November 26, 2021 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) commends the federal government for introducing legislation to protect health-care workers and ensure safe access to health care. The new bill creates new offences under the Criminal Code that will make it illegal to obstruct access to health facilities and to threaten or intimidate health-care workers. This new legislation will assist in retaining nurses in the workforce and avoid further escalation of the ongoing critical nursing shortages in Canada.
CNA has long been advocating for violence-free workplaces in health-care settings, where nurses have the right to work in respectful environments, safe from threats and intimidation. According to a Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) survey, over 80% of nurses reported facing physical violence from patients and families at work. CNA also welcomes the requirement for courts to consider more serious penalties for offenders who target health-care workers engaged in their duties or who impede others from obtaining health services.
“It is imperative that nurses feel safe at work. During the fall, we saw several protests in front of hospitals where nurses were harassed, threatened, and even assaulted while coming and going in the business of saving lives,” said Tim Guest, president of CNA. “With the ongoing nursing shortages, we welcome and fully support this legislation as it will help to ensure respectful working environments for health-care workers who are already past the breaking point,” said Guest.
CNA is committed to working and collaborating with the government and parliamentarians to see this bill come into law. We look forward to offering our resources and nursing expertise to help inform this important work and ensure the safety of all health-care workers.
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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