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Wrap-up: 2021 Resolutions

During convention, delegates passed a number of resolutions, paving a path forward for the CFNU. Below is a short summary of these resolutions.

The first resolution to hit the virtual convention floor sought a “moratorium on private, for-profit care from the long-term care sector”. The pandemic had a devastating impact on long-term care, most notably in the for-profit sector where profit motives often trump proper care. This resolution also seeks to tackle the poor working conditions faced by staff in this sector; it calls for an end to agency staff and “for at least 70% of long-term care staff [to] have permanent, full-time positions with paid sick leave and benefits.”

The second resolution before delegates called on the CFNU to lobby and advocate for “requiring presumptive workplace insurance coverage of any health impacts arising due to COVID-19 infection.” Presumptive legislation accepts disease or disorder claims from a worker without the worker having to prove that the disease or disorder necessarily resulted from the job. This resolution also calls on the CFNU to advocate to “ensure that no nurse or health care worker suffers any loss of occupational income due to an illness associated with COVID-19.”

The third resolution sought the adoption of Joyce’s Principle. Passed unanimously, the resolution commits the CFNU “to working with Indigenous stakeholders and allies towards its implementation by governments, teaching institutions and health and social service organizations”. Joyce’s Principle is named after Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman who died in a Quebec hospital while enduring racist taunts by hospital staff. This resolution also commits the CFNU to acknowledging the existence of anti-Indigenous racism among Canada’s nurses, and commits to addressing this through education and awareness.

The fourth resolution seeks to ensure the stability and adequacy of an appropriate PPE supply (including N95 respirators). Especially in the earlier part of the pandemic, N95s were in short supply and heavily rationed. This placed nurses in a terrible position of having to compromise their personal health and safety in order to provide care. Among other things, this resolution calls on all Canadian governments to develop a made-in-Canada PPE supply chain and maintain a minimum PPE stockpile. It also calls for the creation of worker safety research agency.

Convention delegates were also presented with two emergency resolutions. The first commits the CFNU to working other health care organizations, such as the Canadian Health Workforce Network, to pressure governments to address the health human resources crisis facing nurses. Among other things, the resolution also calls on the government to create a federal health workforce agency and for provincial and territorial governments to tackle the nursing shortage through hiring of additional staff, funding for retention and recruitment initiatives.

The final emergency resolution declared September 22, 2021, as a National Nurses Day of Action. The CFNU and its member organizations will mobilize members to demonstrate outside of their workplaces in solidarity with those impacted by unacceptable working conditions. This mobilization action will serve as an opportunity to highlight our demands on governments to take concrete actions to address nurses’ unacceptable working conditions.