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Many Kingston, Ont. nurses say they haven’t received bonus promised by Ford government

Many local nurses say they haven't received the bonus from the Ontario government. The first installment was supposed to have been paid in June. The Canadian Press

Some local nurses are saying they still haven’t received the Nursing Retention Bonus promised by the provincial government, months after the first installment was supposed to arrive.

An anonymous local nurse told Global News that she and multiple other nurses have yet to receive the first installment, despite qualifying.

Read more: 5 things experts say could ease pressures on Ontario’s health care system

“From what the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario knows, maybe half of the bonuses were sent out in June,” says Claudette Holloway, president of the RNAO.

“We understand that in September, the remaining bonuses would come to those who are eligible. We haven’t heard specifically from our members, but there are rumours that there are some delays.”

In March, the Ford government promised up to $5,000 for actively employed, full-time nurses, to be paid out in two installments.

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Read more: Ontario offers nurses up to $5,000 as job retention incentive (March 7, 2022)

Even if these payments are eventually handed out by the province, Holloway says that this is a temporary fix.

“The retention bonus from the government is appreciated, but it is a band-aid solution,” Holloway says.

“By the time you get a $5,000 bonus, then by the time you pay tax, you know, the money’s already gone.”

Holloway believes the better solution for nurses is for the Ford government to repeal Bill 124, the bill that caps nurse’s wage increases to a maximum of one per cent total compensation for three years which is something the RNAO has been lobbying against for quite some time.

Read more: Ford won’t commit to repeal wage cap to address ER nurse staffing shortages

“We would like to see it repealed, absolutely, and we want to see it repealed now,”  Holloway says.

“Because the longer you leave it, the more nurses are going to leave the profession, and the more nurses are going across the border.”

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