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October 4, 2022

Nurses' unions bring concerns of frontline nurses to the Prime Minister

Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

Silas: Urgent action on health worker shortages needed to better support nurses and protect patient care

October 4, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s frontline nurses met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to discuss critical actions needed to tackle the dire shortage of nurses and save Canada’s public health care system.

“Canadians across the country are feeling the effects of emergency room closures, excessive wait times and reduced levels of care. The nursing shortage is directly impacting patients every day,” explained Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

“Our message to the Prime Minister was clear: frontline nurses are ready to work urgently, with all levels of government, on action to better support nurses and protect patient care.”

Nursing vacancies remain high, and the strain on nurses of working unsupported and short-staffed is fueling an exodus from the profession. Leaders from Canada’s frontline nursing unions are looking for federal leadership on a pan-Canadian action plan focused on retention, return and recruitment, backed by sufficient long-term funding and real accountability.

“We need to keep the nurses we have in the system and encourage those who have left to return,” said Silas. “We simply can’t hire ourselves out of this problem without addressing the pressures that are pushing nurses out the door.”

“Nurses are looking to the Prime Minister and his government to work with the provinces and territories on evidence-based solutions backed by firm timelines, standards and accountability.”

Silas added that by spreading and scaling up proven strategies, we can bring our health care system back from the brink.

“Canadians deserve a responsive public health care system where they can access timely and quality care,” concluded Silas. “We can make this happen, but only if all levels of government work together to fix Canada’s cherished health care system.”

“Nurses are counting on Canada’s elected leaders to turn the tide and make sure quality care is there for generations of Canadians to come.”

Monday’s meeting took place in the Prime Minister’s office in Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was joined by Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera. Together, they met with leaders from the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, including eight leaders from provincial nurses’ unions.


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care to LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

Ben René, CFNU Communications, 613-406-5962,