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February 10, 2022

CFNU's letter to Minister Freeland on pre-budget consultations and a growing HHR crisis

Federal Budget
Health Human Resources

The following letter was sent by Linda Silas, on February 10, 2022, to the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Dear Minister Freeland:

Canada’s nurses believe that the next few years will be critical for our health care system. With premiers recently calling for an urgent increase in health transfers at the Council of the Federation, and a growing health human resources crisis plaguing health systems across the country, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) writes to request an opportunity to meet with you in advance of Budget 2022.

The CFNU is the national voice of close to 200,000 nurses and nursing students who represent the heart of our health care system.

Nurses and other health care professionals are ready to throw in the towel. With stress and exhaustion at critical levels before COVID-19, 94 percent of nurses now report experiencing symptoms of burnout after 22 months on the front lines of this unprecedented pandemic.

Nurses are leaving the profession and the health care sector in record numbers. Fewer nurses working in the public health system impacts patient safety and erodes our ability to provide the high quality of care that everyone in Canada deserves.

In virtually every part of the country, hospitals are being forced to cut services or shut down altogether due to the dire shortage of health care workers.

Your government can act to reverse this tide by immediately investing in our health care system, and by working with nurses and other health professionals to chart a new approach to health human resources planning.

Investing in the future of our health care system must begin with a new retention and recruitment strategy that responds to the current and future needs of our aging population, the cornerstone of ensuring the well-being and sustainability of our health workforce for years to come.

It means collecting and sharing better data, so we can predict future needs and develop evidence-based strategies that address the health care challenges facing communities.

And it means working together on solutions to ensure that our public health care system will be there for future generations of Canadians.

We were heartened by the federal government’s renewed commitment to “work in partnership with and increase funding to provinces and territories to strengthen our universal public health system”, as laid out in your mandate letter. We support boosting federal health transfers, with accountability mechanisms to ensure that any new funding is applied to strengthening public health care systems, including improving patient care and ensuring safer workplaces and enhanced mental health resources for nurses and all health care workers.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions urges your government to invest in the future of our health care system and the workers who are at its heart, and we stand ready to work together on offering solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our public health care system today.


Linda Silas, CFNU President


The letter was copied to the Right Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Leslie Church, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Tyler Meredith, Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and John Brodhead, Director of Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister.