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Urgent Action Required to Address Critical Staffing Crisis in Community Health Sector

12th Dec 2023 Ontario News
Ontario Community Health Organizations Release Findings from Compensation Survey

TORONTODec. 12, 2023 /CNW/ – Ontario’s community health sector is facing a critical staffing crisis, stemming from a widening wage gap between community health care workers and health workers in other sectors. Action from the Ontario government is needed to close this gap and secure the stability of Ontario’s health care system.

The community sector is more than $2 billion behind on wages, compared to their peers doing similar work in hospitals and other sectors. This is despite the fact that community health care requires a specialized skillset due to highly complex patients often facing multiple severe and chronic conditions, often 24/7 service delivery responsibilities and obligations, and limited resources relative to hospitals.

The community health workforce encompasses a range of essential health care roles, including nurses in primary care, addiction and social workers in mental health organizations, and personal support workers in home and community care, long-term care among others. These workers ensure patients can receive the right care in the right place and help to reduce the burden on acute care settings, such as hospitals and emergency departments.

Ten Ontario community health organizations have jointly released a new report, showing that despite the rising cost of living and a competitive health care job market, community health sector staff experienced an average salary increase of only 1.53% in 2023, with some roles projecting a 0% increase. This pales in comparison to the 11% increase awarded to hospital nurses and the 8% increase for emergency medical services, further exacerbating the wage gap.

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