Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

July 20, 2011 12:04 ET

Nurses Call on Premiers to Find Pan-Canadian Solutions to Public Health Care

United front will be needed to engage federal government

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 20, 2011) - Premiers need to unite in their plans for the future of public health care if they believe that all Canadians should be able to expect reasonably comparable levels of service, warns the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) on the opening of the Council of the Federation meeting. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, which represents 176,000 nurses across the country, has been observing growing gaps in health care services.

"The big push on wait times has made a difference in increasing access to certain types of care. Now we need to see all oars rowing in the same direction to address the growing gaps in access to long term care, home care, primary health care, pharmacare and Aboriginal health," says Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions president Linda Silas, RN. "The Premiers have made commitments to make progress on these issues in the past and they need to report to Canadians on the progress they have made as well as declare their future commitments to quality public health care for all Canadians."

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions also calls for continued actions to address the nursing shortage, noting that the ratio of nurses to Canadians remains lower now than in the early 1990s. We know Canada's nurses worked more than 11,000 full time jobs in overtime last year. Premiers agreed as recently as August 2010 to focus on training and retaining of health care professionals, yet many jurisdictions are not filling nursing vacancies and many are also cutting positions.

"Premiers should heed the experience of the 1990s when deep cuts to nursing was a key factor in bed closures, wait times and brain drain to the US", warned Linda Silas. "Cutting nurses cuts care, it is short term budget gain for long term pain. Today, the Premiers need to be talking about safe staffing."

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions recently partnered with federal, provincial and territorial governments on pilot projects documenting that changes in the nursing workplace can improve retention and recruitment rates. The results included a 10% reduction in overtime, absenteeism and turnover costs and a 147% increase in the number of nurses reporting a high level of leadership and support. Information on these pilot projects can be seen at

"Canadians do not want to hear that someone who lives in one province pays less than them for the same life-saving medicines, or that more home care services are provided for free somewhere else or that it would be faster to get a long-term care bed if they lived in a different province than their own – we need pan-Canadian solutions to these gaps", says Silas.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    Linda Silas
    613-859-4314 (cell)

    Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    CFNU Communications