November 23, 2021 — The 2021 speech from the throne marked a historic moment in Canada’s reconciliation journey as it was delivered by Mary Simon, Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General. The throne speech, which marked the opening of the first session of the 44th Parliament, included many of the Liberal government’s election priorities to improve Canada’s health-care system.
The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) was pleased to see recognition that work needs to be done to strengthen the health-care system, enhance mental health care and long-term care, fight discrimination in the health system, advance reconciliation, and improve data collection across health systems.
CNA is extremely concerned with Canada’s ongoing health workforce crisis. In some places across the country, health-care organizations and systems are on the brink of collapse due to health worker burnout and shortages. Getting the pandemic under control was a priority in the throne speech and, to achieve that, urgent investments in Canada’s health workforce are needed.
“Nurses and health-care workers are burnt out, exhausted, and demoralized. Even before COVID-19, the health system was in crisis due to health worker shortages. Now, these problems have been exacerbated and there is a worrying level of health workers leaving their profession. They are also facing increasing levels of violence and harassment, which is why the government’s commitment to protect health workers is so important.” said Tim Guest, president of CNA. “Canada can only finish the fight against COVID-19 and rebuild a resilient economy if we have a well-functioning health system and health workforce,” said Guest.
Canada’s health workforce crisis has reached a point where no single jurisdiction can tackle it on its own. CNA urges the federal government to take action. This can be done by investing in a renewed pan-Canadian health human resources strategy that addresses critical staffing shortages, and improves health workforce data collection and health worker mobility.
CNA looks forward to further details in the new ministerial mandate letters on how the government plans to achieve real results for all people in Canada. We stand ready to collaborate with the federal government to support the implementation of priorities outlined during the election and in the throne speech.
About the Canadian Nurses Association
CNA is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, retired nurses, and nursing students across all 13 provinces and territories.
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