Letter to the Community - Meeting Demand for Public Health Programs is Our Top Priority
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For generations, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has served our community by delivering public health programs that contribute to keeping us all healthy.
Whether it is prenatal education, services for new moms, vaccination clinics for children, public health inspections, or school dental screening for kids who may not otherwise have access to a dentist, the work of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit makes a meaningful difference to people across our area.
As a life-long resident of Windsor-Essex County and a nurse myself, I am immensely proud to have the opportunity to serve our community and work alongside so many committed public health professionals.
Our nurses deliver services in local schools, administer immunizations and deliver community programming, among other important responsibilities. They do an outstanding job on behalf of all of us and are to be celebrated for the work that they do.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has been engaged in collective bargaining with representatives from the Ontario Nurses' Association over the past several months. Unfortunately, the parties have yet to reach an agreement and there is a possibility of service disruptions in the coming days should the union decide to initiate a strike.
We want to be very clear about the priorities we have established at the bargaining table on behalf of the residents of Windsor-Essex County.
Our area is currently experiencing a growing demand for public health services, due to factors including a rapidly aging population, newcomers to our communities, and rising rates of childhood obesity. In response, we must focus our efforts – and our resources - on expanding services and programs to address these demands head-on.
Our top priority is to make the necessary investments to grow public health services and programs in our area. This priority has guided the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s approach to collective bargaining thus far and will continue to serve as our guide moving forward.
This means we are simply not in a position to meet the Ontario Nurses' Association’s demands for unaffordable pay increases at this time. Instead, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has offered a wage increase that will ensure our public health professionals are competitively and fairly compensated relative to their peers across the province.
In coming days, we will continue to keep residents up to date on potential work stoppages and service disruptions through postings on our website and social media. Residents can also get more information by calling our offices in Windsor, Essex and Leamington.
Rest assured that we will make every effort to get back to the table to reach a deal – one that allows us to make critical investments in the public health services and programs that help people across Windsor-Essex County every day.
Chief Executive Officer
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit