SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

SEIU Canada (Service Employees International Union - Canada)

November 26, 2009 16:24 ET

SEIU Canada: Health Professionals Welcome Safe Needle Move

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 26, 2009) - The Service Employees International Union healthcare workers in Ontario welcomed the announcement to increase protection for frontline community care professionals by making safety-engineered needles mandatory in home care and community-based care settings.

Peter Fonseca, Minister of Labour, and Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, were praised by SEIU for following through with the government's commitment to extend safety needle regulations in the province.

"Home care workers and other community health care professionals have been waiting a long time for this day and we welcome it," said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Local 1 Canada, which represents 46,000 healthcare workers.

The safety-engineered needles will become mandatory on July 1, 2010 in home care settings, doctors' and dentists' offices, community health centres, family health teams and independent health facilities.

"As a home care worker I am glad I can now demand the same kind of protection that my counterparts in hospitals and long term care already have," said Elizabeth Gordon, a Certified Personal Support Worker.

Before Ontario's needlestick regulations were implemented for hospitals in 2007 and long term care facilities in 2008, 35,000 health care workers suffered medical sharps injuries in this province every year.

SEIU has led the campaign in Canada to win legislation or regulation for the mandatory use of safety-engineered medical devices across Canada. Before 2005, when no safety sharps policies existed in Canada, 80,000 health care workers sustained injuries annually because of unsafe medical sharps.

When the use of safety sharps is mandatory the incidents of needlestick and sharps injuries is reduced by 80 per cent.

The mandatory use of safety sharps also leads to significant cost saving, since all reported injuries require expensive post-injury treatments.

SEIU said the next step was for all medical sharps that have a safety-engineered alternative must be included in Ontario safety regulations.

Contact Information

  • SEIU Canada
    Pat Chastang
    Media Relations