Dear MPP,

A recent poll of Ontario acute care hospital staff found that 68% of direct care staff were assaulted once in the last year; 20% were assaulted more than 9 times; 42% were sexually assaulted or harassed, and 44% were afraid to report this violence for fear of reprisal by their employers.

The violence faced by health care staff is fueled by years of real budget cuts which leave Ontario with the fewest number of staff to patients and the least number of beds to population of any jurisdiction in the developed world. The World Health Organization has identified understaffing as a key cause of violence against health care staff.

I ask for your support for the private member’s bill recently introduced by Hon. France Gelinas, which would protect people who report or speak up about violence at work.

I ask for your support also for investments to increase staffing levels in Ontario’s healthcare workplaces; to remodel infrastructure, where required, and to provide personal alarms; to improve flagging systems which identify violent patients to staff; to improve reporting from other health care facilities, correctional institutions, and the police, so that when violent patients transfer, the receiving facility is alerted; and finally, for an amendment to the criminal code which would make it a more serious offence to assault a healthcare worker (this already exists for transit staff).

I would very much appreciate hearing from you about the actions you have taken on the above-noted issues. Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

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