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March 21, 2022

Linda Silas tells parliamentary committee: fix the health human resource crisis

Health Human Resources
Nursing Shortage

CFNU tells government to roll up their sleeves and work with all levels to address urgent staffing crisis.

March 21, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s frontline nurses delivered a strong message to a parliamentary committee today.

“Nurses are your front line. Nurses have first-hand experience of this crisis, and the impact staffing shortages have on both nurses and patients,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Nurses across the country have come together with solutions, and we need all levels of governments to work with us.”

Silas pointed to dangerous workplace conditions and understaffing as crucial issues at the heart of the nursing shortage when she spoke as a witness at the House of Commons standing committee studying Labour Shortages, Working Conditions and the Care Economy.

Over 80% of nurses report insufficient staffing in their workplace, with two thirds saying the quality of care has declined over the past year, in a recent CFNU survey.

“It’s no wonder severe burnout is up to 45% from 29% just within two years,” said Silas. “For the sake of both our workforce and our patients, we simply cannot afford to lose any more of these critical frontline workers.”

Silas pointed to the urgent need for a pan-Canadian health human resource action plan led by the federal government.

“It is clear to us that the provinces and territories cannot manage the scale and complexity of this crisis on their own. It is long past time for the federal government to step in,” said Silas.

Silas told the committee that a multifaceted approach could better equip provinces and territories with the tools and resources they need to retain and recruit enough nurses and other health care workers to sustain Canada’s cherished public health care system.

“When the federal government works together with unions, employers, provinces, municipalities, universities and professional associations, much can be accomplished,” said Silas. “The CFNU has a strong track record of working with federal, provincial and territorial governments. With federal leadership, we can fix this crisis.”


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