Ford says he’s working to add more health workers; won’t commit to repeal wage cap law


STRATFORD, ONT. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is doing everything in his power to add more health-care workers to the system, but is indicating that won’t include repealing wage restraint legislation or increasing a retention bonus for nurses.

Emergency departments across Ontario have been forced to close for hours or days at a time this summer due to staffing shortages.

Nursing groups, hospital executives and other health-care professionals and advocates have said that burnout after being on the COVID-19 front lines for more than two years and not being properly compensated have caused people to leave the profession in droves.

Many nurses point to Bill 124 as a major source of concern, saying that the legislation that capped wage increases for public sector workers to one per cent a year for three years has devalued their work.

Ford noted that the provisions expire and won’t apply to their next contract negotiations, but still didn’t say that he would repeal it, adding that the government has offered nurses a $5,000 bonus.

When asked at a press conference today if he would commit to paying them more, Ford said the bonus was a “thank you,” and no one thinks the world of nurses and other health-care workers more than he does.



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