Ontario government must rethink and reset COVID-19 plans and allow union partners to join the pandemic response table

Richmond Hill, Ontario — The following statement is from Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, a labour union that represents 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in the province of Ontario:

“Ontario’s pandemic plans need a rethink and a reset.

We all want Ontario to be open for business, but to avoid the whiplash effects of closures we must first follow the science and the candid advice of Public Health and other impartial medical experts.

SEIU Healthcare represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers across the province and we are seeing the fear on the frontline drastically rising as control of the pandemic slips from our province’s hands.

We are calling on the Ontario government to bring a fresh set of eyes to pandemic plans for all sectors of our healthcare system.

Yesterday alone, 24 seniors died in Ontario’s long-term care homes. These are our grandmothers and grandfathers. SEIU members who care for our most elderly are again watching body bags exit the doors because COVID-19 cases are climbing daily in our communities.

Our members who work in Ontario’s hospitals are losing confidence that the system can support their critical roles.

As the pandemic spreads, home and community care workers are dangerously exposed as they deliver care throughout our high-risk neighborhoods.

We share the concerns of the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association about our ability to support a safe reopening under these conditions.

SEIU Healthcare and our union partners have pragmatic solutions—derived directly from the voices of those fighting the battle on the frontline. Let’s put those solutions into immediate action to make sure healthcare workers remain on the job when we need them the most.”


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