Jim McDonell responds to nurses’ strike

SDSG MPP Jim McDonell. (MPP Office via Newswatch Group, File)

Randi Belec

SD&SG – Roughly 3,000 community health care workers are on strike across Ontario.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association says nine of 10 bargaining units of workers with the province’s community care access centers have voted to strike, with the main issue being wages.

The workers include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, among other health professionals.

“Health care professionals are now on strike because the Liberal government has been unwilling to reach a deal with them since last March,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “The Liberals have mismanaged provincial finances and have no idea how to balance the budget except by hurting health care providers and cutting personal care.”

The nurses are demand a wage increase after two years without a raise, under a wage freeze which ended March 2014. While many local residents are seeing their care and services withdrawn, the Champlain CCAC has not been affected by the lack of funding, says McDonell. Since 2010 the number of executives earning more than $100,000 per year has grown from 10 to 23.

“Community Care Access Centers across the province have already been cutting back home care services and completely eliminating care for some patients,” McDonell added. “Now thousands of vulnerable Ontarians are having home care services suspended and hospitals may see bigger backlogs as patients who should be going home remain in hospital beds. The Liberal government spent $2 billion for E-Health, $1.1 billion to cancel two gas plants but won’t negotiate a contract with front line health workers who help Ontarians stay independent in their home.”

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