OCHU, SEIU and Ontario opposition leaders urge Premier to recall Legislature to deal with health staffing crisis, beginning with scrapping wage cuts under Bill 124

OCHU president Michael Hurley and Sharleen Stewart president of SEIU Healthcare were joined by the three leaders of the opposition (NDP, Liberal, and Green) for a media conference on Thursday, January 6, 2022, to call on Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario government to immediately recall the legislature for an emergency session to confront the harsh reality of the province’s health staffing crisis starting with the urgent repeal of Bill 124.

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Hospital plans to keep staff exposed to COVID working while awaiting test results are dangerous for patients

Warnings from Ontario’s health care front-lines of staff shortages and inadequate personal protective equipment to deal with airborne infection went unheeded for nearly 20 months by the provincial government.  “Now the staffing crisis is so severe at some hospitals that they require staff directly exposed to COVID to work while awaiting test results, to keep ERs and beds open. This is a dangerous practice which puts at risk patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems and other staff,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE).

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Ford Government’s Response on Long-Term Care is a Travesty

The so-called “new” long-term care legislation introduced by the Ford government is scheduled for third and final reading in the legislature today and it will be passed by the Conservative majority likely today or tomorrow. The bill, which is really just a series of amendments to the existing Long-Term Care Homes Act (2007), has been rushed through in advance of the provincial election in order to make the appearance of doing something, without crossing the vital interests of the for-profit long-term care industry, and without committing the funds and political will to the changes that are actually needed.

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