Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Latest nursing numbers from CIHI reveal a dangerous trend for patients in Ontario


A report on the nursing workforce released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reveals a harmful trend in health care: there are fewer registered nurses (RN) per capita in Ontario than in the rest of the country.

According to CIHI, the province has 714 RNs per 100,000 people compared to an average of 836 per 100,000 people in the rest of Canada, putting Ontario second last in the country – ahead of only British Columbia. These numbers put the province's ability to adequately meet the care needs of its people in question, says the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).

"We know our population is growing and yet this gap is growing too. It doesn't bode well for the profession or for people who look to RNs to provide timely access and quality, patient-centred care," says RNAO president Vanessa Burkoski.

RNAO says the numbers released Tuesday by CIHI don't even tell the whole story."Not only do we have a lower RN-to-population ratio, we also know that RNs are being replaced by less qualified personnel in health organizations right across the province.This is both disturbing and unsafe for patients," says RNAO Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun. She points out that replacing RNs in a bid to lower costs ignores research that shows patients experience fewer complications and lower mortality rates when RNs are responsible for their care.

The situation prompted RNAO to appeal to the health minister to mandate that employers stop replacing RNs with other health-care providers. The association has set up an online campaign, which its members and the public can sign to voice their concerns about RN replacement.

This year marks the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's (RNAO) 90th anniversary. RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
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