Nurses urge all MPPs to help address equity, diversity and inclusivity in nursing and health

Feb. 27, 2024

To mark the end of Black History Month, members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will share ways to address equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) in nursing and health, with their local members of provincial parliament (MPP) at Queen’s Park on Feb. 29.

This Leap Year Day also marks RNAO’s 24th annual Queen’s Park Day (QPD), a day that nurses power change by bringing the issues that matter most to nursing directly to MPPs from all parties.

“QPD is one of RNAO’s most highly anticipated advocacy events, and for good reason,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway. “It gives RNAO and its assembly of leaders the opportunity to bring questions, concerns and solutions to the pressing issues in the profession and our health system. We are proud of our members for speaking out and influencing change where it’s needed.”

The all-day event begins with 150 assembly of leader representatives – registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students – discussing priority issues with their local MPPs over breakfast. Systemic racism and other forms of discrimination continue to pervade the nursing profession and health system, undermining strategies to retain and recruit nurses in Ontario amid the nursing crisis. Nurses will also highlight how the government can end anti-Black racism and discrimination in the nursing profession and health system at large using recommendations from RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force report, Acknowledging, Addressing and Tackling Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination Within the Nursing Profession.

“RNAO members are committed to keeping our elected officials aware of what’s happening on the frontlines so they can make informed, timely and impactful decisions,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “Nurses are equipped with the knowledge and first-hand experience to help pave the path forward for the province’s health system, and we look forward to sharing with local MPPs the many ways we can continue to work together for the benefit of all Ontarians.”

Grinspun adds that addressing racism and all other forms of discrimination, along with competitive compensation and safe workloads, are critical to ending Ontario’s nursing crisis. “We cannot risk any nurses who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or 2SLGBTQI+ to feel discriminated against and leave the profession. We will keep the conversation about EDI going and push for measurable action until everyone who identifies with an equity-deserving community feels supported and respected – and most importantly, until they all have equal opportunities for career development and advancement. Nurses need to feel safe and empowered within our profession and workplaces, or their talent is lost. We need the help of MPPs from all parties, to make progress.”

Leaders of the main political parties and health critics will also address nurses and answer questions during the afternoon session at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. To further highlight RNAO’s work on EDI, nurses and MPPs will hear a panel discussion focused on the lived experiences of RNAO members. Panelists include RNs John Edwards, executive member of the Rainbow Nursing Interest Group; Victoria Guido, chair of the Indigenous Nurses and Allies Interest Group; and Lori Zozzolotto, chair of the Black Nurses Leading Change Interest Group.

The agenda is available on RNAO’s website, as well as the fact sheet and political action bulletin focused on the nursing crisis and the experiences of Black nurses.

WHAT: Representatives from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) head to Queen’s Park for the association’s 24th annual Queen’s Park Day.


  • President Dr. Claudette Holloway
  • President-Elect NP Lhamo Dolkar
  • CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun
  • Board of directors and 150 assembly of leaders
  • Hon. Sylvia Jones, deputy premier and minister of health  
  • Hon. Stan Cho, minister of long-term care
  • Marit Stiles, leader of the official opposition, Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP)
  • Wayne Gates, MPP and NDP critic for long-term care, retirement homes and home care
  • Bonnie Crombie, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
  • Adil Shamji, MPP and Ontario Liberal Party caucus critic for health, Northern development, Indigenous affairs and colleges and universities
  • Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario
  • Panelists:
    • John Edwards, executive member of Rainbow Nursing Interest Group
    • Victoria Guido, chair of Indigenous Nurses and Allies Interest Group
    • Lori Zozzolotto, chair of Black Nurses Leading Change Interest Group

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

  • QPD: 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET
    • Breakfast meetings: Queen’s Park legislative dining room
    • Question period, Queen’s Park legislative chamber
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in nursing and the health system panel (12:45 p.m. ET): Trinity College, University of Toronto, 6 Hoskin Ave.
    • Presentations from political leaders (2 p.m. ET): Trinity College

Members of the media are welcome to attend in person or to view the livestream on RNAO’s YouTube channel.

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 we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on X (formerly Twitter)Facebook and Instagram.

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Contact info

Madison Scaini
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)