An open letter to the Ontario Nurses' Association from the Ontario Long Term Care Association

TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2015 - I am writing to request a retraction of the inaccurate and unprofessional statements about private long-term care organizations in the Ontario Nurses' Association recent news release [Nursing Home Nurses to Receive Wage Increase: CCAC Employers Continue to Refuse to Negotiate a Contract].

The statements were related to the current labour dispute between the ONA and CCACs, and referred to upcoming new contracts with long-term care organizations. In particular, you accuse Ontario's long-term care homes of taking "registered nursing care away from our frail and elderly patients, many of whom suffer from multiple, complex illnesses."
This type of inflammatory comment has the potential to create alarm among residents and families and perpetuate inaccurate and negative stigma about long-term care, not to mention create ill will between the ONA, nurses, and the long-term care sector.

Despite some of the accusations in your release, here are the facts:
  • All long-term care homes - charitable, municipal, privately owned, and not-for-profit - are funded, regulated, and accountable to the government for the funding they receive to provide safe, high-quality care to their residents. Funds provided by the province for nursing and personal care can only be spent on these items or they must be returned to the government.
  • The Long Term Care Homes Act currently prevents Registered Nurses from delegating some of their responsibilities to Personal Support Workers the way they can in home care or retirement homes. The Ontario Long Term Care Association has asked the Ontario government to amend the Act to allow this. Allowing both Registered Practical Nurses and Personal Support Workers to work at their full scope of practice would make a significant difference to long-term care.
It is unfortunate that you have chosen to use the current labour dispute in CCACs to negatively portray the hard work that is being done in our long-term care homes to provide quality care to seniors. Nurses working in long-term care homes are a critical component of that success, and we value their contribution.

Candace Chartier
Ontario Long Term Care Association