Ontario LTC nurses get biggest pay raise in 30 years

May 24, 2024 | News, Provincial News

Nurses in Ontario’s long-term care homes won an 11.5 per cent wage increase over two years.

It is a part of the new collective agreement and will be distributed as 8.5 per cent rise in 2024 and an additional three per cent rise in 2025. This is one of the most significant wage increases in more than 30 years.

The arbitrator awarded a three per cent raise each year and increased the salary grid amount by 5.5 per cent starting July 1. The starting wage for registered nurses in long-term care will increase to $33.99 from $32.22 per hour.

For nurses with eight years of experience, the wage will increase to $51.46 from $48.78 per hour.

Erin Ariss, president of the Ontario Nurses Association, said this decision is a first step towards recognizing the highly skilled work performed by nurses and health care professionals.

“While the decision does not eliminate the wage gap between public- and private-sector nurses, it significantly reduces the disparity between them and brings us closer to equal wages,” she said.

Angela Preocanin, first vice-president at ONA, told Humber News that the nurses from the long-term care sector are very excited about this historic raise.

“This move is giving them some hope. It’s not the top parity with our hospital nurses but it certainly is a good start,” she said.

Preocanin said the association’s political actions, mobilization and rallies had made a big impact.

“I believe that our actions at extended care, for instance, where we had a picket happen back in March, was pivotal,” Preocanin said.

She said that the picket showed that they would not let for-profit homes carry a huge profit on the backs of their members.

Preocanin said they had three rallies, one at the head office, another on April 12 with pickets at various extended care homes across the province and the third one at Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

“I think that it really raised kind of the alarm bells and the awareness to say, we need to see some encouragement in bargaining for our members”, she said.

When addressing future changes, Preocanin said she hopes the government helps improve staff-to-patient ratios.

She said there is a need for nurse-to-patient ratios to ensure quality care, contrasting the current situation.

“You know, you have ratios of one RN in the building … responsible for 200 residents,” Preocanin said.

Brianna Davis, a temporary RN, said it is a great initiative to increase the wage for nurses in the long-term care setting because they’ve worked extremely hard to promote well-being for the elderly.

“From my experience, I’ve noticed that their workload and patient-to-nurse ratio can be a lot, and that requires increased responsibility, accountability, competence,” Davis said.

“Thus, this is good in compensating us for our drive and desire to increase patient satisfaction and trust in the profession by the public,” she said.