Bill 124 is an Ontario legislation that limits wage increases for nurses and actively contributes to the current nursing staffing crisis by exacerbating burnout, decreasing morale, and undervaluing the essential role that nurses play in our healthcare system. In doing so, Bill 124 threatens the quality of healthcare provided to patients across the province, and negatively impacts the training of future medical professionals. The strain Bill 124 has placed on the healthcare system will have adverse effects at all levels of care, for years to come.
58% of workers living in Canada do not have access to paid sick leave. Since labour policy is provincially regulated, paid sick leave legislation differs across the provinces. Currently, paid sick leave is only legislated in Quebec (two days per year), in PEI (one day after five years with the same employer), and for federally-regulated workers (three days per year). In Ontario, where there are no provincially regulated sick days, individual workplace policies dictate access to paid sick leave.
At the beginning of this month, the Government of Ontario released a new tiered framework for the province to combat the spread of COVID-19. On November 12th, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) released a statement calling for tighter restrictions from the Ontario government to curb the spread of COVID-19. With record high cases increasing by the day, the Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA) supports the OMA’s call to increase restrictions within each tier of the framework and allocate more resources for testing and contact tracing.