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May 31, 2024

RNAO’s ongoing media profile: Your May 2024 report

media profile

In May, RNAO’s president and CEO were featured in media stories related to Nursing Week (May 6 – 12, 2024), the importance of funding supervised consumption sites (SCS), new revelations about the nursing shortage and the need for a provincial alcohol strategy.

RNAO celebrated National Nursing Week May 6 – 12, 2024. “Nurses are the backbone of the health-care profession and we want to acknowledge them,” said RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway in a radio interview (Newstalk 610, May 10). “We celebrate them through the year but Nursing Week allows us to talk about our collective achievements.”

On May 10, RNAO hosted a media conference to demand government action on the toxic drug supply. Speakers at this event included Holloway, RNAO members and RNs Kathy Moreland, Neil Stephen as well as Marie Pollock, a person with lived experience and RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “It’s not politically favourable to say you support people who use drugs,” Moreland said (CTV News Windsor, May 10). While Premier Ford has indicated he prefers funding treatment and rehabilitation sites, Grinspun said that it is important to meet people where they are. “Nurses also believe in treatment. But not everybody is ready for treatment, and you cannot treat a dead person,” said Grinspun (Windsor Star, May 9). The stigma surrounding drug use has also caused people to misunderstand the need for harm reduction. “There is an incredible amount of disinformation out there when it comes to what harm reduction is and what it is we’re out there trying to do,” said Stephen (, May 20).

RNAO is calling on the premier to immediately provide funding to reopen the SCS sites in Windsor and Sudbury, as well as maintain funding for the site in Timmins. Nurses are also asking the province to fund SCS sites for every community in need and to expedite approvals for all outstanding consumption and treatment site applications. On May 28, RNAO participated in a rally at Queen’s Park to reinforce its call for funding of SCS sites. “Announce the funding for the sites. At the very least, (the sites) in Sudbury to continue, in Windsor to continue. In Timmins (it) needs to happen, in Belleville (it) needs to happen. In Peterborough, there was an increase of 28 per cent last year in deaths related to toxic substances,” said Grinspun (Humber News, May 28). "Supporting safe consumption services doesn't mean you condone illicit drug use. It means you understand that substance use is a health issue and not a criminal one affecting all walks of life in society. It means that you value all human life and its preservation,” Moreland told the crowd (The Trillium, May 28). Make your voice heard: Sign RNAO’s Action Alert.

Government numbers recently obtained by Canadian Press reveal Ontario will need 31,000 more nurses by 2032 in order to support the health-care system, information that was only made public through a Freedom of Information request. “The numbers do not surprise me at all,” Grinspun told CP24 (May 10). She highlighted that there are more people interested in becoming nurses but the provincial government needs to provide funding for nurses to be hired and stay in Ontario during their careers. “This is a policy issue, this is solvable. This mean competitive compensation, harmonization [aligning pay upwards] across all sectors and more supports in the workplace,” Grinspun added.

RNAO is one of several health organizations calling on Ontario to create a provincial alcohol strategy to prioritize health and safety. “The province does not have a coordinated action plan for reducing harms of alcohol use – both health harms and social harms. We are asking the government to build a provincial strategy,” said Grinspun (CP24, May 10). RNAO has been advocating for public policy that prevents and deals with the extensive health and social harms of alcohol consumption causes for a long time. Nurses are calling for an evidence-based provincial strategy to protect Ontarians.

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.