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June 5, 2023

2023 Convention - Newsletter Day 1

2023 Convention

Welcome to our 2023 CFNU Biennial Convention in the historic and beautiful city of Charlottetown, PEI!

A CFNU biennium is always an exciting event – four days of insight, inspiration and solidarity.

This year, it is even more so as it’s the first time Canada’s unionized nurses are gathering in person since before the pandemic began.

We will have the opportunity to reconnect, recharge our solidarity, and reemphasize our commitment to public health care and solving the challenges we face as nurses in every part of Canada.

This year we also enthusiastically welcome members of the British Columbia Nurses’ Union back into the CFNU family, and expect to build new relationships and find new inspiration.

If you haven’t walked through historic Charlottetown – where the foundation of Canada’s Confederation was laid in September 1864 – we encourage you to do so. There are fine restaurants, craft beer and shopping only a short walk from the Convention Centre, as well as Province House where our united Canada began.

Unfortunately, Province House is closed for renovations, but lobster dinners are still served in Charlottetown 2023, just as they were at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.

As nurses, we are the natural leaders of the modern era – working to make Canada a better country and advocating to preserve and protect our country’s public health care system.

We have the strength, integrity and passion to speak up on the challenges impacting the health of our patients and our communities. From staffing levels and patient safety to workplace violence, equality, justice and climate change – nurses have the power to create positive change.

Have fun! Work hard. This will be a great week.

Be sure to follow the CFNU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The convention hashtag is #WeGotThis.

Can’t rain on our parade

The sprinkle of rain and a refreshing ocean breeze welcomed hundreds of nurses as they embarked on a healthy walk to kick off the biennial convention.

Led by CFNU President Linda Silas, the rain jacket-clad nurses wound their way through the streets of the provincial capital to see the sights and stretch their legs before starting two full days of education workshops followed by two days of convention business.

Rain or shine, the healthy walk is a longstanding CFNU tradition that gives convention delegates an opportunity to get some exercise, reconnect with their colleagues and make new friends on the first day of the event.

Sowing the seeds of climate change advocacy

CFNU Biennial Convention delegates marked World Environment Day today by attending a tree planting designed to begin to heal the planet from disasters caused by climate change.

“By planting a single tree, each of us can contribute to the fight against climate change and improve the quality of life for all Canadians – a powerful contributor to the determinants of health that concern all nurses,” CFNU President Linda Silas said on Monday.

The red oak tree was planted by the CFNU on the shores of Charlottetown, symbolizing the powerful impact individuals have on the environment.

Prince Edward Island Nurses’ Union President Barbara Brookins participated in the ceremonial planting alongside members of CFNU’s National Executive Board Monday afternoon.

Noting this year’s fires and storms that have disrupted lives from coast to coast, Brookins said the CFNU Board was inspired by the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada’s (CURC) annual June tree-planting program.

Silas adds that planting the sapling at the south end of Queen Street is a small but powerful symbol of the impact we can all have as individuals on the environment.

World Environment Day provides a chance for people all around the world to create a greener and healthier planet, and take an active role in safeguarding the environment for future generations.

A little rain couldn’t dampen Canada’s nurses at the start of CFNU’s P.E.I. Biennium

No one let a little Prince Edward Island rain or airline travel troubles dampen the spirits of the nurses who packed the lobby of the Delta Hotel in Charlottetown last night for the opening reception.

As Prince Edward Island Nurses Union President Barbara Brookins told the crowd as the festivities got underway, the weather may not have been at its best – dampening plans for an outdoor reception – “but it will get there. And we need some rain for our P.E.I farmers!”

“When nurses get together, nothing’s going to keep them down and nothing’s going to keep them from having a good party,” she said to cheers. And when an event the size of the CFNU Biennium comes to Charlottetown, “it’s definitely going to make nurses’ presence known.”

Brookins noted that this is the first CFNU convention since 2019, in Fredericton, N.B., and after that “COVID was brutal on everyone, but especially on health care workers.”

“So we need this time to share experiences, learn more about unions, what unions can do for us, and engage in discussions so that we can go back to the worksite revitalized and powerful,” she said.

In her opening remarks, CFNU President Linda Silas thanked Secretary-Treasurer Pauline Worsfold, who has announced her retirement from her CFNU role after 24 years, for her service to Canada’s nurses.

Worsfold, a former president of the Staff Nurses Association of Alberta before that union’s merger with United Nurses of Alberta in 1997, announced her intention to retire from her post with CFNU earlier this spring.

With a chuckle, Silas closed her remarks by warning the nurses at the reception that today’s convention session would start at 8:30 a.m. sharp – “and I might embarrass you if you start late!”

The Monday night reception began with two young dancers from the Havenwood Dance Studio of Charlottetown, and after Brookins’ and Silas’s remarks were completed, the crowd was entertained by the East Pointers, a Juno-winning Prince Edward Island folk-pop trio.