit where workers moved

• Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors are

Given the PSHSA statistics, ONA is demanding

into a new building, it took more than two

reluctant to issue meaningful orders and

that more be done to protect our members

years for management to pay serious at-

repeatedly fail to adequately ensure that

and other health care workers, including:

tention to their complaints of headaches

health care employers are compliant with

• That the MOHLTC ensures health and safe-

and cognitive problems, and finally discov-

the Occupational Health and Safety Act and

ty is put into CEOs’ and health administra-

er noxious fumes from new carpets gener-

its regulations.

tors’ accountability agreements and they

ating volatile organic compounds. Workers

• The MOL rarely prosecutes infractions in

are still fighting for compensation for time

health care, but frequently does so in con-


MARCH 2014

are trained and attentive to health and safety laws and principles.


• That health and safety funding is defined in

Ensuring DB Pension Plans Continue

every institution’s budget, and every hospital

The following article was written by Helen

has dedicated experts in occupational health

Fletterly, vice-chair of the Healthcare of Ontario

and safety whose sole job is to prevent inju-

Pension Plan (HOOPP). It first appeared in


Benefits Canada, and Part 1 was published in

• More meaningful orders and prosecutions in health care. • That MOL resources realign to reflect the changing demographics of the workforce (increasing numbers of health care workers), and the areas where injuries/illnesses are most rampant. • That the MOHLTC clearly articulate to hospitals and Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) the requirement for each LHIN to have a health and safety champion whose role is to create safe workplaces free from hazards. • Health care worker representation on the Prevention Council and a health care focus in the provincial strategy. • All enforcement agencies trained to be sensitive to the real dangers in our workplace, to apply applicable sections of the Criminal Code to our workplaces, and to ensure consistent enforcement of provincial occupational health and safety law regarding violence in our workplaces.

We will never give up our fight to ensure our members don’t have to wake up wondering if this is the day they will be injured or made sick on the job.

the October 2013 issue of Front Lines. Recently, HOOPP created a two-part white paper with The Gandalf Group called The Emerging Retirement Crisis. In my first column based on this data I looked at why the defined benefit (DB) model, of which HOOPP is one, works. Some of the key findings in the second part of the white paper relate to the fact that 64 per cent of Canadians don’t believe Canada has a good workplace pension system. Seventy-three per cent say that employers aren’t offering sufficient pension plans. Yet, continually on the HOOPP Board we hear that DB pension plans are goldplated and not sustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth! The average HOOPP member receives a pension of under $17,000 a year after a long, hard career. That’s an adequate pension, but not gold-plated. Critics of public sector DB pension plans say that they should be replaced by “cheaper” defined contribution (DC) plans. But with DC plans, there are no guaran-

Ontarians would like to see the bar raised for everyone.

tees. A lower percentage of earnings, typically 3 per cent to 5 per cent, is set aside on payday, but it’s up to the individual member

to decide how to invest it. The member usually gets to choose from a family of mutual funds. Those funds charge very high fees, up to 2 per cent a year, whether the investments are up or down. So a DC pension is far less than even the modest pensions HOOPP and other DB pension plans provide. That’s why, rather than cutting DB pension plans, we should look at ways to ensure they can continue to contribute to the well-being of retirees. And we should look at improving the retirement system for those who lack DB coverage. [Many groups] see the answer for those without adequate coverage in the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), through small, gradual contribution

“If the government and enforcement agencies

increases over time. That would double its modest benefit of $12,000 a year maxi-

put proper focus on the actual unsafe work in

mum to more like $24,000.

Ontario – health care – it would result in reduced

Ontarians are telling us they are willing to pay more into their employer-spon-

injuries and more health care workers on the job,

sored pension plans. They aren’t critical of public sector pension plans – in fact, they

which would go a long way to assist a seriously

would like to see the bar raised for everyone. Seventy-seven per cent of Ontarians

understaffed sector and reduce WSIB and health

said they would like to be part of a DB plan, and an equal number want to see CPP

care costs,” concluded Haslam-Stroud. “It would


be a win-win situation all around, not just for health care workers, but for the patients of this province.

