Canada’s nurses are welcoming a number of commitments made by the federal government in yesterday’s First Ministers’ Meeting. In the weeks ahead, we expect to see substantive developments in areas essential to our health care system.
“It is positive news that the federal government is covering the cost of COVID-19 vaccines and any further costs related to managing the pandemic,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “This is precisely the leadership that is necessary in times of crisis.”
While the federal government did not make any short-term commitments to increase the Canada Health Transfer, there is a clear acknowledgement that the federal share of health care funding must increase, and that this will come about in the months ahead.
“The CFNU has long advocated for an increase to the Canada Health Transfer, but it must come with accountability measures. Canada’s nurses want assurances that the money will be directed toward our most urgent needs, including additional hiring, to alleviate the overwhelming pressures on our health care workers,” said Silas.
The federal government also committed to delivering federal resources towards seniors’ care, but in the absence of national standards, it is unclear if these resources will be directed in an appropriate manner. Our long-term care system requires national standards to ensure that seniors receive a minimum level of direct care, and workers are fairly compensated.
“We greatly appreciate the federal government’s continued commitment to a universal pharmacare program. With millions of people across the country out of work due to the pandemic, it is urgent that coverage for essential medicines be put in place by July 1, 2021.”
“It is time to roll up our sleeves and build a stronger, more resilient health care system. We will be carefully monitoring progress on the federal government’s promises, and working with health ministers across the country to bring nurses’ voices to the table in the weeks and months ahead,” concluded Silas.