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SEIU Healthcare mourns the loss of healthcare worker

A nurse is the latest healthcare worker with COVID-19 to die.

Maureen Ambersley passed away at the age of 57 and leaves behind her parents and two children. She was a dedicated union steward and an exemplary RPN for over 16 years. She worked at the Extendicare long-term care home in Mississauga.

SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, released a statement saying that Maureen Ambersley passed away due to COVID-19 on January 5, 2021.

“Maureen’s family, friends and colleagues are in deep sorrow,” said Sharlenn Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare. “On behalf of our union family, I extend our deepest sympathies to Maureen’s family, as well as her close friends and colleagues who we know loved her like a sister.”

SEIU Healthcare has lost the following four members — all women of colour — during the pandemic: nurse Maureen Ambersley, PSW Christine Mandegarian, PSW Arlene Reid, and PSW Sharon Roberts.

Healthcare workers are standing up to the private, for-profit nursing home operator for being discriminated against based on their gender and skin colour. SEIU Healthcare is standing shoulder to shoulder with exploited workers in this sector who they say are predominately of people of colour and overwhelmingly women.

“It’s time we boldly change the conditions of work and care in our nursing home system once and for all,” Stewart added.

SEIU Healthcare has filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on behalf of workers at Responsive Group’s Rykka Care Centres, pursuant to section 34(5) of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The complaint is calling for better working conditions for the applicants, as well as orders to replace the management at the Rykka Care Centres.


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