Latest news
April 30, 2024

RNAO’s ongoing media profile: Your April 2024 report

media profile

In April, RNAO’s president and CEO were featured in media stories related to the closure of supervised consumption sites, the chief medical officer of health’s annual report, funding for NP-led clinics, internationally educated nurses (IEN), the federal budget and new Best Practice Spotlight Organizations® (BPSO®).

The Spot, a safe consumption site (SCS) in Sudbury, had to close its doors on March 29 due to lack of funding. RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway had previously visited the site in January, calling on the provincial government to provide the site with bridge funding until the government reopened its review of site applications. The province is currently conducting a safety review due to the death of a woman outside of a SCS in Toronto in July 2023. SafePoint in Windsor has been closed since the end of 2023 for the same reason. RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun told (April 3) that there is no time to wait to reopen these vital resources. “We cannot continue to have people dying along in our streets simply to wait for a report,” said Grinspun. In the Windsor Star (April 24), Grinspun said that “Ontario must implement a provincial harm reduction strategy, which includes safe consumption, drug-checking, safer supply and the decriminalization of personal possession.” Sign RNAO’s Action Alert urge the premier to fund SCSs immediately.

The province’s chief medical officer of health released his annual report which focused harm reduction and substance use. In the report, Dr. Kieran Moore recommends increased access to harm reduction services (which includes SCSs and safer supply). He also calls for decriminalizing simple possession of unregulated drugs for personal use, which Grinspun noted is an evidence-based practice that many other countries are using. "Decriminalizing drug possession also takes away the stigma and it is then you really can focus on helping people,” Grinspun told The Trillium (April 3).

RNAO continues to call on the provincial government to urgently fund independent NP practice without user fees to provide Ontarians with access to primary care when they need it. In Global News (April 15), Grinspun notes the frustration among NPs waiting for the green light to proceed with their clinics: “They are giving up on waiting for funding…They’re saying the public wants us we are going to set up shop and they’re charging patients.” In response to news of Health Minister Sylvia Jones’ letter to the federal government asking for a national solution for primary care access, Grinspun says “They don’t need a national solution. They don’t need the feds to tell them what to do. The key issue is there is inadequate funding for nurse practitioners…If we want to serve the public, the time is now to put the money on the table,” (Ottawa Citizen, April 17). Sign and share RNAO’s Action Alert: Fund nurse practitioners in primary care, premier!

In 2022, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and health human resource challenges across Ontario’s health system, RNAO worked with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), and the federal and provincial governments to expedite the application process for IENs. Since then, many IENs have begun practising in Ontario but some challenges still persist related to work permits and residency approvals. Grinspun tells Toronto Star (April 15) IENs are “the most complex group because we don’t always know about them…they’re lost in the system.” She adds that recent changes by the CNO and the province will result in “humongous progress” in the coming years. 

On April 16, the federal government released its 2024 budget. In its response, RNAO applauds the government’s housing plans, support for additional mental health care for young people, commitment to its carbon pricing program and more, but highlights the absence of plans to address Canada’s nursing workforce crisis and primary care. “Without nurses there is no health system,” says Grinspun. “And, without a robust primary health-care sector we will never achieve a high functioning system. Ottawa must continue to increase its share of total government health spending to 35 per cent – with strings attached – to ensure deliverables.”

Seventeen health organizations have joined RNAO’s world-renowned Best Practice Spotlight Organization® (BPSO®) program. In a media advisory, Grinspun said she is “thrilled to welcome organizations from different sectors and regions in the province to the ever-growing BPSO program, a social movement of science. From public health to primary care, home care, hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as an Indigenous-focused academic BPSO and the Pikangikum Health Authority, these partners are committed to building evidence-based practice to improve health outcomes.” The BPSO cohort was formally launched at an event on April 25.

RNAO will continue to speak out alongside its members on topics related to nursing and health. Stay up-to-date on media coverage by visiting RNAO in the news. If you’re interested in speaking with reporters on issues related to nursing, health and health care, complete a short survey and our RNAO communications team will be in touch.