Nurses head to Queen’s Park to highlight critical health issues

Feb. 19, 2020

Nurses are heading to Queen’s Park this week doing what they do best: shining a light on key health issues affecting their practice and facing Ontarians, and championing policies that better meet people’s needs.

More than 130 registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students – leaders of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) – hold their 20th annual Queen’s Park Day this Thursday (Feb. 20, 2020).

“This year’s event is especially significant because it is the Year of the Nurse – a year in which we celebrate the profession worldwide and the central role nurses play as advocates for better health,” says RNAO President Angela Cooper Brathwaite.

During a series of breakfast meetings, nurses will be pressing members of provincial parliament (MPP) from all parties for urgent action on the opioid crisis – an epidemic that shows no signs of abating. Across Ontario, five people lose their lives each day due to accidental overdose. That’s up from two persons each day in 2016. “Ontario’s response for consumption and treatment services is slow in coming, and we need to know that every community in need will get a site to respond to this devastating crisis,” says Cooper Brathwaite.

The care residents receive in long-term care (LTC) homes will also be discussed during QP Day, ensuring staffing levels of registered nursing staff in homes match the complex care needs most residents require. Justice Eileen Gillese included such a recommendation in the public inquiry report into LTC, and asked the government to study the adequacy of current levels and report back to the legislature by July 31. “Nurses will insist on changing the model used to fund nursing homes. Currently, homes that implement measures that improve health outcomes, preventing falls, for example, lose some of their funding because the home’s case mix index decreases. How can homes continue to improve care if this happens? It is absurd and fails seniors and their families,” says RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun.         

“We know that the government is committed to improving the way health care is delivered in Ontario. We look forward to these critical meetings because our solutions can lead to better care, improve the effectiveness of our system, and ensure it performs at a higher level,” says Grinspun.

Following the breakfast meetings, RNAO members will watch question period. In the afternoon, they will gather at the University of Toronto’s Hart House to hear remarks and exchange ideas with the Honourable Christine Elliott, minister of health (12:45 p.m.), NDP health critic France Gélinas (1:10 p.m.), John Fraser, interim leader of the Liberal Party (2 p.m.), and Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party (2:25 p.m.).  

WHO: RNAO President Angela Cooper Braithwaite, RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun and more than 130 RNs, NPs and nursing students and 58 members of provincial parliament (MPP).

WHAT: RNAO’s 20th annual Queen’s Park Day

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Queen’s Park Legislative Dining Room (breakfast meetings)
                  Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle (afternoon session)

Members of the media are welcome to attend all events. Those attending the afternoon portion at Hart House are welcome to join us for lunch.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (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 system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook  and Twitter. 

Contact info

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)