TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2021 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Ontario Medical Association, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Prime Minister Trudeau and made statements today today to say they are adamantly opposed to and not endorsing or supporting the anti-vaccine protests taking place outside of five Greater Toronto Area hospitals today, including Toronto General Hospital.
“Ontario’s nurses and health-care professionals are dedicated and exhausted professionals, who are continuing to care for extremely sick patients under challenging conditions as the pandemic’s fourth wave rages on,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN.
While Toronto Mayor John Tory said GTHA “Mayors and Chairs strongly condemn protests targeting hospitals specifically targeting hospitals and support our enforcement officials in taking any action they deem necessary to protect our hospitals and keep our healthcare workers safe.”
The ONA is a union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as more than 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke out to say as “Canadians we need to have each other’s backs.”
“We will make illegal to block access to any healthcare building. We will also make it illegal to threaten or intimidate any healthcare worker or any patient in need of healthcare,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
“As a union, ONA is not opposed to peaceful protests, but there is a time, place and subject – and what we are seeing today definitely isn’t it,” she adds. “We know from previous protests on the streets in front of hospitals, that nurses and health-care professionals, along with their patients and their families, were harassed entering the facilities, and we implore these protesters to ensure their safe passage. Hospitals must be safe zones for patients, families and staff.”
The ONA says health-care workers deserve our utmost respect and deep gratitude for everything they have done to get us through the past 18 months of the pandemic. And their patients – some of the most vulnerable in the province – are innocent bystanders.
“People who to hospitals because they need medical help,” added Tory. “They also don’t need to be harassed or intimidated by protestors.”
The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) also spoke out against the planned protests saying it “is saddened and deeply disappointed that additional anti-vaccination protests are planned outside Ontario hospitals this week. We strongly urge those exercising their right to freedom of expression to do so peacefully, and in a manner that is respectful to the patients at those hospitals for care and the health care personnel working and performing their duties.”
SOURCE Ontario Nurses’ Association