Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

URGENT ACTION ALERT – PROVINCIAL BUDGET REPORT CARD: “more than 900” must translate into 3,000 ADDITIONAL NURSES!

 

 

March 31, 2009

 

Background

 

Last Thursday’s Ontario budget, unveiled by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, contained a variety of initiatives to stimulate the economy, create jobs now and in the future, and enhance the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy. Here is our report back to you:

 

Poverty:

The budget provides welcome steps to address the human tragedy of poverty including: increases in the Ontario Child Benefit, investments in affordable housing, and a very modest increase in social assistance.

 

Environment:

$390 million will be spent on green job initiatives and we look forward to additional initiatives such as reductions to toxics and carcinogens and the recent pesticide regulations that will significantly improve Ontario’s environmental health.

 

Health care investments:

Spending on health care in 2009-10 will actually drop, as a proportion of overall government expenses, though total health care spending increases by 4.5 per cent. Last year the government spent 46 cents of every program dollar on health, dropping to 43 cents this year. A time of economic crisis is exactly when the government should be investing more, not less, in health and the health professionals who care for those men and women hardest hit by the recession.

 

Nursing:

Funding of 22 additional Nurse Practitioner-led clinics in addition to the three set to open later this year in Belle River, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.

 

Nurses live the consequences of the severe nursing shortage every day. In the weeks leading up to the budget, over 6,000 told Premier McGuinty loud and clear to keep his commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses, including at least 3,000 in Thursday’s budget. Nurses told the Premier that anything short of 3,000 additional nurses would have a negative impact on patients and send the worst possible signal to the nursing workforce, new nursing graduates and potential nursing students. That’s why it was a shock that the budget only committed to “more than 900 nurses in 2009-10” and not the minimum of 3,000 that would have addressed the need in Ontario communities.

 

If there is one lesson nurses have learned in the ongoing struggle to build and strengthen health and health care is to NEVER GIVE UP. It is not clear what “more than 900” nurses means in the budget, but as long as there is a chance of addressing the worsening nursing shortage with 3,000 additional nurses, we must keep pushing – and push harder. Please take a minute TODAY and send Premier McGuinty the message that investing in additional nurses CAN be done and MUST be done, for our patients and for our health care.

 

Here is what we need you to do:

 

1. WRITE TO PREMIER McGUINTY, and copies will be sent to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Health and Long-Term Care Minister David Caplan. You can send our sample letter below as is, or modify it as you wish. Add your insights about how the shortage of nurses may be affecting your community. Note that when you use the template below, copies automatically are sent to Ministers Duncan and Caplan.

 

2. PLEASE SHARE THIS ACTION ALERT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND ASK THEM TO WRITE AS WELL! Every email really does make a difference.

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