Ontario invests $35 million in nursing programs, adding 2,000 positions to the sector

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The Ontario government announced a $35-million investment in nursing education programs, which they say will add 2,000 nurses to the health-care system.

The investment will increase enrollment in nursing programs at publicly-assisted colleges, the government said.

New spaces for approximately 1,130 new practical nurses and 870 registered nurses will be available for the fall 2021 and winter 2022 cohorts.

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“Through this investment, and many others, we are addressing the long standing staffing challenges that have impacted the long-term care sector,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.

With an increased focus on staffing registered and practical nurses, the province says it can deliver on their promise to dedicate four hours of direct care per day to long-term care residents.

The announcement follows a poll last week that found 30 per cent of Ontario registered nurses considered quitting the sector due to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Last week, CTV News Toronto reported that throughout the pandemic some Ontario nurses have felt underappreciated, undercompensated and under respected.

A recent independent commission found Ontario had no comprehensive plan to protect long-term care homes, which has been understaffed and neglected for years.

In other findings, the Canadian military claimed that more than two dozen residents at a Toronto long-term care home died due to dehydration prior to their arrival during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s incredibly important to understand what the families have gone through, what the staff have gone through, what the residents have gone through,” Fullerton said.

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