QUEEN’S PARK — The Ontario NDP critics for Health; Labour; and Long-Term Care, Retirement Homes & Home Care met with reporters this morning to discuss their joint initiative to address care gaps resulting from the Ford Conservatives' staffing crisis in our health system. The Respecting Workers in Health Care and in Related Fields Act, 2023, directs the Minister of Heath to ensure that:
- No less than 70 percent of individuals employed at a hospital, long-term care home or home care agency or with a health care provider be employed on a permanent and full-time basis in certain circumstances.
- Personal support workers receive at least $8.00 more than the minimum wage for each hour worked in addition to health benefits, membership into a pension plan, and a minimum amount of paid sick leave.
- Homemakers receive at least the minimum wage for each hour worked in addition to having the provisions on hours of work, eating, and free time periods and overtime pay as prescribed in the Employment Standards Act.
France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), Health critic for the NDP, said, “There has been a growing crisis in the health care sector that is a direct result of wage freezes and pandemic measures. This creates a domino effect where unfilled home care visits lead to unnecessary emergency room visits. Health care organizations are turning to agency staff which cost more and don’t provide continuity of care for patients and residents. By ensuring that the people providing the services have full-time jobs with adequate compensation, we’re ensuring that care needs are being met upstream before they lead to expensive, time-consuming events that require emergency health services.”
“Our home and long-term care systems are broken because they cannot recruit and retain a stable workforce,” stated MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), NDP critic for Long-Term Care, Retirement Homes, and Home Care. “There are PSWs across this province that want to be in the community caring for people—for many of them their residents are almost like family, but they can’t make ends meet doing what they love. If you can’t support your family with your chosen profession, then you need to change. This bill will ensure that PSW jobs are good jobs and will bring thousands of workers back to the profession, which in turn will only enhance the quality care at home and in long-term care.”
“Because it reduces precarious work and ensures better wages, protections, and benefits for Ontario’s health care workers, this is a great bill for Ontario’s workers,” stated MPP Jamie West (Sudbury), NDP critic for Labour. "We urge our colleagues from other parties to be voting yes."
“Ensuring that nursing is an attractive, steady, and reliable career will help keep desperately needed nurses in our hospitals, long-term care homes, and other health care facilities, and will help with the recruitment of the new nurses we need to end the nursing shortage. Too often, nurses are working multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. Requiring that 70% of all nursing roles be full-time permanent positions, will provide stability necessary to improve patient care and working conditions for nurses.”
- Bernie Robinson, Ontario Nurses’ Association Interim President
The bill will be introduced for first reading Tuesday, March 7th, in the Ontario legislature.