Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Ontario RNs discuss ways to improve health care during annual general meeting, April 27-29

Ontario RNs discuss ways to improve health care during annual general meeting, April 27-29

TORONTO, April 26, 2006 – More than 700 registered nurses will celebrate achievements in nursing and discuss how they can strengthen the profession at the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) 81st Annual General Meeting this week.

“This year, our members have so much to celebrate,” says Joan Lesmond, outgoing RNAO president. “As I look back at my time as president, it’s heart warming to see the direction the association is going, especially when you consider that in the last 10 years our membership has doubled, already reaching 24,000 members.”

Lesmond says this year’s AGM theme, Celebrating Diversity, is particularly significant for her. “It has been a great honour to move issues like diversity and inclusivity forward during my presidency. RNAO is a force to be reckoned with on many policy and political issues, and I am certain we will continue to take a leadership role when talking about how to make our entire society more inclusive.”

Lesmond’s presidency will officially end on Friday, April 28, when Mary Ferguson-Paré will be officially sworn in as RNAO’s 49th president.

“I look forward to continuing the association’s work on many important issues,” she says. “The topics that are being discussed at this year’s AGM are an indication of the many different areas registered nurses are knowledgeable in and speak out on. I know we will continue to do so; our collective voices cannot be ignored.” This year, nurses will be discussing a range of issues, including lobbying the government to provide funding to ensure every school in Ontario has access to public health nursing services, and to amend provincial legislation so that the number of occupants in a car does not exceed the number of seat belts.

Ferguson-Paré, RNAO’s incoming president, is the vice-president of professional affairs and chief nurse executive at Toronto’s University Health Network. She earned her PhD in human and organizational systems, and is an associate nursing professor at the University of Toronto. She brings more than 30 years of nursing experience to RNAO’s board of directors.

“I’m excited to work towards our goals with Mary,” says RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun. “This past year has been a remarkable one for RNAO. We have continued to improve nursing and patient care through policy improvements and our work in clinical guidelines and healthy work environments for nurses. And the purchase of the association’s own building gives our members a solid home from which we can continue our work.”

The AGM opens tomorrow evening, April 27, and continues through to Saturday, April 29. It is being held at Sheraton Parkway Hotel, 600 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Highlights include:

Thursday April 27, 7 p.m. – 8:20 p.m.:

  • Opening ceremonies. Featuring remarks by Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario (via video presentation); Elizabeth Witmer, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo; and Howard Hampton, Leader of Ontario’s NDP from 7:25 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.
  • A presentation honouring nine health-care organizations who have earned the designation “Best practice spotlight organization,” will take place between 8:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. The spotlight organizations have taken on leadership roles in implementing and evaluating RNAO’s clinical nursing guidelines on a range of topics to improve patient care.

Friday, April 28, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

  • Greetings from The Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, 11:30 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
  • President’s Banquet, including presentation of RNAO Recognition Awards, and RNAO’s annual Award for Excellence in Health-Care Reporting, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman and Ontario PC Party Leader John Tory will be in attendance.

Saturday, April 29, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  • Panel discussion on diversity, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.


For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605