TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2006
– Ontario nurses will call for a major investment in social assistance rates and an increase in the minimum wage to improve the health of Ontarians in a pre-budget consultation with the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs today.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the link between poverty and poor health is well documented. Those battling poverty are more likely to suffer sickness and early death. “As nurses we believe governments can, and must, create policy that will reduce poverty,” says Mary Ferguson-Paré, president of RNAO. “We support the increases the government has already made in these areas, but further action is urgently necessary to improve the health of those who live in poverty,” adds Ferguson-Paré.
RNAO wants the government to increase social assistance rates, end the claw back of the national child benefit and increase the minimum wage to $10/hour. “The McGuinty government promised to close the gap between the haves and the have nots. This is not just good social policy, this is essential for good health policy,” says Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s executive director.
Grinspun says nurses will also be looking for firm commitments that will target the social determinants of health, enhance health promotion, and prevent illness. RNAO also wants the government to fulfill its promise to the nursing profession to hire 8,000 new nurses, including targeted funding to achieve 70 per cent full-time employment, support for new graduates and experienced nurses, and a pledge to increase the number of nurse practitioners.
RNAO’s complete pre-budget submission will be available at www.rnao.ca.
WHO: Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD (cand) O. Ont, Executive Director, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
WHAT: Pre-budget consultation presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
WHERE: Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park - Room 151
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 at 11:45 a.m.
Please note: Grinspun will be available to speak with reporters outside Room 151 after her presentation to the Standing Committee.
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.