Sir: Ontario’s public health nurses have been called the “public’s safety net” – and for excellent reason.
Caring and dedicated, public health nurses work tirelessly to ensure those in our communities stay healthy and well. These highly educated RNs work to provide public education and health programs such as immunization clinics and illness prevention initiatives and to make sure those that need care receive it.
Public health nurses provide an array of services including monitoring and tracking disease outbreaks, sexual health education and smoking cessation programs. The care they bring to this community is invaluable, ensuring those who live in Chatham-Kent receive the education, counseling and services that gives individuals and families the best chance at living in a healthy community.
Yet 42 public health nurses in the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit continue to be among the lowest-paid public health nurses in Ontario and have been working without a contract since Jan. 1, 2014. Regrettably, negotiations have broken down and the RNs will be in a legal strike position on Nov. 3.
These devoted public health nurses who are charged with the protection of this community are seeking a wage increase similar to other professionals who have the same responsibility. I encourage the Chatham-Kent Board of Health to take another look at their priorities. The clients we serve are already having their services cut when this employer does not replace nurses on leave. This erosion of services has to stop!
We are asking for your support by sending a message to your Member of Provincial Parliament and to the Chatham-Kent Board of Health. Tell them that you support public health nurses and the vital work that they do.
This employer needs to recognize the value these nurses provide to the Chatham-Kent community. They are at the forefront of protecting the health of Ontarians.
President, Ontario Nurses’ Association