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Workplace Violence

Tell MPs: It’s time for federal leadership to stop violence in health care

All health care workers have the right to stay safe at work.

Frontline health care workers go to work every day knowing they may be kicked, punched, spat on, sworn at or worse. And it’s only getting worse. A recent report reveals that the number of violence-related lost-time claims for frontline health care workers has increased by almost 66% over the past decade, three times the rate of increase for police and correctional service officers combined.

Canada’s nurses have been sounding the alarm, and now, for the first time ever, the parliamentary health committee is investigating violence in health care. This committee will make recommendations on this issue to the federal government by mid-June.

TAKE ACTION now to tell our federal MPs that we need:

  • Federal study and leadership to address nurse and health care worker shortages;
  • Targeted federal funding for violence-prevention infrastructure and programs in health care workplaces;
  • Leadership by example with the highest violence prevention standards in federal health care workplaces;
  • Stronger criminal laws to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence and negligent employers who fail to protect nurses; and
  • Better national data-tracking on violence in health care workplaces.

Take action now. 

Background

The CFNU is committed to working with political leaders to implement solutions to end workplace violence faced by nurses. All nurses have the right to work in a safe and respectful workplace free from violence. Unfortunately, physical and verbal abuse targeted at nurses are regular occurrences in health care settings.

Surveys of nurses show that:

  • About 1/3 to 1/2 of nurses have experienced physical abuse.
  • Approximately 3/4 report verbal abuse

Nurses are there when patients need them most. It’s time to make sure nurses are safe at work by:

  • Raising standards
  • Improving health and safety for nurses
  • Ending workplace violence
  • Developing a better plan to reduce overtime and absenteeism

Parliament to Study Violence

On May 14, 2019, CFNU President Linda Silas testified before the health committee on the first day of hearings into violence in health care workplaces.

In June 2018, the CFNU worked with Member of Parliament Dr. Doug Eyolfson to compel the parliamentary Standing Committee on Health to study violence in health care – a victory for Canada’s nurses!

Nurses know that violence is unacceptable in our workplace, and more must be done to keep us safe at work. In our efforts to bring this message to Parliament, we found allies among Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats alike. Finally, in June 2018, Manitoba MP Dr. Doug Eyolfson – a former emergency room physician and friend of nurses – introduced a unanimously supported motion to study and find solutions to violence in health care. Follow this link to view the text of this motion and the committee discussion surrounding it. Here is a list of MPs on the Health Committee with whom you can communicate about the urgency of action to stop violence.

The CFNU will continue to work with provincial and federal decision-makers to improve the safety of nurses in their workplaces. Because we do not accept that violence is ‘just part of the job.’

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