Rather than discarding the pillars of the system that works, we should look at those that are not working with an eye to improving them. For more on pensions, visit and click on the “Pension Updates” tab.

MARCH 2014


STUDENT Affiliation

Celebrating our Future Nurses!

ONA Supports Student Nurses At National Conference The ONA Board of Directors has shown our union’s continued commitment to future nurses by supporting and attending the National Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA), held in downtown Vancouver from January 22-25, 2014. Under the theme, “Envision. Create. Innovate,” the conference, attended by more than 600 students across the country, featured several guest speakers on topics such as gender diversity and computerized adaptive testing, and a strong union contingent, including ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna and Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas. Through an open platform of discussion and collaboration, attendees were given the opportunity to learn about different educational opportunities available to them and expectations from future health care employers and explore their personal passions. The goal of the confer-

Nursing students from Western University-Fanshawe College proudly display the banner signed by their fellow nursing students to acknowledge National Nursing Students’ Week from November 17-23, 2013. During the week,

ence, hosted by Langara College, was to nurture

Nursing Students:

the ongoing effort to spark change and transitions in nursing and empower nursing students

The Future of Our Profession

to create an impact in their communities, both nationally and internationally.

a Nursing Night Out event was staged, and nursing students were given an array of ONA promotional items. “It is important that we celebrate National Nursing Students’ Week to recognize our hard work and contributions to the health care setting,” said Melany Noseworthy, the university’s Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) Official Dele-

During the conference, which also featured a Celebrate Na tional Nurs

career fair and exhibit hall where ONA staffed a

ing Studen ts

All of the mor e than 14,0 00 nursing students stud ying in Ont ario who are members of the Canadia n Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) are automaticall y affiliate-me mbers of the Ontario Nur ses’ Associa tion (ONA), Canada’s larg est nurses’ Union.

’ Week!

National Nu rs

Nursing stud ents make valuable con our work, our tributions Union, and to our health. Celebrate by welcoming the new per and energy spectives that nursing stud ents bring. This Nationa l Nursing Stud ents’ Week, with nursing let’s talk students and share our exp as profess ionals and eriences Union mem bers.

ing Studen ts


23, 2013


’ Week

rg @OntarioN


table, McKenna linked with Ontario members of the CNSA, including President Carly Whitmore, the former Ontario Regional Director (ORD), and current ORD Nick Alves. Alves was elected Communications Director at the conference and Cat Davy, a second-year nursing student from Lake-

gate. “As nursing students, we put in endless time and effort

head University, takes over as ORD in April. Ra-

preparing for unpaid clinical practicum and in-class assignments, which is one of the

jet Anand is the President-elect. ONA President

reasons why this week means so much.” ONA members celebrated right alongside

Linda Haslam-Stroud is an honourary member of

them by displaying our new National Nursing Students’ Week poster (pictured), and

the CNSA.

by embracing the new perspectives and energy that nursing students bring to our profession. We encourage you to continue to talk to them about your experiences – and listen to theirs – because we can learn so much from each other!


MARCH 2014

Visit the Nursing Students box on the right-hand side of our website at for more on our nursing student affiliation.


Succession Planning:

Getting New and Emerging Leaders up to Speed Succession planning is critically important, not just for Local Coordinators and Bargaining Unit Presidents, but for all ONA leadership teams in the province, which account for approximately 10 per cent of our membership. Succession planning establishes a process that recruits members, develops their skills and abilities, and prepares them for advancement, all the while retaining them to ensure that when the opportunity is there, they are well prepared to step into the role.

An Effective Succession Plan An effective succession plan ensures that there are highly qualified people in all positions within the union, not just today, but tomorrow, next year and five years from now. For the plan to be effective, Locals and Bargaining Units need to periodically review their executives and leadership teams, committee reps and ONA unit reps at the Bargaining Unit level to ensure there are backups for each position. Ideally, these backups are potential successors and future leaders of the union. To get started it’s critical to assess the knowledge, skills and abilities currently held within your leadership team and the knowledge/skills gaps of your potential successors. A good succession plan not only assesses immediate priorities, it must also assess how those priorities can be met within the Local’s budget, and determine how the long-term leadership development needs might be met over the next few years as the dynamic of the Local leadership team changes. Considerations may include: • ONA’s formal full-day, half-day or lecturette education programs. • ELearning programs and video lecturettes. • ONA’s teleconnect sessions. • Individualized coaching and mentoring programs for emerging leaders so they can apply what they have learned. • Attendance at Bargaining Unit, Local, executive, regional and provincial meetings as part of an ongoing learning plan.

