Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

February 23, 2005 18:29 ET

Budget fails to provide leadership on waiting times

Cut waiting times without more nurses? Impossible. Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 23, 2005) - A tidal wave of retirements will hit nursing during the next five years. Yet this budget leaves to the provinces the task of retaining experienced nurses now on the job and recruiting students into nursing. Cutting waiting times without a lot more nurses is impossible. But this budget offers no guarantees on nursing.

"Who will replace the tens-of-thousands of nurses who will retire in the next five years? And how will Canada's sick get the timely nursing they need?" asked CFNU President Linda Silas, RN.

"The government's Waiting Times Reduction Fund sounds great. But it leaves it up to the provinces to apply the money where they see fit. There are no guarantees that funds will go to keep nurses on the job and to bring enough new ones to replace retiring nurses. Without earmarked funds for nursing, the shortage may accelerate.

"We need guarantees. We need federal leadership. This budget doesn't provide it," concluded Silas.


In the 1990s, the Canadian population increased by 11%. At the same time, the number of nursing graduates decreased by 46% and the number of nurse retirements increased. In this decade, the rate of nurses' retirement will accelerate.

? 64,000 nurses will be eligible to retire by the end of 2006 - equivalent to 28% of the 2001 RN workforce.
? 30.3% of nurses are 50+, versus 21% of all Canadian workers.
? By 2011 we will be short about 78,000 RNs in Canada.
? In 1994, Canada graduated over 10,000 nurses. By 1999, even though our population had grown, that number was cut by more than half.
? This trend has begun to reverse but too slowly to mitigate the retirements.
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For more information: Linda Silas 613-859-4314; Tom O'Brien 613-294-3592
/For further information: Tom O'Brien, Communications Director 613-526-4661 ext 223; cell 613-294-3592/ IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    Primary Phone: 613-526-4661 ext. 224
    Secondary Phone: 613-859-4314
    Toll-Free: 800-321-9821