Violence against nurses continues at troubled Ottawa mental health centre

The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) continues to be concerned about insufficient security and other safety measures for nurses and other staff working for the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, where yet another nurse was recently beaten.
The centre is part of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group where numerous assaults have taken place.

"On Sept. 10, yet another nurse was beaten by an agitated patient," said ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud. "This occurred on the same unit as the 2012 incident in which three nurses were severely beaten by a patient, which resulted in the Ministry of Labour pressing charges against Royal Ottawa Health Care Group with three infractions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to protect workers."

That case has been in the court since November 2014 and is set to resume on Nov. 2.

Haslam-Stroud noted that the Ministry of Labour has also charged Royal Ottawa Health Group with five infractions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in another incident in which a registered nurse was stabbed in the throat by a patient at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group's Brockville site.

ONA is also seeking remedies from the Ontario Labour Relations Board in ongoing litigation with Brockville Mental Health Centre to ensure precautions necessary to protect nurses and other staff against violence are put in place. Haslam-Stroud says enforcement efforts to date have not been effective in getting this employer to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers.

"Clearly, it's well past the time when this employer should turn its attention to keeping the dedicated nursing staff safe on the job," says Haslam-Stroud. "Workplace violence in health-care can no longer be tolerated, and the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group must step up to the plate and invest in the safety of its staff."

ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.