RNAO calls government decision to appeal court ruling on Bill 124 shameful; will exacerbate an already full-blown nursing crisis
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the government’s decision to appeal an Ontario court ruling on Bill 124 is shameful and demonstrates it has failed to understand the magnitude of the nursing crisis facing the province’s health system.
Last month, the Superior Court of Justice declared Bill 124 to be “void and of no effect.” In his decision at the end of November, Judge Markus Koehnen ruled the wage restraint legislation infringed on collective bargaining rights for nurses and other public sector workers.
Today, on Dec. 29, the government ignored this ruling and gave notice to the parties involved in the court case that it is appealing the decision.
“Throughout this holiday period, nurses have continued to show up for work, duty bound to deliver the care they know Ontarians need. The decision by Premier Ford’s government is a betrayal to nurses, to the profession and to the public, who are witnessing the crumbling of a health system that desperately needs more nurses. The decision to appeal Bill 124 and continue its fight to leave wage restraint legislation in place is an affront to everyone,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, adding that “the legislation has capped salary increases for nurses and other public sector workers at one per cent annual since 2019, a massive reduction in real salary given the 12.5 per cent cumulative inflation since that year. All this, while nurses’ workloads have escalated during a pandemic.”
The news to appeal the decision comes on the heels of a national poll by Nanos Research in which a majority (53 per cent) of Canadians reported that hiring more nurses and doctors should be the top health-care priority. “Nurses and Canadians are on the same page. People know we need more nurses and this bill will not get us there. Nurses have left and will continue to leave the profession as long as this legislation remains in place,” says RNAO president Dr. Claudette Holloway. She urged Premier Ford to reverse his government decision to appeal and heed the voice of over 30,000 nurses, other health-care providers and members of the public that have signed RNAO’s Action Alert against appealing Bill 124. “We must build back our profession for the sake of everyone’s health and that begins with showing respect towards nurses,” adds Holloway.
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 RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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