TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2007
– As Ontario’s politicians prepare to face voters this year, more than 100 registered nurses are heading to Queen’s Park to share their views on issues that promise to criss-cross the campaign trail, including health care, poverty and the environment.
Mary Ferguson-Paré, President of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), says nurses are in a unique position to see how government policies – from income distribution and minimum wage levels, to social assistance rates and environmental protection – affect Ontarians everyday. “Nurses support patients through some of their most vulnerable periods in life,” she says. “They know how policies affect social determinants of health such as poverty, and they are ready to speak out for our vulnerable citizens.”
During RNAO’s 8th Annual Day at Queen’s Park, RNAO members will be speaking with 15 MPPs, including Minister of Health George Smitherman, Opposition Leader John Tory, PC Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer, NDP leader Howard Hampton, and NDP Health Critic Shelley Martel. Nurses will ask MPPs to support RNAO’s positions to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour, improve living conditions for those on social assistance, end the clawback of the national child benefit from families who are receiving social assistance, and improve working conditions for nurses to avoid a looming nursing shortage. RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says nurses are eager to hear what all the parties plan to do to help achieve the goal of having 70 per cent of RNs working full time. “More full-time jobs are essential to provide continuity of care to patients, and vital to recruit and retain young people in the profession. The government has guaranteed full-time jobs for newly graduated nurses, and we want this promise backed-up with funding,” she says.
- RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Paré and Executive Director Doris Grinspun.
- More than 100 RNAO members.
- Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman will speak at 9:00 a.m.
- John Tory, Leader of the Official Opposition Party, and Elizabeth Witmer, PC Health Critic, will speak at 10:15 a.m.
- NDP Leader Howard Hampton and NDP Health Critic Shelley Martel will speak at 11:30 a.m.
- RNAO’s 8th Annual Day at Queen’s Park.
- Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Queen’s Park, Main Legislative Building, Committee Room 228.
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.