Emergency Order Suspends Nurses' Rights

Publish date: Friday, May 01, 2020


Health care

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MNU is calling on the Pallister government to stop attacking the rights of frontline nurses and other health care workers, and instead work collaboratively to limit exposure to COVID-19 in personal care homes while ensuring safe resident care, MNU President Darlene Jackson announced today.

“Nurses understand the need for the single site order—our first concern is always the wellbeing of our patients and residents, and during this time of crisis, we understand difficult decisions need to be made” said Jackson. “Unfortunately, the Pallister government is refusing to work collaboratively with the nurses they are relying upon to provide care, and instead allowing employers to suspend nurses’ rights.”

As of today, the Pallister government has officially imposed an emergency order that allows employers to suspend Employment Standards and collective agreement provisions in place to protect nurses and other workers.

The Order regarding Personal Care Home Staffing and Work Deployment effectively allows employers to change work assignments and scheduling unilaterally. Just days earlier, MNU had been in talks with government seeking to work out an agreement that would reduce the impact on nurses, and ensure resident care standards. Instead, government decided to take a unilateral, heavy-handed approach.

Due to the widespread scheduling changes required by the public health order, nurses are deeply concerned about chronic short staffing situations in long-term care facilities, and how this order will impact the care residents receive. In 2018, MNU released a study on long-term care in Manitoba illustrating chronic short staffing in long-term care facilities, which is resulting in insufficient direct care hours per resident per day. Manitoba’s guideline is currently set at 3.6 hours, although many facilities are not able to meet that due to short staffing.

MNU has sought to ensure safe staffing levels in all facilities, and allow for disruption pay that would offset the financial impact of these changes on redeployed nurse and recognize their contributions during this difficult time, as done in other provinces such as B.C. and Quebec.

“Time and again, the Pallister government has decided to fight with nurses instead of finding reasonable compromise,” added Jackson. “During these extraordinary times, it’s all the more important to offer respect and recognition to nurses for putting patients first.”

MNU represents over 12,000 nurses of all designations from across Manitoba 

2020-05-01 - LTC Emergency Order


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