Ontario Nurses’ Pickets at Extendicare Canada


MARKHAM, ON, March 27, 2024 – To mark the start of Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) collective bargaining with 194 participating Ontario for-profit nursing homes, close to 200 nurses and health-care professionals held an early-morning picket outside Extendicare Canada’s corporate headquarters in Markham today.

“Care, Not Profit is our rallying cry as we push back against low staffing levels and unequal wages at Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes,” says ONA Provincial President Erin Ariss, RN. “Corporations like Extendicare are raking in record billion-dollar profits on the backs of vulnerable residents and those struggling to care for them under impossible working conditions. Nursing home residents are not receiving the quality and safety of care they need because of understaffing. It’s deplorable, and we are taking action to fix it.”

Ariss says that ONA’s front-line nursing homes staff are clear about their priorities for a new contract and willing to fight for them: they all want quality care to be the top priority, full stop. This means that ONA is entering talks demanding RN-to-resident staffing ratios and equal wages with hospital nurses. Front-line staff know that achieving these priorities will vastly improve the amount and quality of care residents receive.

Ariss says the time is now for these corporations to put care before profit. “We have seen the very clear outcomes for residents of for-profit homes compared to non-profit homes. The class action lawsuit just given the green light for the absolutely dire conditions and excessive deaths that happened during COVID-19’s first phase in six of these for-profit homes has put the neglect of residents in the spotlight.

“ONA is firm that our provincial government must demand accountability from these for-profit corporations, as should every Ontario citizen. The Extendicares in this province receive generous taxpayer funding – and skim profit off the top, unchecked. They understaff and underpay workers to maximize profit. Their shareholders come before providing the care they are entrusted to deliver. Nurses are loud and clear: the days of corporate greed overruling the needs of our vulnerable residents are going to end, and we intend to fight for it.”

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


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