Today, the Ontario Government released the 2020 Budget that outlined investments and policies to respond to the ongoing pandemic and support the government’s recovery over the coming months. In response, WeRPN has issued the following statement:
Ontario has a challenging path ahead in the continued fight against the global pandemic. WeRPN was pleased to see the government’s 2020 Budget include dedicated investments to ensure our province is able to respond to the evolving health challenges posed by COVID-19, while ensuring Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and other health professionals have the tools they need to keep themselves and their patients, clients and residents safe.
In particular, WeRPN applauds the government’s efforts to respond to the vulnerabilities in long-term care through the commitment to enhance the minimum standard of care by recruiting and retaining more health care professionals. WeRPN looks forward to working with the government to create more opportunities for career advancement and micro-credentialing for Ontario RPNs to meet the care needs in this sector over the coming years.
Recognizing the needs of province’s aging population, WeRPN strongly supports the introduction of the Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit that will give more Ontarians the option to age in place, while at the same time easing pressures on our long-term care system and retirement facilities. Though this financial support has the potential to have a significant impact, it will be equally important to ensure Ontario continues to have an adequate supply of nursing and other health professionals available to meet the needs of these clients over the longer term.
Ontario RPNs also support ongoing investments in Mental Health and Addictions. These investments will help ensure more Ontarians can access mental health supports and resources at a time when they need it most.
Despite many significant and important investments, Ontario RPNs are disappointed that the 2020 Budget failed to respond to their call for a temporary wage increase that mirrored the government investment in Personal Support Workers (PSWs). Ontario RPNs recognize the vital care that PSWs provide to Ontarians and support the government’s plan enhance the wages of these dedicated health workers. However, this policy leaves RPNs behind and discounts the important work they also do. It also fails to recognize the significant financial hardship RPNs have faced after months of being limited to one workplace. We urge the government to take steps to ensure RPNs are also compensated fairly for their critical role and the care they provide.
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Director of Policy & Communications