April 7, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – With Canada’s health care system facing a dire crisis due to a shortage of nurses and health professionals, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) was sorely disappointed by a lack of concrete solutions in today’s budget.
Linda Silas, president of the CFNU, said that with nurses and patients across the country being hurt by the ongoing health human resources crisis, nurses were frustrated that the federal government failed to provide the significant and urgent investments needed to improve nursing retention and recruitment programs. Much has been made of the surgical backlogs Canada is experiencing, which are a direct result of the severe shortage of health care teams and nursing care available to look after patients.
Nurses are frustrated that the federal government failed to hear our plea and provide the significant and urgent investments needed to improve nursing retention and recruitment programs.
“Patients and nurses have been counting on the federal government to invest in the sustainability of our health care system. The fact is, there is no health care system without health care workers,” said Silas. “While the commitments to implement national pharmacare, dental care and affordable housing are encouraging, without meaningful action in the budget to address the crisis in health staffing, it simply falls far short of what patients and health care workers needed to see.”
Silas added that while the CFNU welcomed the March 25th announcement of $2 billion to address system-wide backlogs, Canada’s nurses are still looking to the federal government to exercise leadership and develop a pan-Canadian plan to address the nursing shortage, including establishing a national health workforce body to provide data and coordination, and give provinces and territories the tools and funding needed to ensure the sustainability of our health care system. Federal investment is critical, as individual provinces and territories are not in a position to fix this crisis on their own.
The CFNU has called for a significant boost to the Canada Health Transfer and ongoing investments in the public health system. Ongoing investments in the public health system are urgently needed, and in keeping with the principles of the Canada Health Act, the federal government has a duty to ensure that the provinces and territories have the appropriate resources to improve access to health care for everyone in Canada.
“The CFNU will continue to push the federal government to move forward with aggressive investments to repair our health care system and work with the provinces and territories on lasting and concrete solutions to the health care crisis,” concluded Silas. “In light of this missed opportunity, we look forward to working with premiers and the federal Health Minister in the lead-up to the Council of the Federation this summer to provide much-needed supports for health care workers and preserve high-quality health care for years to come.”
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, email@example.com