To the Editor,

What’s wrong with this picture?

Ontario has the lowest number of registered nurses and the fewest hospital beds per capita of all the provinces of Canada. Other jurisdictions, like Quebec for example, are trying to attract nurses with hiring bonuses and improved working conditions. Faced with an even worse ratio of nurses to patients, what does Ontario do? It stubbornly maintains Bill 124, which since 2019 limits public sector wage increases to one per cent, in spite of the toll taken on nurses who continue to respond to COVID daily and who face the same rising costs of living as the rest of their communities.

Bill 124 purportedly aims to keep public services sustainable, by limiting their cost to the fiscal situation of the province. At the same time, the province is splurging on pre-election giveaways like the license fee rebates and most recently, a reduction in gas tax. People might appreciate these pocketbook benefits in the short term, but they also have a strong sense of fair play. Ontarians know the largesse behind these voter bribes are paid for by the exploitation of nurses and underfunding of public hospitals. On June 2, cast your vote for strong public services that support us all, for a fair shake for nurses and reinvestment in public hospitals.

Elaine MacDonald,
co-chair of the Cornwall Chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition