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Hospital staff overworked, support from province needed, Ontario union says

A union representing Ontario hospital workers is calling for an injection of funding into the province’s health-care system to help curtail what they call a worsening staffing crisis.

CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions says their members – who include registered practical nurses, personal support workers and clerical staff – are experiencing crushing workloads in understaffed hospitals and the situation is taking a toll on their well-being.

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Secretary-treasurer Sharon Richer says a recent survey of more than 750 members indicates two in five workers have contemplated leaving their jobs and a similar amount dread going to work because of the heavy workload.

As the union bargains for a new contract, it’s calling on the government to increase full-time staff in hospitals and to follow British Columbia’s lead by bringing in mandated minimum staff-to-patient ratios.

To help meet those proposals, the union wants the province to invest $1.25 billion annually over the next four years on top of inflation.

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The province’s independent fiscal watchdog has said the government needs to add more than 86,000 nurses and personal support workers by 2028 to get back to pre-pandemic staff levels and meet commitments to expand hospitals, home care and long-term care.

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