VON home care nurses want a raise

The Victorian Order of Nurses is warning that unless community nurses are given wage parity with their hospital colleagues, the home care component of our health care system “cannot be sustained”. VON is the largest provider of home visiting nursing in Ontario.

“We continually lose skilled, competent nurses to higher paying jobs in hospitals or they’re leaving the profession altogether,” says Diane McLeod, a Senior Director with VON. “Retaining our experienced staff is difficult and recruiting new nurses is just as hard. The nursing shortage in the province complicates things even more.”

The warning comes after the Ontario Nurses Association signed a new collective agreement with the Ontario Hospital Association. The package includes a 6.5% wage increase over three years and other contract improvements. VON nurses aren’t begrudging their colleagues’ good fortune, but simply want to be treated in a similar fashion.

“We’re pleased to see this well-deserved compensation; however, it’s just another reminder of the existing wage gap,” says McLeod. Community nurses in Ontario will now earn approximately 20% less than their hospital counterparts.

Home care nurses worevening shifts and weekends to deliver care that has become increasingly more complex. As anyone who has experienced the situation well knows, patients recovering at home today are more acutely ill than those released from hospital five years ago. Wage disparity and the current nursing shortage also have a major impact on the quality of care delivered to patients recuperating at home.

“If we can’t recruit new community nurses and are unable to retain our experienced staff, it will inevitably cause understaffing,” says McLeod.