Resources to Assist with Succession Planning • Your Regional Vice-President. • 2014 Education Brochure, available on the ONA website at

How ONA Education Can Help ONA has created a number of learning pathways to assist leadership teams in planning for the future to ensure leaders have the opportunity to develop competencies and skills related to labour relations, leadership in the effective running of the Local, developing and building relationships, fostering team work and succession planning. • Education page of the ONA website (teleconnect dates, access to the eLearning platform, 2014 Provincial Education calendar) also at • ONA Workshop: Executive Skills IV: Preparing for the Future – Engaging Members in the Work of the Union

For example, the learning needs for a new Bargaining Unit President may

(see calendar for scheduled dates or contact

be complex if the incumbent is a novice leader. ONA’s 2014 Education Brochure for more information).

outlines the recommended programs to meet the needs of a continues 

MARCH 2014



 continues from previous page knowledgeable and skilled Bargaining Unit President. The first step would be to assess the incumbent’s current knowledge and skills, and considering the Local budget, determine the best learning pathway to ad-

It’s Time to Show the World our Pride!

dress his or her immediate needs.

With the full support of the Board of Directors, ONA members and staff are working to-

Some workshops on the recommended list can also be augmented or offset by

gether to organize what we hope will be the largest ONA presence in a Pride event in our union’s history: World Pride 2014 in Toronto. And you’re invited!

completing the following eLearning pro-

A variety of activities will be taking place during the last week of June to celebrate this

grams: the relevant Professional Respon-

momentous event, culminating in the much-anticipated World Pride parade (see sidebar),

sibility Workload Reporting program,

under the motivational theme, Rise Up!

both grievance handling programs, and the negotiations and the return to work

Why Pride?

series of programs. In addition, ONA’s se-

Pride is an important time for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual (LGBT),

ries of video lecturettes, available on the

Transgender, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning and Two-Spirited communities. It originated

eLearning platform, provide an effective

from a series of demonstrations by LGBT members in June 1969 in New York City in re-

learning opportunity to augment leader-

sponse to police raids of a gay bar in the Stonewall Inn. This historical event marked the

ship knowledge and skills.

beginning of the gay liberation movement that transformed the oppression of the LGBT

A successful succession plan not only meets the needs of members today, but in the future.

community into Pride. Today, Pride is a time when the voices of the LGBT community, with the support of their allies, are heard and their presence recognized. It’s a time to celebrate their collective history and courage confronting pervasive homophobia and transphobia over many decades and renew the fight for true equality in society. Pride also helps us appreciate the

Remember a successful succession plan ensures members are ready for leadership roles as the need arises, and when someone leaves, a potential successor is

diversity that exists in our communities, as LGBT people come from a variety of backgrounds and identities. Simply put, Pride stands for a commitment to creating an inclusive community for all people.

ready to step up to the plate. In the past, succession planning may

Pride is a time when the voices of the LGBT community, with the support of their allies, are heard and their presence recognized.

What is World Pride?

have been done informally and perhaps

Pride Toronto will be taking the lead as the host organization of Canada’s largest annual

only targeted on key leadership posi-

festival of LGBT culture and human rights to present World Pride 2014 Toronto (WP14TO).

tions. With today’s rapidly changing and

This is the first World Pride celebration in North America and the fourth such festival in the

complex environment, it is important to


expand this thinking to include all posi-

WP14TO will kick off on June 20 with 10 days of celebration. LGBT people and their al-

tions within the Local or Bargaining Unit.

lies will be coming to Toronto from across the globe to participate in education, including

We know there are numerous vacancies

an international human rights conference, the Pride Parade, Trans March and Dyke March,

at the Bargaining Unit committee level,

a street fair, and an arts and culture festival, including outdoor stages. There will also be

so perhaps start there. What can be done

music and activities for kids.

to have a full leadership team? Filling

Pride in Toronto is in its 34th year and attracts an average of 1.2 million people, includ-

those positions lends itself to a succes-

ing a significant presence from the labour movement. This year, the Toronto and York Re-

sion plan that not only meets the needs

gion Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress will be working with unions to

of members today, but also in the future.

ensure the largest labour representation ever seen in a Pride Parade in North America!


