Nurses’ working conditions affect patient care, union says

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) registered nurses are saying that poor working conditions and government cuts are having a negative impact on the quality of care for their patients.

The striking workers held a vigil, which was followed by a rally, outside of the Provincial Ministry of Labour in Toronto this morning. CCAC workers and supporters came from across the province and braved the frigid temperatures, some for more than four hours.

A press release from the Ontario Nurse’s Association identified the following issues with patient care:

IMG_5732  • numerous referrals for the elderly into long-term care are no longer being    accepted;
• secretarial staff are being forced to try to make critical health care decisions for our patients;
• our youth in schools are not receiving any mental health support and are being sent to their local emergency departments;
• palliative care patients are not receiving end-of-life care at home;
• many surgeries are being cancelled in our hospitals due to the lack of beds and ability to discharge patients with home care services in place;
• CCAC offices have been locked up and patients have not been able to access them;
• there are backlogs of hundreds of priority-needs patients requiring CCAC health professionals’ care.

“We want to bring to light all of these issues in community care. The big thing (for us) is to take from the top,” one of the organizers explained.

Although most nurses in Ontario are considered essential services, and are therefore prohibited from striking,IMG_5722 CCAC nurses are not considered an essential service and do not have access to compulsory arbitration.

This means that the strike can continue indefinitely until one side gives in to the other’s demands or they reach a compromise, which can either happen at the bargaining table or at mutually agreed arbitration.

The 57,000 nurses that the province of Ontario deems “essential services” were awarded a 1.4 percent wage increase,  less than half the rate of inflation, and the exact amount that the CCAC nurses are currently asking for.


CCAC nurses feel that they should have wage parity with other nurses in the province of Ontario, essential service designations notwithstanding.

“Funnily enough, the person that is negotiating on behalf of the Ontario Association of CCAC’s is the same person who negotiated on behalf of the hospitals and the long term care homes and they were all awarded one-point-four (percent wage increase),” the striker said.” So we can’t understand why they are not awarding that to us.”

“We’re hoping for a really positive outcome from today,” she said. “If not then…we could be back”.






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