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June 1, 2022

Frontline nurses: address staffing crisis to stop health system breakdown

Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

Nurses propose innovative solutions to protect patient care and address nursing shortages.

June 1, 2022 (NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON) – Canada’s nurses wrapped up a national summit on the staffing crisis facing nurses, with an agreement to push federal and provincial governments to support a series of nurse-developed proposals. These proposals would begin solving the dire staffing shortages now plaguing health care systems across the country – and driving so many nurses out of the profession.

“This crisis impacts all of us, nurses and the people they care for, in every community across Canada,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. “Canada’s nurses are ready to work urgently with governments on lasting solutions so patients can get the care they deserve – and nurses can work in healthy workplaces, free of violence.”

The frontline nurses’ groups agreed to a plan that would help alleviate the strain on the health care system through better retention of nurses now working in the public system, innovative ideas to return departing nurses back into the profession, and new measures to recruit and train the next generation of nurses.

  • Solutions start with the three Rs: retention, return and recruitment. This means funding for proven programs backed by firm timelines and real accountability – to keep experienced nurses in their jobs, bring nurses back to the public sector, and recruit nurses where they are needed most.
  • To lower nurse-patient ratios, address workloads and improve care, we need increased investments in more nursing seats, bridging programs, new mentorship initiatives, support for transitioning internationally educated nurses (IENs), public long-term care, and creating attractive full-time nurse positions.
  • A national health workforce body to improve decision-making with better data alongside ongoing pan-Canadian coordination, backed by the tools and investments needed to support health workforce planning in all our communities.
  • Provide immediate and ongoing support for nurses’ mental health programs.

“Solutions start with respecting and listening to nurses – because preserving our health care system depends on it. We are looking to all levels of government to now get behind a plan that meets the needs of Canada’s aging population and gives nurses the support and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. A plan backed by real accountability and sufficient long-term funding,” concluded Silas. “Our cherished public health care system hangs in the balance. Now, it’s time for governments to step up and support nurses, just like nurses have been stepping up to support Canadians for so long.”


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information, please contact:
Ben René,, 613-406-5962