They say the only sure things in life are death and taxes.
Sadly for the nurses and health-care professionals at Health Sciences North (HSN), serious and unreasonable challenges to being able to file accurate tax returns have become another sure thing.
Not only has this hospital knowingly issued one set of incorrect T4 slips to its nurses and health-care professionals, but when called out for this illegal practice, it proceeded to issue a second set of incorrect T4s.
Many members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) have been provided with T4s which dramatically overstate wages paid in the last tax year – in some cases, by $30,000 to $50,000.
Sudbury RNs and health-care professionals are dedicated to providing high-quality care for their community and are worth every dime they earn — and then some. But the reality is that their wages were suppressed for the past three years by a piece of legislation passed by the Ford government. Bill 124 has been found to be unconstitutional by the courts and the Ford government has announced it will spend more taxpayer dollars appealing the decision.
The bigger issue in Sudbury is the complete and inexplicable incompetence of a hospital the size of HSN for being unable or unwilling to follow the law and issue accurate T4s. Every employer is expected to be capable of accurately issuing these tax documents — large, small and in between. It is a core competency that is expected of all organizations.
The fact that HSN failed to do so — and more seriously, instructed its nurses and health-care professionals to use them — is just the latest example of the clear disdain for which this employer holds those who dedicate their lives to caring for Sudbury residents.
For the people of Sudbury, it is a clear indication that all is not right in the management of this hospital. The hospital may face serious fines or penalties for knowingly issuing incorrect tax documents. Our nurses and health-care professionals could have faced serious penalties for knowingly filing their taxes with documents that were inaccurate.
Where is the accountability?
More to the point: For nurses and health-care professionals, where are the accurate T4s? April 30 is approaching.
Bernie Robinson is the Interim Provincial President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association.