MARCH 2014

Join Us for World Pride! World Pride is taking place in Toronto this June and all members, nursing students, friends, family and youth are encouraged to join the ONA Board of Directors and staff to celebrate alongside our LGBT members.

Why Show Your Support?

We will be meeting on June 29 at 12:30 p.m. at

At our annual Human Rights and Equity Caucus last November, our

Rosedale Valley Road. Water, snacks and t-shirts will

LGBT members committed themselves to organizing for WP14TO –

be provided. ONA will also have a table at the World

and with good reason.

Pride street fair from June 27 to 29. We encourage you

Although same-sex relationships are gaining more visibility and

to drop by.

acceptance, and same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, our members’

All parade information will be provided on our

experience is that it is still not safe to speak up without fear of repri-

WP14TO poster in the coming months, available on

sal from their employers and alienation from coworkers. For many, it

your workplace ONA bulletin board, and on the ONA

continues to be difficult to be “out” at work, and there are significant

website at

personal costs when they are forced to deny who they are when faced with prejudice and stereotypes. They reported that measures must be taken to ensure a safe working environment, free of discrimination and harassment based on their

How Can You Join in?

sexual orientation and gender identity. They talked about the need for

If you would also like to help us prepare for WP14TO or would like

more education in the nursing curriculum about LGBT people and their

additional information to assist you in participating, contact Region

health care needs and within our workplaces. They wanted to see an

1 Vice-President Pam Mancuso (Human Rights and Equity portfolio)

end to the assumptions that are made about sexual orientation and

at (416) 964-8833, ext. 7703 or email, or Labour

gender identity, which can make LGBT members feel invisible.

Relations Officer and Pride Committee member Stacey Papernick at

For these reasons, ONA wants to demonstrate our support to our

(416) 964-8833, ext. 2282 or email

LGBT members. As such, the ONA Pride Committee, compromised of

You are also welcome to join our Pride Committee meetings in

ONA provincial and Local leaders, members and staff, has started pre-

person or by phone. Our next meeting will be on March 31 from 9 to

paring our float and presence in WP14TO, including outreach to ONA

11 a.m. at ONA’s provincial office in Toronto. Please contact Papernick

members. WP14TO may be a Toronto event, but planning is a prov-

if you are interested.

ince-wide effort and we are happy to report that more and more Local

Showing your support by participating in WP14TO means a great

and Bargaining Unit leaders across the province are getting involved!

deal to our LGBT members and staff. We hope to see you at World Pride!

MARCH 2014


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.


Hospitals cannot post “temporary” positions not covered by exceptions in collective agreement Region 3 Hospital Arbitrator Stout (September 11, 2013) Article 10.07(d) of the central collective agreement provides that vacancies not expected to exceed 60 calendar days and those caused by illness, accident or leaves of absence (including pregnancy and parental) may be filled at the discretion of the hospital. These are referred to as “temporary” vacancies. At issue in this case were three grievances alleging that the hospital had violated the central collective agreement by posting three new full-time positions as “temporary” positions. The postings ranged from six to 12 months. Occasionally, the hospital receives funding from the Local Health Integration Net-

ONA argued that Article 10.07(d) is ex-

Arbitrator Stout allowed the grievance

haustive in stipulating the few situations

and made several key findings. First, Article

in which a temporary vacancy would be al-

10.07(d) is sufficiently clear and provides a

lowable under the collective agreement. All

definition of what a temporary vacancy is.

