We are nearing the end of this year, but the challenges that defined it remain.
To say things have been hard this year would be an enormous understatement. Our lives have been reshaped. Our actions have carried enormous weight. We have made difficult choices in uncertain situations.
We are all fed up, and with the holiday season upon us, it will be tempting for many people to forget about what’s happening. But closing our eyes to COVID-19 doesn’t make it any less real.
Health care workers, who’ve been fighting for everyone since the beginning, are now facing their most serious onslaught. Day after day, I hear stories from nurses who are at their breaking point; they are exhausted, overwhelmed and worried. They are scared they won’t be able to keep themselves, their families or their patients safe. After years of underfunding, short-staffing and poor planning, our health care system was already struggling in good times, and was certainly unprepared for a crisis.
The good news is that we can all do something about it. Whatever your situation, you have done your best over the past year, and you should feel proud of your efforts. Thank you. Your actions mattered, and they still do. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
This holiday season, if you are lucky enough to take a break, think about those who can’t. For all our sakes, we have to keep up the fight. You know what to do: wash your hands, wear a mask, keep to your bubble. When it’s time for you to get the vaccine, do. Spread kindness, not the virus; there is no better time to call or drive by and wave to a friend. Doing these things is still the best way we know to stem the spread and save lives.
To Canada’s nurses and all essential workers, there are no words of gratitude that are enough. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions has been fighting like hell for you throughout this year, and we are going to continue that fight for as long as it takes. You deserve so much more. Whether we are in a pandemic or not, health care workers deserve to be supported and safe in their workplaces so they can focus on what matters: providing the best patient care possible.
The crisis of the past year won’t disappear, but by working together, I believe we can turn a new page. I am ready to renew the fight to bolster our health care and our communities. I am ready to rebuild a Canada that puts health, resilience and safe decent work for everyone at the forefront of what matters.
Today and for every day, may we endeavour to take better care of ourselves and each other.
Happy holidays to all.
In unwavering solidarity,
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions