It has come to our attention that TOH nurses, and indeed all frontline healthcare providers, are being asked to volunteer to participate in a study being conducted by McMaster University.
Participants are being randomized to wear either a procedure mask or an N95 respirator when providing direct patient care. I have been assured by Cameron Love that this does not negate wearing appropriate PPE as determined by your point of care risk assessment, including N95 masks, for any and all aerosol-generating procedures.
It is ONA’s position that this study is reckless and puts the health and safety of our members in danger as it seeks individuals to forego access to N-95 respirators, which they would otherwise to legally entitled to assess pursuant to the terms of Directive #5, so we ask that you do not volunteer to participate in the study.
If you are already part of this study, we would advise you to withdraw your participation. Should you have the misfortune of contracting COVID-19 due to exposure at work and as a result of being a study participant please make sure you complete all WSIB workplace exposure forms, an SLS, and alert Occupational Health and your Union of your exposure.
Rachel Muir RN
Local 83, Local Coordinator
Ontario Nurses Association
The Ottawa Hospital
Bargaining Unit President
Letter from ONA Local 83 BUP/LC Rachel Muir to Premier Doug Ford
Dear Mr. Ford,
As Ontario moves out of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic Ontario’s dedicated nurses are now faced with Bill 195. A bill that will ensure the lives of frontline health care providers, those same health care providers you lauded as being heroes again today, will continue to be disrupted with changes to work schedules, workplaces, cancelation of vacation, a non-existent work-life balance and undue stress and uncertainty.
At a time when it has been so clearly demonstrated how much Ontario needs strong, knowledgeable, experienced nurses and frontline healthcare providers,
when for the last four months, frontline healthcare providers have been celebrated and called heroes and when it is clear they are going to be called upon time and time again to be there to care for the people of Ontario no matter what the personal cost, the Ontario Government, your Conservative Government, demonstrates how much they truly value us. Actions speak louder than words and your actions have demonstrated the true value of nurses in the eyes of the Government.
It is hard to understand why, when you yourself have declared that the state of emergency is now over, you would feel it necessary to maintain, change and advance emergency orders when there is no emergency. Throughout this pandemic and the state of emergency, it triggered the front line nurses and health care providers of this province to demonstrate the lengths they were willing to go to, the sacrifices, indeed the ultimate sacrifice for some, they were willing to make to provide care to thousands of Ontarians. With reprieve finally insight we are confronted with a bill that tells us we are untrustworthy, unreliable, and expendable.
Once more your actions have spoken louder than any grandiose statements you make about the heroes nurses are. I do not wear a cape and I do not save the world. I am a nurse and I am worthy of far more than you say I am. I am worth more than 0.93% and I am worth more than a bill that says I cannot be trusted to do the right thing when Ontario is in crisis.
Rachel Muir RN
Ontario Nurses Association
Bargaining Unit President
STATE OF EMERGENCY AND EMERGENCY ORDERS
As you are aware COVID-19 and the ensuing state of Emergency and Emergency orders have all resulted in a drastic change in our lives, both home, and work.
Doug Ford and his Conservative Government have just extended the emergency orders to July 22 and are tabling legislation to extend the State of Emergency to July 24. It is currently due to expire on July 15.
Without this extension, they are unable to table additional emergency orders or extend the ones currently in place.
These 2 legislated items resulted in the suspension of Articles 10 and 11 of our central collective agreement. The articles that prevent the actions we have seen over the past 4 months where layoffs have happened, redeployments have occurred, vacation and leaves are being canceled, schedules are being changed to accommodate the needs of the hospital with little or no consideration of the impact this is having on your lives.
This is a stark look at life without a fairly negotiated collective agreement and a union in place to ensure these collective agreements are adhered to and when they are not adhered to, tools to hold our employers accountable.
Ford and his Conservative Government and now looking to table legislation to extend the State of Emergency to the end of 2020. This will give them the ability to continue to tie the hands of your union as we work to represent you and your best interests. This action, coupled with the arbitrated contract and Bill 124, are all actions of a Government that wants to break the unions. Break our union.
It is now up to all of us to focus our anger and our energy on the governing body that is forcing these misogynistic actions on us.
Once again, I ask you to email, call, and meet with your MPP. Email and call Doug Ford. Join us as we protest Bill 124 in front of the offices of your Conservative MPPs and as we meet with them to tell them why this bill needs to be rescinded and hold them to committing to doing so. Focus your energy on the Conservative Government. They are the enemy.
Rachel Muir RN
Local 83 Bargaining Unit President
ERROR on the Previous email Correction:
The most recent COVID-19 update incorrectly stated that surgical masks could be used for up to 8 hours and N95 masks for up to 4. It should have read as follows:
Use of N95 and surgical masks can be extended to 8 and 4 hours respectively
I apologize for the confusion and stress this may have caused you.
Rachel Muir RN
ONA Local 83 Bargaining Unit President and Local Coordinator
Here is some information you can get out to our members. There seems to be a need to squash some rumors and make sure they have the right information and tools.
This last week has been one of constantly changing and ever-evolving information. What was protocol one day, changed the next.
As PPE is the subject on everyone’s mind, let me stress that ONA still maintains the precautionary principle. So if, in your clinical and nursing judgment, airborne, contact, and droplet precautions are all necessary you can and should have access to N-95 masks.
If you are denied access to or use N-95 masks let me know. I will need to know the circumstances around the denial, the name of the person who denied you the N-95 mask, when it happened, your unit, and your name.
I will then provide the information to our LRO to be able to address it immediately.
There has been a lot of talk about repercussions or discipline if you are ‘caught’ using N-95 masks and I want to reassure you that this is not the case. I have already emailed Dr. Kitts about this and he told me that this is not the directive being given to managers.
If you are disciplined for using N-95 masks while caring for your patients let me know and I will inform our LRO and we will address it immediately.
For nurses who are pregnant, the direction from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has provided is that the risk to mother and baby is related to the degree of illness the mother experiences. It is important that you check with your primary health care provider as each and every one of you should be assessed on an individual basis.
Above all continue to do what you all do so well, use your clinical and nursing judgment as you care for all your patients, and provide the excellent care you have always provided. Know that your local executive is here to support you as we move through these stressful and ever-changing times.
Rachel Muir RN
Ontario Nurses’ Association
Bargaining Unit President
The Ottawa Hospital
Tel:(613)731-1314 Ext 222
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace as does the information about it. Our goal is to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant information available to us at the time. I want to remind you as well that All Staff messages and other important information can be found at my hospital.
In today’s message to All Staff, I will address concerns that many of you have brought to my attention over the past 24 hours.
Clarification on return to work directives
Late this afternoon, the Minister of Health clarified that residents of Ontario, including asymptomatic healthcare workers, are to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada. I will keep you informed as further information becomes available.
I know that yesterday’s message regarding healthcare workers returning to work after travel abroad caused anxiety and confusion for many of you, and for this, I apologize.
We know from experience in dealing with previous crises, that many decisions are based on expert opinion and experience, as the scientific evidence emerges. I want to assure you that we are working closely with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Ottawa’s Public Health Officer (OPH), and our Director of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) to ensure that our decisions are aligned in the best interest of our patients and staff.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirement clarification
I have also heard that many of you are anxious and uncertain about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and its use throughout the hospital.
COVID-19 spreads by droplet and contact. In order to provide the best protection for staff requiring PPE, we are following the directive given by the Chief Medical Officer of Health that requires:
- Droplet and Contact Precautions for the routine care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and
- Airborne precautions when aerosol-generating medical procedures are planned or anticipated to be performed on patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Please note that N95 respirators do not provide more protection than a regular surgical mask during routine care when a virus is spread by droplets or contact. Eye protection, gloves, gowns, and surgical masks, when worn properly, provide an effective barrier against COVID-19.
