‘It’s insulting and nurses are done’: Ontario nurses rally against Bill 124

Nurses from across the province rallied at Nathan Philips Square on Sunday to protest Bill 124 which caps wage increases for public sector workers – including nurses, teachers and pharmacists – at one per cent.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, one of the rally organizers, is calling on the the Ford government to repeal the bill because it “demoralizes and undermines our profession” and is leading to an exodus of nursing professionals. It claims the province was already in the midst of a nursing crisis which has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nurses are leaving the bedside in droves and a large part is because Bill 124 – the final straw,” said registered nurse Leah Waxman, one of the rally organizers. “Staffing challenges are so severe that Ontarians’ health care is in danger if the current conditions continue.”


“For 22 months relentlessly, selflessly, without thinking twice about putting their lives and their families at risk, with the fear that it entails, with the expertise that they provide every day … what do they get in lieu of that? A slap in the face,” said Dr. Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the RNAO.

“I remember when that came out I cried because you were calling me a hero one day and then rewarding me without even a wage increase to match the cost of living,” said registered nurse Nancy Halupa. “It’s insulting. It’s insulting and nurses are done.”

RNAO president Morgan Hoffarth cited statistics which show nursing vacancies in Ontario have more than quadrupled over the last five years, and there was a 56 per cent increase in vacancies over the first half of 2021.

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