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April 19, 2021

Budget 2021 falls short for nurses – from pharmacare to health transfers

Child Care
Federal Budget
Long-term care
Media Release

April 19, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) – After over two years without a full accounting of federal spending, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) was disappointed by today’s release of Budget 2021.

As we continue to grapple with another wave of COVID-19, the CFNU looked to the federal government to continue providing significant investments in Budget 2021 to drive Canada’s recovery from the pandemic.

“Canada’s nurses were counting on the government to honour its previous commitments, including implementing universal public pharmacare, developing national standards for long-term care and meaningfully responding to the growing funding crisis in our health care system. It is disappointing that little progress has been made on these critical issues,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

The CFNU renews its call for the federal government to introduce permanent measures to help the millions of Canadians who are still working to recover from the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 and ensure that no one is left behind.

While new investments in child care and long-term care are promising and welcome, they fall considerably short of the sums required to provide the supports that Canadian parents and seniors need in these difficult times.

“In the face of unparalleled challenges including the pandemic, Canada’s government can and must do more to help our nation weather future storms,” said Silas. “Significant and ongoing investments in our health care system and public services such as pharmacare are essential to creating a healthy, sustainable and resilient Canada.”

With no new commitments in Budget 2021 on universal health care coverage or long-term health care system funding, Canada’s nurses will continue to push the federal government to act on these and other priority issues, including health human resources and public health measures.

“Nurses are ready to work closely with this government and all parties to develop much-needed public programs, including universal public pharmacare. If Canada hopes to achieve recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to invest in the individuals, families and workers who form the backbone of our economy. Budget 2021 represents a missed opportunity to provide critical supports to Canadians still fighting their way through this pandemic.”

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The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in public health care.

For more information, please contact:
Ben René,, 613-406-5962