TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2008 – In a pre-budget submission on Monday, Ontario’s registered nurses will call on the McGuinty government to make good on its election-campaign promises by introducing a budget that sets clear targets to reduce poverty, and earmarks funding to hire more nurses.
“The government has an opportunity here to make real progress in its second mandate by improving the health, and health care, of all Ontarians,” says Mary Ferguson-Pare, President of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. “Instead of being distracted by talk of an economic downturn, we need the government to show leadership by investing in programs that keep people healthy. Without that action now, we know we will pay more for health care later.”
Nurses are looking for hard targets on poverty: reducing the number of people who don’t have an adequate income by 25 per cent in five years, and 50 per cent within a decade. “The link between health and poverty is irrefutable,” Ferguson-Pare says. “The McGuinty government must take action because, in a province as wealthy as Ontario, it’s shameful that people need to choose between putting food on the table or paying the rent.”
RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says the government must also make substantive investments in the nursing workforce: the hiring of 9,000 RNs by 2010; full-time work for 70 per cent of nurses; and establishing 25 nurse-led clinics. “These priorities are critical to improving access to care for people,” Grinspun says. “The nursing community is gravely concerned with the sharp slowdown in the number of RNs working in Ontario in the past two years.”
RNAO will also be calling on the government to end the use of public-private-partnerships (P3s) to fund infrastructure projects like building hospitals, and to end the competitive bidding process in home care. The association says competitive bidding is flawed at its core and disrupts the continuity of care patients receive.
RNAO’s complete 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 submission presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
WHERE: Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park - Room 151
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, 9:30 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.