Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

URGENT ACTION ALERT - Time for Big Ideas and Bold Leadership – Tell Premier McGuinty the time for 3,000 Additional RNs is NOW IN THIS BUDGET!



March 5, 2009




It’s been another tough week in Ontario. Fifteen hundred families in Hamilton and Nanticoke were shocked with pink slips when U.S. Steel announced it would close former Stelco steel mills, once the mainstays of those communities. Stocks, and with them peoples’ life savings, continued to tumble. Choosing not to wait for his March 26th provincial budget, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced Ontario’s deficit would jump to $18 billion over the next two years.


Some would say this is not the time to invest in health care. Some would argue we should wait until economic storm clouds have cleared before the government honours commitments to hire additional nurses, open-badly needed nurse practitioner-led primary care clinics, and provide the food, housing and support that will finally lift men, women and children out of poverty.


Not U.S. President Barack Obama. Facing a $1.75 trillion deficit himself, the President said in his February 25th address to Congress “now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity”. Several days later, President Obama tabled a budget that includes an historic commitment to comprehensive health-care reform based on “the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American”. To the suggestion that health care must wait for rosier economic times, President Obama said “health-care reform can’t wait, it must not wait and it will not wait another year.”


Over 4,000 RNs and RN students have emailed and written to Premier McGuinty over the last month in response to RNAO Action Alerts. Nurses know that it is smart to invest in health care in hard economic times – that is precisely when it is needed the most. Bold leadership means moving forward to hire the additional 9,000 nurses promised and required to meet Ontario’s needs, including 3,000 in the upcoming March 26th budget.


Nurses are being heard. The Toronto Star tells us there are strong voices in the government saying this is the time for a budget of “big ideas”, such as significant down-payments on programs to reduce poverty, to re-energize health care, and to invest heavily in green energy (editorial, Feb 28, 2009).


That’s why we must continue to push and push. More than ever, louder than ever, we must send a clear message to Premier McGuinty and Finance Minister Duncan – to build health care and not  cut nurses.


Here are two things we need you to do.


First, write a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty through our website. Over 3,000 nurses is a fantastic start, but we need every nurse in Ontario to speak with one voice. If you sent a letter in the past, please send another. It’s working – MPPs are talking in the corridors of Queen’s Park and at the cabinet tables. You can send our sample letter below as is, or modify it as you wish. Copies of your letter will be sent automatically to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Don’t forget to sign your name and RN title at the bottom of the letter.


Second, please share this Action Alert with a friend, colleague or family member and ask them to go to our website and send a letter too. We need their help, the Ontario budget is only three weeks away.


Links of interest:


RNAO: Urgent Action Alert – Little time left to Tell Premier McGuinty that Ontario Needs 3.000 Additional RNs funded this year! (Feb. 24, 2009)


Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) – Cutting Nurses Cutting Care Campaign