As its front-line registered nurses and health-care professionals continue to battle COVID-19 on the front lines of health care, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and its members will pause to remember those who have died or have been injured or made ill on the job.
April 28 is Canada’s National Day of Mourning. For front-line nurses and health-care workers, this year will be particularly difficult.
“Ontario’s dedicated RNs and health-care professionals have been caring for their patients, residents and clients throughout the most serious public health crisis to hit the world in a century,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Tens of thousands of front-line health-care workers – including scores of ONA members – have been needlessly infected with COVID-19. On May 12, 2020, ONA member Brian Beattie, RN, died of COVID-19.
“Today is a day to remember our colleagues and those who have lost their health, their livelihood or their lives,” she says. “It is also a time to again call for improvements in workplace health and safety.”
For front-line nurses and health-care professionals, this includes strengthening measures to prevent workplace violence in health care. Statistics show that workplace injuries and violence harm nurses and health-care workers at a frightening rate.
“ONA will remember the registered nurses who have died while providing care for others. In addition to Brian Beattie, RN, Nelia Laroza, RN and Tecla Lin, RN were infected and died of SARS while caring for their patients. Lori Dupont, RN, was murdered by a colleague while working in Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital,” says McKenna. “The list of our members who have passed away due to work-related issues sadly continues to grow. ONA will continue to advocate for members’ health and safety at the government, employer and Bargaining Unit levels. Workplace injuries, deaths and illnesses are preventable,” she says.
“During this pandemic, our front-line workers have shown incredible courage. We urge Ontario to honour their sacrifices by joining ONA in the fight for stronger occupational health and safety laws, and for employers, CEOs, directors, officers and supervisors to be held accountable for workplace health and safety.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.