Fund policies to support the nurses who deliver patient care under increasingly unsafe circumstances. Improve staffing and reduce workloads for nurses and allied health workers. And postpone corporate tax cuts in order to fund health care and important public services.

These and other priorities are in response to government funding policies that are forcing hospitals to cut nursing jobs to balance their budgets, according to the nurses’ pre-budget submission released last Tuesday, February 2, to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

The 17-page submission by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) sheds light on the effects of restructuring that have eliminated front-line nursing positions and “negatively impacted patient care” in communities throughout the province.

“The government really needs to take a hard look at how allowing these RN positions to be cut has impacted the quality of care,” said Linda Haslam-Stroud, ONA President. “Retaining RNs will go a long way to improving quality care.”

The submission also recommends funding minimum staffing standards in long-term care homes to 3.5 hours per resident per day, implementing the SARS Commission recommendations and bringing about wage parity for home care nurses.

John Bonnar

John Bonnar is an independent journalist producing print, photo, video and audio stories about social justice issues in and around Toronto.