Cornwall Ontario Community Hospital Bilingual Staffing Policy Protest Grows – March 30, 2012

Cornwall Ontario Community Hospital Bilingual Staffing Policy Protest Grows – March 30, 2012

CFN – An interesting evening Wednesday after council as I sat in on a meeting of nurses and supporters of the CCH Bilingual Staff policy protest here in Cornwall.

Nurse Christopher Cameron’s petition is now closing in on the 3,000 signature mark and it’s uncovering some hidden undercurrents at CCH.  It’s becoming more than just a language policy and intolerance issue, but a sign of alleged poor practices and management at the hospital.

When you have nurses with over 30,000  hours of part time work being denied full time status that’s an issue to cause concern.

When you have 5 unilingual nurses being refused a position over a six month rookie purely because of language skills many can understand frustrations within the community especially as there appears to be a under staffing issue at the Hospital.

Does a morgue attendant really need advanced French skills?

We’re currently sifting through documents leaked to CFN which on the surface are quite damning of the Hospital under the care of Jeanette Despatie and the leadership of Helen Periard.

The nurses I met, nearly 20 people were at the meeting,  shared more in depth about their fears for reprisals or loss of income.   When asked about their Unions the answers were unanimous that they Unions were letting them down and  not bringing their issue to management.

When asked why the nurses for example didn’t switch unions or decertify they said that there’d be a 90 day window where they’d be with no contract and they feared CCH Management simply picking them off one by one.


Likewise the nurses expressed frustration with a lack of support from Elected Officials from the MP Guy Lauzon, MPP Jim McDonell, and Cornwall City Council.

It was amazing seeing the spirit of these nurses; some of whom had just finished 12 hour shifts.   One nurse had just finished 3 days of 12 hour shifts, was called in for a fourth and of course is a part timer!

She shared that the hospital was over loaded, and had a major flu issue going on as well.     If a nurse calls in sick and a replacement isn’t readily available I was told a nurse going off duty has to stay.     It’s a wonder the nurses themselves are succumbing more because your immune system weakens with fatigue and stress.

While this scribbler could clearly see frustration on most in attendance there was also a bold strength and commitment to keep working towards getting the Province to initiate an investigation of the Hospital’s practices.

They also said they’d continue to picket the hospital in spite of attacks such as the one that occurred recently, but to the group’s frustration was not reported on in spite of another media person recording it on video.

We will be updating this story as information comes in and if you wish to submit any materials email us at

Cornwall Free News

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