Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Pre-Budget Consultation 2015- Moving Forward on Deficits: Social, Health, Environment and Infrastructure

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing RNs, NPs and nursing students in all settings and roles across Ontario. It is the strong, credible voice leading the nursing profession to influence and promote healthy public policy. RNAO understands that budgets profoundly affect people's health and nursing services. For this, we welcome this opportunity to participate in the pre-budget consultation.

Summary of Recommendations

Fiscal Capacity
1) Ensure the fiscal capacity to deliver all essential health, health care, social, and environmental services by building a more progressive tax system. Do not cut taxes.

2) Increase revenue sources that encourage environmental and societal responsibility. Begin by phasing in environmental levies, such as a carbon fee, to help pay for the damage polluters cause and to support the social programs and services most needed.

3) Reject fire sales of publicly-owned Crown Corporations and assets to fund government programs [e.g. Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and the Liquor Control Board.].

Medicare: Fiscal Issues
4) Reject efforts to commercialize or privatize health-care delivery by
a. legislating a complete ban of inbound medical tourism.
b. probibiting new P3 negotiations and contracts.
5) Work with the other provinces to bring the federal government back to the table to negotiate a Health Accord.
6) Expand our publicly funded, not-for-profit health-care system to all medically necessary areas, starting with universal home care and pharmacare.
7) Focus on well-researched and demonstrated policies and evidence-based clinical practices to optimize the health of people, families and communities.

Medicare: System Improvements in quality and cost-effectiveness
8) Anchor the health system in primary care by expanding interprofessional primary care delivered in nurse practitioner-led clinics (NPLC), community health centres (CHC), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHAC) and family health teams (FHT).
9) Support Local Health Integration Networks to achieve regional health system planning, integration and accountability for all health sectors.
10) Phase out CCACs and transition the 3,500 care co-ordinators from Community Care Access Centres into primary care through a carefully crafted labour management strategy that retains their salary and benefits.

Nursing Care
11) Narrow the gap with the rest of the country of about 17,239 registered nurse (RN) positions as quickly as possible by creating more positions. Ensure that staffing mix decisions are based on patient need and stop RN replacement with other providers as a short-sighted and erroneous attempt to save money.
12) Maximize and expand the role of RNs to deliver a broader range of care, including delivering on government promises regarding RN prescribing.
13) Secure fair compensation and benefits for RNs and nurse practitioners (NPs) working in all sectors of health care by eliminating the discrepancy between community settings and hospitals/CCAC.
14) To protect the safety of our seniors and to ensure their timely access to quality care, phase in new minimum staffing standards in long-term care, starting with a minimum of one nurse practitioner per 120 residents
15) Ensure 70 per cent of all nurses work full-time so patients have continuity in their care and care provider.
Social Determinants of Health
16) Update and strengthen Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy with a detailed implementation plan, complete with targets and timelines, accompanied by substantive public investment.
17) Improve access to affordable housing and stimulate job creation in the process by investing one per cent of Ontario's budget to address the backlog of existing affordable housing units in need of repair and to create new affordable housing stock.
18) Raise the dangerously low social assistance rates to reflect the actual cost of living by setting up an expert panel that includes people with lived experience.
19) Increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour in 2015 and continue to index the minimum to inflation and ensure equal pay for equal work by expanding protections for temporary workers.

20) Set ambitious toxics reduction targets. Ensure people have the right-to-know about the existence of toxics in the environment, in their homes, in their workplaces, and in consumer products.
21) Regulate the use of neonicotinoids in agriculture to achieve a 15 per cent over-winter honey bee mortality rate by 2020, as a first step towards a complete ban.
22) Minimize the energy footprint by: focusing first on conservation and energy efficiency, and increasing reliance on renewable energy.
23) Take all necessary steps to:
a. ensure sufficient dedicated revenue sources to pay for a substantial expansion of transit and active transportation. and
b. support cost-effective and expeditious delivery of those expansions, implemented by transparent governance and informed expert opinion.

See the full submission with references below.

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