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Nurse Stabbed to Death; Bill Introduced to Protect Workers

Nurse Stabbed to Death; Bill Introduced to Protect Workers

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press

April 23, 2009

TORONTO – More than three years after Windsor, Ont., nurse Lori Dupont was stabbed to death by her former boyfriend while at work, the Ontario government introduced legislation Monday that it said would better protect workers.

While nurses applauded the bill for bringing attention to the issue, the New Democrats complained the government failed to provide workers with all the protections it could have because the legislation deals mainly with violence at work, not harassment. Dupont was killed in November 2005 while on duty at Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital by anesthesiologist Marc Daniel, who worked at the same hospital. He later injected himself with a fatal dose of anesthetic and died days later.

The bill would force employers to prepare policies on workplace violence and harassment, and require them to take “reasonable precautions” to protect employees from domestic violence that may occur at work, said Labour Minister Peter Fonseca.

“Our obligation is to deal with workplace violence, not just from another worker, but from anyone who enters the workplace,” Fonseca told the legislature.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario called the bill “great progress in the right direction.” It formally acknowledges a problem so prevalent that many, if not most, nurses consider aggression and violence to be a part of the job, said executive director Doris Grinspun.

“This has been kind of in the closet,” Grinspun said about the amount of violence nurses face on a regular basis.

The association also wants changes to the “power differentials” in hospitals by including all health-care professionals on advisory committees, not just doctors, said Grinspun.

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