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October 6, 2022

Canada’s top nursing union leaders united on urgent need for collaboration on dire nursing shortage

Health Human Resources
Media Release

October 5, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s nurses came together for a meeting with Chief Nursing Officer Leigh Chapman and the Canadian Nurses Association CEO Tim Guest to discuss collaborative approaches to tackle the staffing shortage hurting patients and nurses across the country.

“From coast to coast to coast, nurses are calling out for support while they stretch themselves thin to care for patients. There has been enough talking, it’s time for action,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “It is absolutely crucial that we bring solutions to the nurses, who have been holding the health care system together.”

As nursing vacancies and overtime continue to grow across the country, so does the strain on the nurses who remain working – a cycle that only fuels an exodus from the profession.

While there is no one measure that will solve the crisis, nursing leaders emphasized the need to improve health care working conditions as a key strategy to both retain nurses and return those who left back to the public system.

“As a nurse, I know the toll this crisis is taking on health care workers,” Chapman said. “Nurses deserve respect and recognition with real, tangible actions. I am confident that together we can achieve the changes to working conditions nurses need to thrive and give the best care to patients.”

Working together across governments on a pan-Canadian health human resources action plan focused on retention, return and recruitment of nurses is key to ending the staffing crisis and ensuring Canadians have access to the care they need.

“The health care system is in a dire state across this country. This crisis goes beyond borders and impacts every aspect of health care,” explained Guest. “Solving this is going to take collaborative action and a multi-faceted strategy.”

Silas added that fixing working conditions and solving the nursing shortage is within reach, but only if governments, employers and unions all take concrete action.

“We need to get past the point of talking about how bad it is,” Silas said. “Nurses know it. Now it’s about working together and solving this mess. That is the respect and support nurses need.”


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care to LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

CONTACT: Ben René, CFNU Communications, 613-406-5962,