Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO's ongoing media profile: The July 2022 report

This month, RNAO was featured in the media to discuss Ontario’s ongoing nursing crisis, which has led to several emergency room departments to close temporarily. RNAO also spoke out about the need to expedite the application process for internationally educated nurses (IEN), the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), eligibility for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and the gender pay gap in health care.

In July, several Ontario hospitals closed their emergency departments due to staff shortages. RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway told CityNews (July 11) that nurses “are extremely stressed that they are facing burnout. They feel that they are not valued.” RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun also spoke about this issue in Ottawa Citizen (July 8) and said “The reality is we are almost at the point of no return. It is not about staffing shortages. It is about nursing shortages.” In CityNews Ottawa (July 21), Grinspun said the key to solving the ER crisis is solving the nursing crisis because “without nursing, the system crumbles.” RNAO continues to urge the government to repeal Bill 124 and on CP24 (July 23), Grinspun said “the situation (in hospitals) was preventable and is still preventable – there are solutions. The premier knows, Bill 124 needs to go.” 

Expediting applications for internationally educated nurses continues to be one solution to the nursing crisis that RNAO remains vocal on. In a letter to the editor published in the Globe and Mail (July 13) and reiterated on CBC News: The National (July 3), Grinspun said “resolving Ontario’s nursing crisis would require repealing Bill 124, expediting the processing of 14,000 IENs who already reside in Ontario and building flexible bridging programs for thousands of registered practical nurses to become registered nurses.” In a CTV News (July 26) about the tens of thousands of nurses waiting on the sidelines to practise in Ontario, Grinspun said “You have ERs that are closing. You have nursing homes that don't have enough staff. All of it boils down to the same thing. Nursing is like the spinal cord of the system,” adding that.” On Global News Radio The Kelly Cutrara Show (July 27), Holloway reinforced Grinspun’s call and said “the situation is now in a collapsing state. We know we have these internationally educated nurses…that are ready to come onboard and we need to do all we can to expedite the process.”

On July 11-12, the Council of the Federation met to discuss various health-care issues, including the need for the federal government to increase the CHT. The premiers reiterated their unanimous call for the federal government to increase its share of total health-care spending across Canada to 35 per cent through the CHT. RNAO issued a media release in support of this request (July 12), but indicated that the funding must have strings attached. “Without the investment in health care, Canadians will continue to face long wait times in our health system, closures of emergency rooms, delays in accessing procedures and surgeries, and compromised long-term care and home care,” said Holloway. In a letter to the editor in the National Post (July 17) Grinspun said that “the premiers are right to call for an urgent increase in the CHT as a means to attain reasonable and stable long-term federal funding.”

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced that fourth does of the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to all Ontarians aged 18-59 beginning July 14. In a letter to the editor published in the Toronto Star (July 19), Grinspun welcomes the eligibility expansion, but says more is needed.  “We must move to reinstate the mask mandate for indoor public spaces to prevent further illness and long-COVID, as well as alleviate pressures on the health system.” RNAO encourages all eligible Ontarians to get their fourth dose.

A new report from the World Health Organization and International Labour Organization released on July 13 shows there is a wage divide in Canada between men and women working in health care. However, RNAO Immediate-Past President Morgan Hoffarth told Global News (July 13) that “people who work in health care are not adequately compensated for the work that they do at work and the work that they continue to do outside of work and outside of their paid time.”

This month, RNAO’s media outreach results in 182 hits. For a list of media interviews related to COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 Portal’s press room.

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