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Union calls on province to step in immediately with resources

KINGSTON – The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), Eastern Lake Ontario Branch, is on the brink of closure, and patients who rely on homecare in the Kingston area are at risk of losing vital services, says the union that represents half of the 200 workers at the agency.

“The local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) does not have sufficient funds to properly pay the VON,” says Sue Balog, president of CUPE Local 3932, representing 90 registered nurses (RNs) and 10 office workers at the Kingston VON. “The amount paid to VON for home visits in this area is well below the provincial average, and our agency is unable to keep functioning at this level. We are the only home care agency in the area that is not-for-profit, and the primary agency servicing the rural areas surrounding Kingston. This is nothing short of a crisis.”

The funding crisis for CCACs has been well documented in recent years. The situation has been worsened by the province’s introduction of a compulsory competitive bidding process for home care, which has ensured that already-limited resources have been diverted away from patient care, and toward administrative costs and profit generation.

“Health Minister Tony Clement created this mess,” says Balog, “and he should answer to the patients who rely on us every day. What will happen to them if the VON closes its doors? The disruption to their lives and well-being will be incredibly harmful. The remaining agencies in the area – all for-profit corporations – are not likely to pick up our full load of patients, especially in the rural communities. Furthermore, most of our workers will leave the community nursing sector altogether, and this will intensify and already critical nursing shortage in the area.”

The union is also calling on the local CCAC to lobby the province for additional funds. The Kingston VON is currently carrying a caseload of over 1100 clients in the Kingston, Napanee, Sharbot Lake, and Clyone areas.


For more information:
Sue Balog, president, CUPE Local 3932,
(613) 634-0130 (office)
Cheri Dobbs, CUPE National Representative,
(613) 542-2069 (office), or (613) 583-1899 (cell)

Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999 (office)