Silas: Governments need to unite around saving public health care.
July 11, 2022 (VICTORIA, B.C.) – Nursing leaders from across the country met with premiers at the Council of the Federation to discuss the dire staffing crisis threatening the sustainability of public health care in Canada.
“There are solutions to the crisis plaguing our health care systems,” explained Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “We welcome provincial commitments to strengthen health care. But no one province or territory can solve this on their own. Bringing the federal government to the table is the key to creating and funding solutions.”
Canada’s nurses brought forward solutions to help alleviate the critical staffing shortage, speaking to premiers from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nunavut and Yukon, who attended the meeting with Canada’s nurses, along with representatives from Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Stemming from a national summit of frontline nurse representatives, these nurse-led proposals come at a time when health care worker burnout is at a record high and health care services are being reduced or closed across the country.
“Nurses have been struggling through extreme staffing shortages, forced overtime and canceled vacations, with no end in sight to these untenable working conditions,” said Silas. “Patient care is suffering; nurses are suffering. This is why nurses’ unions have come together with solutions to address the shortages, support nurses and ensure safe patient care across the country.”
The innovative proposal for solutions centers around three Rs: retention of nurses working in public health care, returning nurses to the profession and the public system, and new measures to recruit and train the next generation of nurses.
Silas added that Canada’s nurses are calling on the Prime Minister to convene a meeting with Canada’s Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and all of the premiers to urgently address the dire state of public health care across the country.
“We are asking federal, provincial and territorial governments to unite and work together with health care workers to ensure Canada’s health care systems meet the needs of our aging population and give nurses the respect, support and resources they need to do their jobs,” said Silas. “Health care is on the brink of disaster. Canada needs our leaders – the Prime Minister and every Premier – to step up and save quality public health care.”
The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.
Ben René, CFNU Communications, 613-406-5962, firstname.lastname@example.org