Our Director of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) wants to remind everyone that the most important things that we can do to protect ourselves are:
- Ensure that hands are clean before donning, during and after removing PPE, as instructed;
- Properly apply the appropriate PPE;
- Ensure that mucous membranes are covered when providing care; and
- Properly remove PPE.
Shuttle service and parking on site for staff
Many of you have contacted me with concerns about the shuttle service and its impact on social distancing. We will suspend our shuttle services (intercampus and parking lot shuttles) as of Friday March 20, 2020. Staff who currently park in TOH off-site lots and require shuttle services, will be allowed to park on-site as of Friday. Further information will be provided to you by Nathalie Cadieux.
Thank you for your understanding and support during this extraordinary challenge. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation evolves, and provide you with the information and support you need.
Here is an update on information around COVID-19.
The message will be going out to the managers that they are to be supportive and consistent in their messaging to staff in that staff are allowed to use N-95 masks if they feel the need to do so.
ONA central continues to stand by the precautionary principle.
Anyone who has traveled to the United States or internationally and is asymptomatic is to return to work and self-assess. they are to let Occupational Heath know about their return.
Anyone who has traveled to the United States and is symptomatic is to report to Occupational Health, Public health, go to an assessment center and get swabbed, and remain at home for 14 days.
Anyone exhibiting mild symptoms is to contact Occupational Health, Public Health and go to an assessment center for screening.
Swabbing of all health care providers is begin given priority. They need to identify as a health care worker and then results will be obtained more quickly
Any illness other than respiratory continues to require the appropriate APS or APSR forms and physician notes.
Nurses with chronic illnesses and/or co-morbidities are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There is to be a strategy of redeployment as necessary
Fit testing has been increased in the MOR’s, Endoscopy, GI Endoscopy, all the RT groups, Vascular, the NICU, and SCN.
Thomas Hayes has stated and is following up with the following:
An increased presence of Paladin Guards at the assessment center.
Is requesting a police presence at the assessment center at Brewer Park
Is looking into a third security company at the assessment center.
Will be going back to the planning group regarding increasing the frequency of breaks for the nurses at the assessment center as they are starting to experience skin breakdown on their noses and behind their ears from wearing masks.
There is now active screening at the main campuses and all satellite units.
Staff is being checked as they enter any campus or satellite unit and are being asked to self-monitor.
The Provincial Government has been contacted about getting supplies of Purelle hand sanitizer, masks, COVID-19 swabs, and Virox wipes.
Your Local 83 Executives.
COVID-19 AND LTC FACILITIES
TOH is now working with Laurier Manor. Starwood and West End Villa will be added to our portfolio in the near future. Carlingview and Madonna Manor are now under QCH and Montfort Hospital respectively.
TOH continue to deploy those members of staff who have volunteered to help first. Managers may reach out to you if they feel you have the right skills and abilities for LTC. At this time you are not obliged to go if you do not want to.
Inspections should have been completed at these facilities and the necessary PPE, cleaning, cohorting residents, etc. is being done. If you encounter any issues alert the manager on site and ONA Local 83 if these issues are not resolved.
There are managers on site at Laurier Manor and will be when we go into Starwood and West End Villa.
As per the original emergency order that allows for redeployment, you are to receive an orientation to the unit or facility you are assigned to. TOH is aware that you are accountable as an RN and require the tools and information to enable you to function at this level.
PPE is to be made available to you as per your point of care risk assessment and as outlined in Directive 5.
You remain an employee of TOH and are to follow TOH policies and procedures.
TOH models of care are to be used.
You are only to be scheduled in one facility and will not be going back and forth between your home unit and the LTC facility.
Contact the onsite manager if you encounter any problems or issues during your shifts or shifts
You remain a member of ONA Local 83 and should contact your bargaining unit president with any concerns related to your deployment.