Ontario nurses awarded 11% raises over two years, dedicated isolation pay: Union
Nurses in Ontario have been awarded average raises of 11% over two years, according to their union.
The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) said the arbitration decision released Thursday includes “the most significant wage increases… in decades” for the 65,000 hospital-sector registered nurses (RNs) and health-care professionals it represents.
The arbitrator’s decision calls the increases “long overdue and meaningful,” and acknowledges that wages have fallen behind over the past decade and play a significant role in the ability to retain and recruit more nurses, according to the ONA.
Wages rising about $5 to $7 per hour
The arbitration decision provides average wage increases of 11 per cent over two years. When added to two additional recent arbitration decisions stemming from the overturn of Bill 124, Ontario hospital RNs and health-care professionals will receive wage increases that average 16 per cent from March 31, 2023 to April 1, 2024. This amounts to an average hourly wage increase of approximately $5 to $7, the ONA said.
“This decision is a first step to righting past wrongs, and bringing hospitals nurses’ compensation up to where it should be,” said Erin Ariss, president of the ONA. “In his decision, Arbitrator Kaplan explicitly recognizes that improving wages is among the best ways to recruit and retain desperately needed nurses and begin to fix the nursing shortage. ONA members have been organizing across the province to push for better wages to improve staffing and patient care. This time, we were heard.”
In a first for health-care contracts in Ontario, the arbitrator has also provided dedicated isolation pay. This ensures salary continuation in the event of exposure to communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, recognizing health-care workers are at heightened risk, the ONA said.
“I give full credit for this significant arbitration decision to our front-line members and our extraordinary bargaining team,” said Ariss. “The historic engagement of hospital nurses across the province in recent months represents a new era for the profession. This new contract will not fix staffing shortages overnight, especially with a government pursuing a disastrous privatization agenda. The fight for better patient care is only beginning.”
ONA is the union representing 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
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