Ottawa, Kingston, Eastern Ontario Registered Practical Nurses Talk Openly About Pandemic Experiences; Eastern Ontario RPN Poll Being Released Friday May 14 - 11 a.m.

·2 min read

As part of Nursing Week (May 10-17) registered practical nurses (RPNs) who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) from Ottawa, Kingston and other eastern Ontario communities and SEIU Healthcare are speaking openly with media (tomorrow) Friday, May 14 at 11 a.m. on ZOOM ( about their personal challenges and experiences working throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Ontario hospital-based RPNs have worked diligently on the pandemic front lines for nearly 16 months. Behind their stoic façade there are tens of thousands of individual stories of inner turmoil, trauma, and resilience.

Their unsettling first-person accounts of the impacts on their lives and wellbeing working in hospitals through the pandemic are supported by a CUPE poll of hundreds of Ottawa and eastern Ontario hospital-based RPNs were probed about their mental health, morale, workload and how they feel about nursing following grueling months of pandemic work.

The Ottawa/eastern Ontario CUPE poll and SEIU survey findings open a window into this highly skilled but undervalued female workforce.

Ontario funding for hospital care is among the lowest in Canada. Today across the province, hospitals are critically short of nurses. The poll and survey results are telling of an increasingly educated RPN workforce that even pre-COVID was dealing with a prolonged period of staff shortages, high acuity patients, heavy workloads, and health and safety risks.

Jointly CUPE and SEIU represent nearly 20,000 hospital-based RPNs among their collective hospital sector membership of about 70,000 who work in hospitals in every part of Ontario.


Front-line hospital RPNs with OCHU/CUPE and SEIU Healthcare

SEIU Healthcare - President, Sharleen Stewart and Jackie Walker, President, Nursing Division

OCHU/CUPE – President, Michael Hurley and Sharon Richer, Secretary-Treasurer


Media conference May 14, 11 a.m., as part of Nursing Week 2021 (May 10-17)

CUPE and SEIU RPNs talk publicly about challenges of pandemic work

Release of survey and a poll of Ottawa, Kingston, eastern Ontario RPNs who have worked throughout the COVID-19 crisis


Virtual media conference link:

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Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300,
Corey Johnson, SEIU Healthcare Communications, 416-529-8909,

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