Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

June 03, 2005 08:00 ET

Poll: Raise taxes on top income earners to end nursing shortage

In a new Ipsos-Reid poll, Canadians indicate that they would spend surpluses and raise taxes to end nursing shortage Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor REGINA/SASKATCHEWAN--(CCNMatthews - June 3, 2005) - Ipsos-Reid and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions are releasing a new national poll today that makes it clear that the Canadian public sees ending the nursing shortage as a top priority. Furthermore, large majorities believe that retaining experienced nurses and recruiting new ones should be financed "using any available surplus revenues" (73%) and through "raising taxes on the top 10% of wage earners" (67%).

"In a time when the public wants to avoid raising taxes because of the precedent it sets, I find this remarkable," said Linda Silas, RN, President of the nurses' federation. "I think it indicates that, for the public, ending the nursing shortage to cut waiting times is very important."

"We are on the cusp of the greatest wave of nurse retirements Canada has ever seen. Every government leader from coast to coast promises to cut waiting times. Waiting times cannot be cut without retaining our experienced nurses and recruiting new ones. Yet, we have yet to see strong comprehensive plans for doing this. Now with this poll, it's clear that the public is firmly behind strong measures to tackle the problem," said Silas.

Among the poll's highlight are:

• 93% agree with hiring more nurses to reduce waiting times.
• 91% agree with providing government programs for the most experienced nurses to mentor new nurses,
• 88% agree with making grants and loans more available to all nursing students who demonstrate the financial need,
• 84% agree with providing incentives for staying on the job to the most experienced nurses,
• 80% agree with providing government programs to allow nurses to phase-in their retirement, and
• 50% agree with eliminating tuition for nursing school, with governments paying the amount.

Even half of respondents indicate that they support the possibility of "eliminating tax cuts for major corporations" (52%) and "temporarily reducing Canada's payment on the debt" (49%).

Canadians also favour tackling the problems of prescription drugs costs and coverage by creating a national Pharmacare system. Large majorities agree with each of the three possibilities measured:
• 80% agree with centralizing prescription drug purchasing nationally if it would save taxpayers money,
• 71% agree with developing a Canada-wide government financed Pharmacare program, and
• 62% agree with increasing personal taxes by about fifty dollars a year to eliminate for everyone up-front costs for prescription drugs and to provide prescription drug coverage to everyone.

Canada's organization of front line nurses holds the business segment its 12th Biennial Convention in Regina, this Sunday and Monday, June 5th and June 6th. The convention will host over 500 delegate-nurses and feature addresses by two of the US's foremost experts on health care policy: former editors the New England Journal of Medicine and educators at Harvard Medical School Arnold S Relman, MD, and Marcia Angell, MD. Former Maclean's editor and long time CBC talk show host Michael Enright will also address the delegates.

The Nurses' Convention is taking place at the Delta Regina Hotel, Regina, Saskatchewan.

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For more information: CFNU Communications: Tom O'Brien C) 613-294-3592; Teresa Neuman C) 613-292-9106, or the Delta Regina Hotel: 306-525-5255.
/For further information: Tom O'Brien, Communications Director, 613-294-3592. Teresa Neuman, Communications Representative, 613-292-9106/ IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    Primary Phone: 613-294-3592
    Secondary Phone: 613-292-9106
    E-mail: linda.silas@nursesunions.ca