Sault Area Hospital (SAH) and the Ontario Nurses` Association (ONA) have recently reached a new collective agreement. The agreement, which covers more than 500 registered nurses at SAH, was ratified on April 27, 2021, and is effective from April 1, 2019, through to March 31, 2023.

This agreement comes after several negotiations between SAH and ONA representatives, which started way back in January 2019. The agreement has been reviewed, refined, and now includes several provisions that are geared towards improving the working conditions of the registered nurses at the hospital.

One of the most significant improvements in this agreement is the inclusion of a new position for registered nurses. This new position, called the clinical resource nurse role, provides additional support for registered nurses in the emergency department, intensive care unit, medical unit, and surgical unit. This position aims to improve patient care outcomes by ensuring that registered nurses receive the necessary support to deliver high-quality care.

The collective agreement also includes improvements to registered nurses` compensation and benefits, including wage increases, signing bonuses, and coverage for professional development and certification. Additionally, the agreement includes provisions for increased staffing levels, which will help reduce workload and improve patient care.

The negotiations also included discussions on how to provide a safe and healthy workplace for the registered nurses. A new Workplace Violence Prevention Program that focuses on addressing and preventing workplace violence has been established. This program will ensure that workers are trained in identifying and managing workplace violence and that steps are taken to minimize any risk of harm to nurses and other hospital staff.

In conclusion, the new collective agreement between SAH and ONA is a significant achievement for registered nurses working at the hospital. The agreement includes several provisions aimed at improving working conditions, increasing staffing levels, and enhancing patient care outcomes. The new clinical resource nurse role is an exciting development that will provide additional support for registered nurses. The Workplace Violence Prevention Program will help ensure that the hospital is a safe and healthy place to work. This agreement is a win for both nurses and the hospital, as it sets the foundation for a positive and productive working relationship.