Horwath touts health care hiring plan, calls for vaccine mandate
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said she would put a comprehensive plan in place across the province to hire and and retain health care workers.
She made the comments Wednesday at a stop in London outside St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
“One that includes the hiring and retention of our existing health care people. So nurses, PSWs (personal support workers), health care technicians -- we need to shore up our health care system, and we need a comprehensive plan to do that,” said Horwath.
She also vowed to scrap Bill 124, the cap on public sector wage increases, which includes health care workers.
The NDP leader also acknowledged there’s a problem with some health care workers still choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She said that’s contributing to longer hospital wait times, and the health care worker shortage.
“It’s really troubling that we still have folks that have decided not to do that, and as you will know, the (Ontario COVID-19) Science Table has advised Doug Ford that there absolutely needs to be an across-the-board vaccine mandate for health care workers in our province.”
But the resistance to COVID-19 vaccines among health care workers appears to be strong enough that at least some are willing to lose their jobs over their cause.
Shortly after Horwath’s London stop a group of about 40 health care workers from a variety of backrounds gathered at Victoria Park to denounce vaccine mandates. The group calls itself the United Health Care Workers of Ontario, and among them was London Health Sciences Centre RN Anita Davis.
Davis said she’s about to be terminated by her employer for not adhering to the hospital’s vaccine mandate, and she has many colleagues in the same position.
“But under no circumstances, please do not risk the collapse of Ontario’s health care system because of suspensions and terminations,” said Davis.
Former PC MPP Roman Baber, now independent, called on Premier Doug Ford to place a moratorium on such terminations.
“I therefore call on Doug Ford to own up to his mistakes and put a moratorium and block any suspension of any Ontario health care workers.”
The group claims tens of thousands of health care workers across the province face termination or unpaid suspensions because of vaccine mandates.