September 28th, 2022

Ford’s wage restraint fueling hospitals crisis as new report shows huge staffing needs

NDP again calls for Bill 124 to be scrapped as Ontarians pay the price for its consequences

QUEEN’S PARK—Official Opposition Interim Leader Peter Tabuns and NDP Finance critic Catherine Fife are again calling on Doug Ford to scrap the legislation that is holding back wages of workers like nurses and fueling the crisis in Ontario’s hospital in light of a new Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report.

An FAO report released today regarding public sector compensation in Ontario projects huge health care hiring needs.

“The frontline health care workers who helped us through the COVID crisis are feeling burnt out, underpaid and disrespected by the Ford government,” said Tabuns. “Today’s FAO report shows Ontario will need tens of thousands more of vital public sector workers like nurses in the coming years. But Doug Ford’s low-wage policy will continue to drive public sector workers away.”

The FAO report shows alarming job vacancies among hospital and child care workers — since 2019, the hospital job vacancy rate nearly doubled, from 3.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent — and average salary growth for public sector workers is expected to lag significantly behind inflation.

“Starving workers of fair compensation won’t solve the health care crisis, or help our kids catch up in school,” said Fife. “Bill 124 has created a staffing crisis in our hospitals, health care and schools, and now the Financial Accountability Office has confirmed just how costly Doug Ford’s wage restraint legislation will be in the long run.”

Instead of backing off of Bill 124, Doug Ford is fighting public sector workers in court — a choice by Ford that could cost the public $8.4 billion.

“The NDP will continue to push for health care workers to get the pay and respect they deserve, starting with getting rid of Bill 124,” said Fife. “We will continue to urge the government to launch a massive strategy to attract, hire, train and retain health care workers with competitive wages and incentives, as well as reinstating the Practice-Ready Assessment program, to ensure the most qualified internationally educated physicians and nurses are working in our hospitals in just 12 weeks.”