other positions are permanent and the posi-

Further, the parties have expressly and spe-

tions in dispute should have been posted as

cifically provided for the circumstances that

such. In our view, there exist no exceptions

give rise to temporary vacancies and these

for time-limited or temporary funding by an

exceptions are complete and exhaustive. In

outside source.

this case, the hospital mischaracterized the

A secondary issue was whether the hos-

postings as “temporary.” Further, he accepted

pital’s actions amounted to a layoff under

ONA’s argument that due to our unique lay-

the collective agreement when the position

off language, a nurse whose position ends

came to an end. ONA took the position that

due to the termination of funding and who

given the line of cases holding that a reas-

subsequently returns back to her former po-

signment for more than one shift of a nurse

sition or is reassigned somewhere else in the

triggers a layoff, should the funding be dis-

hospital, is in a layoff situation and should be

continued and the position cease, the nurse

entitled to layoff options.

in the position would be in a layoff situation

Importance to ONA: It appears that given

and be entitled to layoff options. Two earlier

the current model of funding RN positions,

and conflicting 2008 arbitration awards were

this scenario is prevalent across the province.

presented, which addressed similar issues.

Therefore, we are hopeful this decision will have a broad and positive impact and settle

work (LHIN) or a physician receives a financial

any conflicts that may have arisen as a result

grant from a third-party source that would al-

of the two previous awards.

low it to hire an RN for a set period of time.


In filling these vacancies, the hospital would post the positions as “temporary” and indicate a fixed-end date. The hospital argued that 10.07(d) is not exhaustive in that it only rary vacancies. The hospital’s position was

Medical consultant concurs with diagnosis after WSIB denies benefits

that this was the reality of LHIN funding in

East Hospital

speaks to some, but not all types of tempo-

(July 23, 2013)

the current economic climate and that it was acting within its management rights when

On April 7, 2012, the claimant, who was then

posting these “temporary” vacancies.

40 years of age, sustained a low back injury

Further, in its view, there was no harm or

transferring a patient from a bed to a chair.

prejudice to ONA or to the incumbent RN in

There was no health care sought until April 9,

that a different or former position remained

when the diagnosis was low back strain. The

available when the funding ended.

nurse returned to modified duties.


MARCH 2014

case and WSIB policy, that where it is not clear on diagnosis compatibility with accident history, a medical consultant’s (MC) opinion should be sought. The case manager acted on this and the WSIB MC’s opinion was that the diagnosis was compatible. Entitlement for surgery and LOE for six months was granted. Health care benefits were also restored, along with return to work support. This nurse returned to work on July 19, 2013 and is being supported by her Local. Unfortunately, the employer has appealed this decision.


Claim denied despite multiple physical and mental health diagnoses The claim was allowed as a no lost time claim. The nurse was discharged from phys-

Region 3 Hospital (March 15, 2013)

iotherapy on June 7, 2012. She returned to

A member had multiple diagnoses, in-

work with full duties, however she continued

cluding recurrent major depressive disor-

to have pain resulting in an MRI in October

der, fibromyalgia, bilateral tenonopathy,

2012, which showed spinal stenosis and

myofascial pain, chronic insomnia, mem-

moderate disk herniation.

ory impairment, hypertension, bilateral

The nurse had a few previous back com-

hearing loss, and migraines.

plaints from 2000, 2004 and 2007. The WSIB

After experiencing a frozen shoul-

case manager decided the stenosis and disc

der and developing chronic pain, the

herniation was not part of the claim and de-

member had a relapse of her psychiatric

nied any further health care or loss of earn-

illness. The Labour Relations Officer ob-

ings (LOE) benefits. The nurse had a signifi-

tained reports from the member’s psy-

cant increase in symptoms on February 6,

chiatrist and neurologist and submitted

2013, requiring her to stop working and un-

them on appeal.

dergo surgery the following April. ONA filed an Intent to Object to the decision, stating that based on the facts of this

Her claim for benefits was granted retroactive to the end of her qualifying period.

MARCH 2014



ONA Front Lines March 2014  

ONA"s flagship publication Front Lines is now available. Read all about ONA's campaign that calls for #morenurses.