Respiratory therapy layoffs at Stevenson Memorial Hospital could affect emergency room hours

Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston is replacing most of their full-time Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) with part-time positions, culminating in a 29% reduction in respiratory therapy staff. The RRTs will only work day shifts and be on call at night, which could limit the hours the hospital can run its emergency room.

The RRTs joined OPSEU/SEFPO in April 2023. Currently, Stevenson Memorial has three full-time RRTs and 1 part-time RRT. Those positions will be reduced to 1 full-time RRT and 3 part-time RRTs. The RRT layoff is the result of the province pulling back pandemic funding from Stevenson Memorial, which also resulted in the layoffs of 13 nurses in March this year.

“This is yet another example of how the Ford government’s cuts to hospital funding impact people in communities like Alliston, who rely on their local community hospitals,” said JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO. “Doug Ford is sitting on a $22 billion dollar surplus while his government takes away funding from community hospitals like Stevenson Memorial.”

OPSEU/SEFPO’s Hospital Professionals Division has been holding rallies and protests province-wide against Bill 60, the Ford government’s healthcare privatization bill – including rallies held in partnership with Ontario’s other large healthcare unions – and supported the Ontario Health Coalition’s referendum on health care privatization.

“The funding cuts we’re seeing at Stevenson Memorial are part of the Ford government’s plan to take public funds away from public hospitals and contract out hospital services to private, for-profit clinics,” said Sara Labelle, Chair of the Hospital Professionals Division and OPSEU/SEFPO Region 3 Vice President. “There is no reason to put a community hospital’s emergency department hours in jeopardy by cutting RRT staff. This is what Bill 60 and privatization look like in our communities – and that’s why our union is fighting it every step of the way.”