The union has heard from burnt-out frontline healthcare workers who feel under attack through Bill 195’s emergency power overreach leaving them even more vulnerable to pandemic spread.
Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, is calling on Doug Ford’s government to stop their attacks on healthcare workers through Bill 195, which would deny burnt-out staff without desperately needed respite and vacation after months of excruciatingly difficult circumstances.
Bill 195 is an extraordinary overreach that would allow for already precarious workers to be further exploited by the for-profit long-term care industry, including denials of vacation and respite.
Further, Bill 195 is a gift to the for-profit long-term care industry to override the collective agreement by enabling more shifts to newer, lower-paid workers.
Ultimately, after suffering the impacts of a crushing pandemic, Bill 195 will contribute to the continued exodus of workers from the sector, leaving everyone more vulnerable to continuous pandemic spread.
The long-term care sector needs an urgent plan of action to ensure security and quality care.
STATEMENT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT, SHARLEEN STEWART:
“The provincial government must listen to the alarm bells we’re ringing on behalf of the physical and mental well-being of workers on the frontline of our long-term care system. The government is making a critical situation worse through Bill 195. The legislated emergency powers overreach means continuing to force staff to work in only one facility, while at the same time not providing full-time work guarantees.
Our members are sharing their real fears that they’ll be unable to pay their rent or mortgage if they remain in the jobs they love, but without the income security they need.
We are calling on the provincial government to urgently introduce an action plan to support our already understaffed and overworked nursing home staff. That plan should include:
- Reintroduction of police background checks for new hires
- Reintroduction of regulations that ensure resident care plan adherence by management
- Compensation equivalent to full-time salaries when forced to work at one workplace
- Making Pandemic Pay permanent
- Access to mental health counselling for frontline staff
- Paid sick leave for all staff
- Guaranteed protections of vacation and respite days
- Recognition of family caregivers as essential visitors
- Investments to double staffing levels to ensure quality care
- Ongoing distribution of full-PPE with strong fines to companies that deny workers access’
As we prepare for pandemic flareups and the fall/winter flu season, we need an action plan to protect vulnerable staff and residents from a system on the brink of collapse.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca