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November 23, 2021

Canada’s nurses respond to Throne Speech

Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

Canada’s nurses respond to Throne Speech, calling for swift action on nursing shortage

November 23, 2021 (OTTAWA, ON) – The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is responding to today’s Speech from the Throne, welcoming commitments to support health care and advance equity, but decrying the absence of clear and meaningful action to address Canada’s critical nursing shortage.

“Nurses’ unions are pleased to hear that the government intends to strengthen our health care system and improve health data collection, but we are disappointed that the government has failed to recognize – and commit to fixing – Canada’s worsening nursing shortage,” said Linda Silas, CFNU President.

Today’s Speech from the Throne signaled the government’s intention to improve data collection across health systems and strengthen Canada’s health care system, but provided few details. The speech failed to mention key priorities for nurses, including implementing universal pharmacare and fixing Canada’s critical nursing shortage.

“Nurses are working short every single day, suffering high rates of burnout, and increasingly leaving the system. Today’s Throne Speech was a lost opportunity to tackle the single biggest threat to our overwhelmed health care system – Canada’s worsening shortage of nurses and health care workers,” said Silas.

For months the CFNU has been calling for urgent federal action through funding to hire more nurses, supports toward innovative retention and recruitment programs, and the creation of a federal agency to provide desperately needed workforce planning.

Nurses are expressing support for other measures contained in today’s Throne Speech, including affordable child care, criminalizing LGBTQ2S+ “conversion” practices, a national action plan on gender-based violence, renewed anti-racism strategy and tackling climate change.

“We look forward to working with the government on important issues in this next session of parliament, but we urge them to pursue clear action on the nursing shortage,” said Silas. “This is a national crisis that requires federal action – now.”


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

For more information, please contact:
Lauren Snowball,, 613-868-5702