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May 9, 2020

Nursing Week Message from CFNU President Linda Silas

Nurses Week

Linda Silas | President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

Dear members and supporters,

Each year, National Nursing Week presents an opportunity to thank nurses and health care workers for their incredible dedication to work that is difficult, draining and far too often dangerous. But as nurses, we make a real difference in the lives of our patients, and that’s why we keep coming back.

As we begin Nurses Week in the midst of a global pandemic, many nurses may feel mixed emotions – and it’s no wonder.

The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted all sense of normalcy for our families and communities, caused mental and emotional distress, and made our jobs more stressful and dangerous than before. We may be filled with anxiety over the uncertainty of our future. We may be angry that essential workers are hailed as heroes while many are expected to work without the PPE needed to stay safe.

The CFNU, alongside other unions and health care advocates, has lobbied governments, public health agencies and employers to take urgent action to defend the safety of all frontline workers and the public we serve. We have been working hard with our allies to protect vulnerable populations, especially our seniors and residents in long-term care, who have faced devastating losses.

I am committed to fighting for the safety and security of all workers and the communities we serve today, and into the future.  As a society, we must better respect the frontline workers who have been proven essential. We must adequately fund the public services upon which we all rely in times of crisis. We must remember these lessons when we begin rebuilding our country.

To CFNU members, I want to simply say: thank you. You make me, and your union, incredibly proud. No words are enough to express our gratitude for your contribution, as the largest workforce in health care. You should never have to work short-staffed, lack PPE, face violence, work forced overtime, work for free.

To employers and governments, I say: your praise for frontline workers is empty if they are not properly protected, supported and respected.

This year, our Nursing Week celebrations are demonstrations. In the midst of adversity, Canada’s nurses are showing our grit and determination, like so many before us. We are nurses, and we will never back down.

Happy Nursing Week!

In unwavering solidarity,