Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert – Tell Premier McGuinty to Fund 3,000 Additional Nurses and 10 NP-Led Clinics in 2009 Budget


January 29, 2009




140 registered nurses and nursing students – the leadership of RNAO – celebrated the 10th Annual Day at Queen’s Park last week. Nursing has made huge gains in this province since the late 1990’s when former Premier Mike Harris infamously likened nurses to hula hoops, and we have much to be proud of. However it was clear from our visits to 47 Cabinet Ministers, MPPs and their staff (a new record) that we also face some significant challenges.


Together, registered nurses sent a strong message to MPPs to:


  • Get back on track and keep the government’s commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses, including 3,000 funded in this year’s provincial budget;
  • Immediately approve and launch the three Nurse Practitioner-led clinics announced in October, announce the 10 of the remaining 22 NP-led clinics promised by the government in the upcoming 2009 budget.
  • Enact without delay the progressive cosmetic pesticide regulations that are now before Cabinet;
  • Commit  multi-year funding to aggressively implement Ontario’s poverty reduction program;
  • Abandon competitive bidding as a method of allocating funding for home-care contracts in Ontario.


Many other topics were discussed, from nursing education and employment for new graduates to the need for a provincial breastfeeding strategy to preventing workplace violence.


Not surprisingly, the serious state of the economy came up a number of times. This is why we are writing to you today. Nurses must not be used again as pawns in government budget-cutting.


There’s no question difficult choices need to be made. We have just witnessed a federal budget that goes into deep deficit to fund infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, and we can expect similar initiatives in the upcoming provincial budget. However, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care told registered nurses last week that the promised hiring of 9,000 additional nurses would be delayed till 2012, perhaps even 2013…as a result of the “budget reality”.


RNs know the real “budget reality” is that hiring additional nurses is a smart investment in the infrastructure of our public health care system. Delaying the hiring of 9,000 additional nurses risks losing nurses when the health care system needs them the most. It has a negative impact on patient care. It also sends a most damaging signal to the nursing workforce, to new nursing graduates and to potential nursing students. The present and future health of Ontarians, the efficient functioning of the health care system and the sustainability of the nursing profession require investing in nursing now.


Last week, the Minister heard the powerful experiences of nurses working in all sectors -- rural hospitals, urban centers, nursing homes, community health centers and correctional facilities. All of the stoires you shared had a common theme, that delaying the hiring of additional nurses and allowing layoffs, will exacerbate the existing shortage. This is simply – unacceptable! If the McGuinty government wants to take us back to the hula hoop era of Mike Harris they've it wrong! Nurses have a voice that trumpets truth to power. And, our collective voice MUST be heard NOW!


Here is what we need you to do


Write a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty through our website. You can send our sample letter as is or modify it as you wish. A copy of your letter will be sent automatically to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care David Caplan. Please make sure to sign your name and RN title at the bottom of the letter.