February 24th, 2016

NDP demands Wynne government stop pushing out Windsor nurses to the U.S.

During Question Period today, Lisa Gretzky, NDP MPP for Windsor West, demanded the health minister stop denying health care cuts that have resulted in layoffs for registered nurses in Windsor, who are being pushed out of the country to find a job. 

“Every day, the Minister gets up and denies that the Liberals are cutting patient care. But patients and nurses in Windsor know what’s really happening,” Gretzky said. “The Liberals have frozen hospital budgets for four straight years. And that’s forcing Windsor Regional Hospital to cut 169 registered nurses – more than 10 percent of its RN workforce.”

American hospitals, like Beaumont Health Systems in Michigan, have come to Windsor to hire nurses who’ve been cut from Windsor hospitals. Registered nurses are being interviewed one day and hired the very next.

“These nurses should be working in Ontario’s hospitals, not being forced by this government’s cuts to leave the country just to find work,” Gretzky said.  “Can the Minister tell us how many nurses, who’ve been cut from our hospitals by this government, have been hired by American hospitals, that are only too thrilled to take our highly-skilled and dedicated Ontario nurses?”

The Liberals’ cuts to patient care are hitting Southwestern Ontario hard. In addition to cuts in Windsor, even more frontline health care workers are losing their jobs across the region, from Sarnia to Hamilton to Waterloo.

“The Liberals’ cuts to hospitals are devastating for patients and nurses in Southwestern Ontario.  Those cuts mean longer wait times for patients. More worry and stress for loved ones. And they leave our nurses feeling discouraged and frustrated by a government that just doesn’t share the priorities of Ontarians,” Gretzky said.

“When nurses are laid off, families can’t just pick up and move across the province to find a part-time casual nursing job somewhere else. Instead, those nurses in our border communities are forced to look to the private health care system in the US for jobs they can’t get here at home.

“When will the Liberals stop cutting our hospitals, stop pushing Ontario’s nurses to take jobs in Michigan, and start protecting patient care in all of our communities?”