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July 8, 2022

Health care groups call on premiers to make Canada’s collapsing health system their top priority

Council of the Federation
Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

Ottawa – July 7, 2022 – With health workers across Canada burned out and exhausted, surgical backlogs rampant, primary care access limited and emergency departments facing closures, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and HealthCareCAN are calling on Canada’s premiers to make health care their top priority at the Council of the Federation’s 2022 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers in Victoria, B.C. Our health care crisis must be the priority, and an action plan is urgently required.

CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart and CFNU President Linda Silas will be in Victoria to deliver this message to Canada’s premiers at their annual summer meeting, July 11-12.


“We know that fixing the health care system will take time but deferring any tangible action will only deepen the cracks. When a universal health system is not able to provide basic health care needs to Canadians, we must accept that it has failed and work together to fix it. This will take more than simply investing more money. It will require new solutions to old problems such enabling the mobility of health workers between jurisdictions to alleviate pressure points.”

— Katharine Smart, President, CMA

“Canada’s health care system is in crisis. While the pandemic certainly struck a severe blow, our health care system has been reeling from a decades-long health care worker shortage that continues to grow unabated thanks to untenable working conditions. The pandemic only added fuel to an already raging fire. The tired, ineffective, and makeshift solutions of the past no longer cut it; we need a bold and concerted effort to tackle the shortage, starting with evidence-based health human resources planning and stable funding.”

— Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

“Canada needs to ramp up its health care system to deliver better outcomes for patients and ensure they can receive the care they need when they need it. However, that cannot be achieved if we don’t strengthen and invest in our health workforce first. Retaining nurses and other health care workers is at the heart of fixing many challenges of our system. If no effective strategies are put in place to retain nurses that we have now and implement better working conditions, no other strategy will make the difference.”

— Sylvain Brousseau, President, CNA

“Canada healthcare system is confronted with a difficult test, we will not be able to tackle the multi-faceted challenges faced by Canada’s health system without all levels of government coming together with health leaders to define and build an inclusive, equitable and safe health system that works for all in the 21st century. Most urgent of all these challenges is the health workforce shortage, which is placing unrelenting pressure on the system and healthcare workers, and negatively impacting access to services, quality of care and health outcomes. We support the premiers’ and territory leaders’ calls for more funding through health transfers, however we must ensure that whatever approach is taken leads to improved health outcomes.”

— Paul-Émile Cloutier, President and CEO, HealthCareCAN


 About the CMA
The Canadian Medical Association is the national voice of the medical profession. Our focus is on creating strong and accessible health systems, fostering well-being and diversity in medical culture, and ensuring every person in Canada has equal opportunity to be healthy. In partnership with physicians, medical learners, patients and others, we advance these goals through advocacy, knowledge sharing and granting.

 About the CFNU
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.

About the CNA
CNA is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, retired nurses, and nursing students across all 13 provinces and territories.

About HealthCareCAN
HealthCareCAN is the national voice of healthcare organizations and hospitals across Canada. We foster informed and continuous, results-oriented discovery and innovation across the continuum of healthcare. Learn more at

To schedule an interview or for further information, please contact:
CMA Media Relations:
Eric Lewis, 506-566-1671

CFNU Media Relations:
Ben René, 613-406-5962

CNA Media Relations:
Lucas Veiga, 613-697-7497

HealthCareCan Media Relations:
Alexandria Rowe, 613-220-1023