October 6 election critical to Ontario’s future. Parties must offer specifics on key health issues: RNs say
TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2011 – Ontario nurses say the political parties running for election next month lack important details in their platforms.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) today released a copy of a letter it presented to party leaders with a list of questions to clarify their positions on key issues.
“We need more information on the issues that will have an impact on the health of Ontarians over the next four years,” says Doris Grinspun, executive director of RNAO. Among those issues: guaranteeing full-time employment to new nursing graduates to keep them in Ontario; securing timely access to primary care and home-care services; continuing to increase the minimum wage and develop a full-fledged affordable housing strategy; and taking care of the environment.
Grinspun says it’s unfortunate the various political parties don’t offer a lot of specifics on these issues in their proposals. “We measured their ideas against the very detailed and specific policy recommendations contained in our report,” she says. “We feel people need and deserve more information before they can cast their ballot, and that’s why we issued a letter with nine questions to each party leader.”
RNAO analyzed the parties’ platforms in the following areas: strengthening social determinants of health; building sustainable, green communities; enhancing Medicare, improving access to nursing services, and strengthening public services.
“This election is extremely important and greater debate and detail about where each leader wants to take the province is necessary so voters can make informed decisions,” says David McNeil, president of RNAO. A recent Nanos poll showed the top concern among voters continues to be health care, he adds. In fact, 26 per cent of respondents cited it as a number one priority. “Our definition of health includes the factors that determine a person’s ability to lead a healthy life, including whether or not they have access to affordable education, a livable wage/salary, enough healthy food on the table to feed their family, a decent roof over their head, a greener and cleaner environment, and a well functioning health-care system.”
To view RNAO’s list of questions for the party leaders and its comparison chart, please visit: RNAO Provincial Election Resources 2011.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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.