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July 12, 2022

Prime Minister and Premiers must work together to fix the dire nursing shortage

Council of the Federation
Health Human Resources
Media Release
Nursing Shortage

Silas: We need all hands on deck to protect public health care

July 12, 2022 (VICTORIA, B.C.) – Canada’s nurses welcome the premiers’ call for a First Ministers Meeting focused on strengthening health care and alleviating the critical nursing shortage, as announced at today’s closing of the Council of the Federation’s summer gathering.

“We are encouraged that the premiers have formally called for a First Ministers’ Meeting that focuses on urgently delivering the supports needed to resuscitate our ailing public health care system,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Shortages are plaguing our health care systems from coast to coast to coast. We need all hands on deck to preserve our treasured Canadian health care system.”

This week premiers and nurse union leaders met to share solutions to address the health human resources crisis and protect public health care.

“Nurses are on the front lines of this crisis. We know what the solutions are, and we need to be at the table,” Silas continued. “We need a federally supported plan to shore up staffing across the country, with what I like to call the three Rs: retaining nurses working in public health care, returning nurses to the profession and the public system, and recruiting the next generation of nurses.”

On Monday, nurses told the premiers that there is an urgent need for a national health human resources action plan to establish healthy and sustainable nurse-to-patient ratios.

“I applaud Premier Horgan for acknowledging the importance of a national strategy for managing the dire health human resources crisis. Increasing the health transfer is part of how we get there, but nurses need to be a part of the key measurables for funding,” Silas said. “We have to stop the bleed and think about long-term sustainability.”

Canada’s nurses are calling for a national workforce body to improve decision-making through better data and coordination, and ensure a public health system that meets the needs of Canada’s aging population and gives nurses the support they need to provide patients with the best level of care.

“Canada’s nurses are tough as nails, but we can’t blame a growing number of them for throwing in the towel after years of unbearable workloads, forced overtime, growing workplace violence and canceled vacations,” said Silas. “If we’re to have any chance of saving our cherished public health care system, we need to listen to the voices of workers. They’re pleading with our government leaders to step up, just as nurses have time and again.”


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, 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,