‘It’s going to bankrupt health care’: Spending on temp agency nurses up more than 550% since pre-pandemic at one Toronto hospital network
It may not be a headline you’re going to see in a newspaper or seen on TV, but that’s the way it is in Ontario now, when public employees have to negotiate for more money every time a new government comes into power.
That’s what happened at Scarborough-Humber Hospital in Toronto this week when the Board of Trustees for the publicly funded acute care hospital voted 4-3 to extend a four-year contract that paid one nurse $82,000 as recently as this week. The new contract is an average of $1,000 a month up from $64,000 for the current contract, which the nurses have no say in.
According to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, the new contract will require the hospital to pay new nurses $1,000 to $1,200 a month for full-time, on-call shifts and a $1,500 per month to temporary, part-time staff.
The news comes as the union representing staff at Scarborough-Humber says its members are going on hunger strike from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 9, to protest the decision. It will also be the union’s first strike since the union was founded in 1995.
“It’s going to bankrupt health care,” says Toronto Nurses’ Association spokesperson Althea DeBartolo. “It’s not affordable for people now, and it never has been.” In order to get by, “It’s going to bankrupt the government to pay them as a public service.”
“The government is getting away with something that people are going to have to live with for years and years to come,” adds DeBartolo.
It doesn’t get