Adjudicator Reilly found that the case law relied upon by the NIA was of no use in this case. In each arbitration proceeding submitted by the ONA, the parties were linked to the question of whether workers were entitled to offers of retirement options in accordance with Article 10.14 language. In each of these cases, there was little information on the reasons for the dismissals. The application of section 10.14 was not the subject of direct challenge or attention by the arbitrator. None of the cases dealt with the key issue of this case – when are workers entitled to the risk of applying Article 10.14? In the absence of arbitration on the application of section 10.14, Adjudicator Reilly was required to base his decision on an interpretation of the relevant provisions of the collective agreement. ONA is the union that represents more than 65,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 18,000 subsidiaries of nursing students who are cared for in hospitals, long-term care centers, public health, municipality, clinics and industry. TORONTO, September 7, 2018 /CNW/ – The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) has made a second decision on the controversial vaccination or mask policy ( VOM) and randomly conducted the policy of St. Michael`s Hospital and several other hospitals that make up the Toronto Public Health Science Network (TAHSN). These measures require nurses and other health care professionals to wear surgical masks that are not suitable for the entire position when they choose not to use the flu vaccine. Leading EXPERTS from the ONA, including the Toronto infection control expert, Dr. Michael Gardam, Quebec epidemiologist Dr.
Gaston De Serres and Dr. Lisa Brosseau, an American mask expert, stated that there was insufficient evidence of St. Michael`s policy and that there was no evidence that healthy nurses should wear masks during flu season, something was not conducive to the transmission of influenza in hospitals. They also testified that nurses who do not have symptoms are unlikely to be a real source of transmission and that it did not make sense to force healthy unvaccinated nurses to hide. Adjudicator Kaplan accepted this expert evidence. On the other hand, he noted the only right words to describe the hospital`s evidence to support the mask, „insufficient, insufficient and totally unconvincing“. In announcing the layoffs to the nurses involved, St. Michael`s Hospital presented nurses with the options listed in section 10.09 of the collective agreement. The options did not include the old age and separation benefits under section 10.14. The ONA disputed this omission and requested that the nurses concerned be offered retirement and separation benefits as part of their termination options. The hospital violates the collective agreement and has filed a political complaint. This is the second victory of its kind for ONA.
In 2015, Arbitrator James Hayes proposed the same type of policy in an arbitration process that included other hospitals in Ontario across the province, with Sault Area Hospital as the main case. Hayes found that there was an „evidence scant“ to ensure that influenza transmission to patients reduced influenza transmission when nurses were forced to use masks. Despite this clear verdict, the majority of TAHSN hospitals refused to follow the Hayes Award and maintained their respective guidelines.