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Doug Ford agrees to $5,000 retention bonus for front-line nurses in Ontario, union says

Health-care workers are seen in the intensive care unit at Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has agreed to a retention bonus for all front-line nurses in publicly funded facilities, a union representing nurses and health-care professionals says.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) said in a statement Friday that union president Cathryn Hoy negotiated the bonus in a meeting with the premier.

“The retention bonus negotiated today is for a lump-sum, $5,000 payment and the premier indicated that this will go to the Treasury Board as early as next week for approval and further details on implementation,” Hoy said in the statement.

Read more: Doug Ford to meet again with Ontario nurses’ union on worker retention plan

Hoy said the premier has still not agreed to repeal Bill 124, a controversial bill that caps annual public sector wage increases at one per cent.

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But Hoy noted, “We have negotiated concrete commitments to implement several measures to fix Ontario’s serious nursing shortage.”

Hoy said the government will resurrect the late-career nursing initiative and new graduate program and will work with the Ontario Hospital Association to ensure nurses can take time off.

The statement noted repealing Bill 124 is “not off the table for further discussion.”

Click to play video: 'Premier Ford meets with ONA to discuss nursing shortage' Premier Ford meets with ONA to discuss nursing shortage
Premier Ford meets with ONA to discuss nursing shortage – Feb 3, 2022

The ONA said further discussions are planned regarding the nursing sector.

Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ford, didn’t discuss details when asked about the latest meeting with the ONA.

“Premier Ford and (Health) Minister (Christine) Elliott had another productive meeting with the ONA during which they discussed a series of options to attract, train, and retain more nurses,” Yelich said.

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Ford and Elliott first met with the ONA last week.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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