Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO’s ongoing media profile: The April 2022 report

RNAO’s ongoing media presence is outlined monthly in Dr. Doris Grinspun’s COVID-19 blog. Our CEO has decided to place her blog on hold until September and re-evaluate its need, given the many other pressing priorities. Thus, the media profile will now be featured monthly in In the Loop to keep you updated on how RNAO is speaking out for nursing and health. 

In April, RNAO was featured in the media about continuing mask mandates in high-risk settings, the federal and provincial budgets, and integrating internationally-educated nurses (IEN) into Ontario’s health system. 

At the beginning of April, RNAO raised concerns about the province’s mask mandate in high-risk settings initially set to end on April 27. In RNAO’s media release issued on April 12, Grinspun said “the government must rescind its decision to remove wider indoor masking until the sixth wave shows signs of subsiding.” Grinspun told CTV News (April 17) “lifting the mask mandate in hospitals, in nursing homes, in other congregate settings, on public transportation, would be the most irresponsible action any public health officer can take.” On April 22, the government announced masking in high-risk settings would continue until June 11. RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth told CHCH News (April 23) that while RNAO welcomed the extension, the mandate should stay in place indefinitely. “It’s too soon to set an end date right now,” says Hoffarth, adding that RNAO “…would really encourage masking to come back in other (indoor) public spaces.” Grinspun echoed this statement in a Canadian Press (April 24) story where Grinspun said we must keep the mask mandate in high-risk settings until public health indicators significantly improve. 

In April, the federal and provincial governments released their 2022 budgets. The federal government’s budget, released on April 7, included a commitment of $5.3 billion for a three-year plan to ensure children in low-income families have access to oral care, as well as to reduce child-care costs. The plan did not include any new funds for a national pharmacare plan but RNAO looks forward to seeing a pharmacare bill in 2023. In RNAO’s media release issued in response to the budget (April 8), Hoffarth commented on the lack of concrete details in the budget on how to improve long-term care. “Canada desperately needs to help improve the lives of seniors across this country,” said Hoffarth.  Another section of the budget that concerned RNAO was related to the budget’s approach to climate change and the controversial “carbon capture investment tax credit.” On April 28, the provincial government also tabled its 2022 budget. The budget included modest investments in nursing but falls short of addressing the nursing shortage. In RNAO’s same day response to this budget, Grinspun said that “we need to do everything we can to retain our colleagues in the profession.” One of the silver linings was a 35 per cent increase in nursing applications for baccalaureate nursing programs. In Toronto Star (April 28), Grinspun also noted that the expansion of the Learn and Stay grant is good news and should help shortages in the north but the “reality is the shortage is absolutely everywhere.”

RNAO continues to advocate for the expedited application process for IENs to join Ontario’s workforce and help alleviate the current nursing crisis. Many hospitals and other health-care settings have added IENs to their staff. On OMNI News Filipino (April 7), Grinspun said health-care organizations are “getting magnificent people.” However, despite the increase in IENs joining our health-care workforce, many are still having to wait before they can practise nursing in Ontario. On April 14, the Ontario government passed the Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act. This act is part of the government’s A Plan to Stay Open that was covered in March’s media report. It will reduce barriers to registering with and being recognized by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). While this legislation is welcome, IENs are still dealing with the slow processing of their applications. On April 23, Hoffarth shared with OMNI News Mandarin that “it’s still taking a really long time for IENs to have their applications processed and be eligible to write their entry to practice exams.” We continue to demand government and the CNO ensure the application process for IENs is streamlined so they can begin caring for Ontarians.  

RNAO's media outreach this month resulted in 159 media hits. As always, RNAO will continue to speak out alongside our members, as well as all Ontarians. For more media coverage related to the pandemic, visit RNAO’s COVID-19 Press Room

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