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November 21, 2023

Without action to fix the health care crisis, fiscal update misses the mark


Silas: Federal government needs to stay focused on health care – we are still in a crisis!

November 21, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – “Housing and affordability are critically important issues, but our leaders cannot lose sight of our overburdened nurses and the crisis facing our health care systems,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Solutions are within reach, and creating meaningful change relies on strong federal leadership.”

While the CFNU welcomed the federal government’s commitments in February 2023 to increase the Canada Health Transfer and establish bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, only one province has released action plans for the funding.

“The nursing shortage will continue to worsen without action. Since 2021 we have seen the nurse vacancy rate increase by nearly 50 percent,” said Silas. “Without coordinated action, this crisis will only continue to grow and continue to put safe patient care in jeopardy.”

Nursing unions have been calling on provinces and territories to use funding from the bilateral agreements to implement key evidence-based initiatives that would improve working conditions, increase nurse retention, create sustainable recruitment and ultimately put an end to the years-long shortage of nurses across the country.

Silas underscored the urgency of collaboration between the federal government and provinces and territories to deliver the change health care workers and their patients need, from improved health care working conditions to universal pharmacare.


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing 250,000 frontline unionized nurses and nursing students in every sector of health care – from home care and LTC to community and acute care – and advocating on key priorities to strengthen public health care across the country.

For more information, please contact Adella Khan, CFNU Communications,, 613‑807-2942.