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June 8, 2021

CFNU honours prominent health researcher and nurse leaders from Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia with national Bread and Roses awards

2021 Convention
Media Release

June 8, 2021 (OTTAWA, ON) – A long-term care researcher and three prominent nursing union leaders have been honoured for their advocacy during the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions’ 2021 Biennial Convention today.

The awards were presented during the CFNU’s virtual convention proceedings this afternoon. They were bestowed on Dr. Pat Armstrong, a prominent health care researcher and author, Donna Trainor and Denise Dick, high-profile leaders within the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), and Christine Van Zoost, a decades-long union activist with the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (NSNU).

“It is an honour to recognize and celebrate the tireless contributions of Dr. Pat Armstrong, Donna Trainor, Denise Dick and Christine Van Zoost. Each has contributed enormously to the fight for safe, fair and high-quality public health care in Canada,” said CFNU President Linda Silas.

Dr. Pat Armstrong is Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology at York University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She is a prominent health care academic, researcher and author in the fields of social policy, nursing, women, work and health care. She has published several books and is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost experts and advocates for long-term care.

Donna Trainor, RN, is the Executive Director of SUN, where she first began as an Employment Relations Officer in 1998. Donna is a long-time union leader, formerly serving as president of one of SUN’s largest locals. Under Donna’s leadership, SUN negotiated a first-of-its-kind agreement with the government, which helped to stabilize the nursing workforce, make patient safety a priority and cement the union as a crucial leader in health care. Her collaborative and innovative approach has been presented nationally and internationally.

Denise Dick, RN, is SUN’s First Vice-President and has been an active member within her union since the start of her career in 1982. Denise is a passionate advocate for occupational health and safety, and a founding and current executive member of the Saskatchewan Association of Safe Workplaces in Health. Denise has filled a variety of other roles advancing the nursing profession and high-quality public health care, including as a founding member and treasurer of the renewed Saskatchewan Health Coalition.

Christine Van Zoost, RN, held numerous positions at the local level and served as a regional representative on NSNU’s Board of Directors before being elected Vice-President. She has dedicated nearly two decades to NSNU’s Board, sits on the executive of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, is a member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and fills numerous other distinguished roles advancing nursing and public health care.

CFNU Secretary-Treasurer Pauline Worsfold added her congratulations to the recipients: “We applaud the winners of the CFNU’s 2020 and 2021 Bread & Roses Awards and, on behalf of our 200,000 members, we thank them for championing nurses and public health care.”

The CFNU Bread & Roses Awards are given every two years by the CFNU to honour outstanding contributions to policy, decision-making, patient advocacy and raising public awareness of issues important to nurses.

The phrase “bread and roses” is associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, between January and March 1912. The strike was largely led by women, and the strikers’ demand for both fair pay and dignified working conditions was summed up in the slogan, “We want bread, and roses too!”


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