On Monday, October 26, 2020, SEIU Healthcare organized a rally at Southlake Regional Hospital in Newmarket and invited the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) to express our solidarity on this matter. Our message was loud and clear; we need to put a stop to workplace violence.

Last week one of our registered practical nurses (RPN) was attacked by a patient. Just a few days earlier, a registered nurse (RN) sustained injuries allegedly from a patient, which took place just one day after the hospital pleaded guilty to two out of nine charges. Instead of facing 13.5 million in fines, the plea deal allowed the hospital to settle their case with an $80,000 fine.

We know workplace violence is not specific to Southlake and dangerous incidents occur in all healthcare sectors across Ontario. Collectively, we are fighting to ensure all dedicated healthcare professionals are safe and protected in their workplaces. Violence in the workplace does not only affect the physical well-being of workers, but it can also have long-lasting physiological effects and impact their families and communities.

SEIU Healthcare has demanded to meet with the hospital to discuss several solutions for violence in the workplace. One of the solutions that would have a province-wide impact is bringing back a committee on workplace violence in the healthcare sector, which the Ford government previously dismissed. Another issue that has been highlighted, especially during this pandemic, is that the healthcare sector is not receiving enough funding or the right types of support. This is why we have also asked the Minister of Health and local MPP Christine Elliott, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Additions, Michael Tibollo, and representatives from the mental health to join us at the table.

In the middle of a second wave, where numbers are expected to rise, we must continue to do everything we can to protect our frontline healthcare workers. Pandemic or no pandemic, the health system is essential to our communities and must be safe for all workers and those they care for. We must band together and finally put an end to workplace violence. An injury to one is an injury to all.

To read more about the rally, please visit the links below:
Enough is enough’: Southlake nurses demand action on hospital violence – Branford Today.
Union demands action after another Southlake nurse is attacked at work – CTV News.

Rally At Southlake