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February 16, 2022

CODE BLUE: CFNU President Linda Silas tells Health Committee Canada Has a Critical Nurse Shortage

Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

February 16, 2022 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s nurses delivered a stark message to MPs today: Our public health systems are in crisis. At the heart of this crisis is a dire shortage of nurses and other critical health professionals.

“Canada’s nurses are sounding the alarm. This is Code Blue. If we don’t act now, we risk suffering a system-wide failure of our treasured universal public health care system,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “We need lasting, concrete solutions. Starting with a retention and recruitment strategy with real accountability, backed by proper funding.”

Silas told the House of Commons Health Committee that Canada’s nurses have long advocated for an improved health workforce strategy and two years of pandemic has only made existing problems even worse.

“Fallout from this is being felt in every in every community across the country. From Biggar, Saskatchewan to Baie Verte, Newfoundland and Labrador, we’re hearing about hospitals forced to cut services or shut down entirely because of shortages of nurses and doctors,” said Silas. “Today’s crisis was years in the making, and now nurses and the Canadians they care for are paying the price.”

A recent Leger poll found that 87% of Canadians agree that an immediate increase in funding and resources is needed. Silas agreed that new funding is vital but must come with strings attached to ensure it is invested in initiatives that actually address this critical health human resources crisis.

“I am grateful the Health Committee has taken on this study, but it must result in action. We need better data, better research, and better funding,” concluded Silas. “We are looking to Parliament and the government to work together on a plan that responds to the current and future needs of our aging population and ensures that health care workers finally have the supports and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.”


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:
Ben René,, 613-406-5962