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June 4, 2019

Nurses rally against national epidemic of violence in health care workplaces

Media Release

June 4, 2019 (FREDERICTON) – As the criminal trial of a man charged with beating and injuring a female nurse begins in Moncton, presidents of Canada’s nurses unions today called on federal and provincial governments to take measures to end violence against health care workers.

“Violence against health care workers and especially nurses is increasing and becoming more severe,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, at a rally during the organization’s biennial convention in Fredericton.

“This is a national problem that transcends provincial boundaries, and all levels of government have a responsibility to take measures to protect health care workers in their workplaces,” Silas said.

Presidents of nurses unions from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta spoke at the rally about the epidemic of violence in their workplaces.

They called for specific legal measures such as support for Bill C-434 which would provide courts with the power to toughen sentences on those convicted of assaulting health care workers. They also called for funding to address staffing shortages, strengthen security and improve training at health facilities, and to gather more data on health care violence from across Canada.

National statistics show that the number of violence-related lost-time injuries for front line health care workers rose by close to 66% between 2006 and 2015 – triple the rates experienced by police and correctional workers combined.


Journalists who wish to arrange an interview with CFNU President Linda Silas or any of the Canadian nurses unions presidents (Heather Smith from Alberta, Tracy Zambory from Saskatchewan, Darlene Jackson from Manitoba, Vicki McKenna from Ontario, Paula Doucet from New Brunswick, Mona O’Shea from PEI, Janet Hazelton from Nova Scotia and Debbie Forward from Newfoundland and Labrador) at the rally should contact:

Ben René, CFNU Communications Officer, 613-406-5962,
Lauren Snowball, CFNU Communications Officer, 613-868-5702,