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June 7, 2021

More than 1,100 nurses from across Canada to join virtual convention of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

2021 Convention
Media Release

June 7, 2021 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s national union of nurses is set to welcome more than 1,100 nurses and health workers from across the country to its June 8 and 9 convention – making it the largest in the organization’s 40-year history. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is holding the convention virtually for the first time due to the ongoing pandemic.

CFNU President Linda Silas called the event historic for nurses and their unions. “After more than a year on the frontlines of a devastating global pandemic, and struggling with a decade-long national nursing shortage, Canada’s nurses are coming together virtually – in greater numbers than ever before – to set our priorities and put our governments on notice.”

“With a federal election on the horizon, and a nursing workforce stretched to its breaking point, this convention is more than a meeting for nurses – it is a reckoning. Nurses are tired, but our message to decision-makers is simple: we won’t back down,” said Silas.

The convention, themed No Backing Down, will address the critical impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses and health care. Amidst high levels of nurse burnout, delegates will hear from two keynote speakers on the topic of mental health and resilience: Candy Palmater, award-winning Indigenous broadcast personality and motivational speaker, and Serena Ryder, award-winning musician and advocate. The event will feature a performance from award winning poet, arts educator and performance artist Jamaal Jackson Rogers, known as JustJamaal ThePoet.

“Since our last convention, nurses have been engaged in an all-out fight: fighting for our health and safety, fighting for strong public health policy and fighting to care for our patients in the midst of a nursing shortage made drastically worse by this pandemic,” said Pauline Worsfold, CFNU’s Secretary-Treasurer. “One thing is for sure: nurses will not be silenced. Now more than ever, nurses’ voices need to be heard. Our advice needs to be heeded.”

The event will feature prominent guests discussing a range of issues, including exploring the pandemic’s global impacts on nurses and health care and tackling systemic racism in Canada’s health care system. Guests include Howard Catton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses, Deborah Burger, President of National Nurses United (U.S.) and Dr. Carrie Bourassa of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, among others.

Parts of the convention will be lived streamed to the CFNU’s Facebook page on June 8 and 9. A public programme can be found on the CFNU’s website.


For more information, contact:
Lauren Snowball,, 613-868-5702