CNA News Room

CNA to first ministers: new health-care funding agreement urgently needed

February 6, 2023 - Tomorrow, Canada’s premiers and the prime minister will meet to discuss the dire state of the health-care system. Ahead of the meeting, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) wrote to the first ministers to urge them to work together and invest in priority areas that will address the dire situation our health-care system is facing.

“Canada’s nurses are expecting that the prime minister and premiers will make meaningful progress in their discussions tomorrow,” said Sylvain Brousseau, CNA’s president. “Patients and caregivers continue to suffer as health-care providers burn out and leave their professions, wait lists grow, and emergency departments close their doors due to staff shortages. The health-care crisis is being felt in every province and territory. It is multifaceted and complex. This requires all levels of government to work together to solve the enormous pressure the system is facing.”

For many years, nurses have been alerting political leaders about the many gaps in the health-care system that threaten its sustainability. Provinces and territories will not be able to tackle challenges — such as nursing shortages, population aging, the increase in chronic and rare diseases, or the rising costs of drugs — without substantial levels of predictable funding into the future.

A federal increase to the Canada Health Transfer is critical and should be focused on areas of need:

  • Health human resources
  • Access to primary care and specialized care
  • Aging and long-term care
  • Wait times and backlog of surgeries and procedures
  • Mental health care and substance use
  • Virtual care, data and innovation

“A new health-care funding agreement also needs to focus on results for patients and nurses and other health-care workers,” said Brousseau. “One of the main challenges the system is facing relates to nursing shortages. In our letter to the first ministers, we stressed that any new agreements should include key performance indicators that will help measure improvements to the health-care system. Some examples include improved nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, scaling up evidence-based recruitment and retention policies, reduced vacancy numbers in health facilities, increased number of seats in nursing schools, reduced overtime utilization, improved burnout indicators, among many others.”

People living in Canada deserve a more efficient health-care system. CNA urges the first ministers to work together to achieve meaningful progress in their discussions around the sustainability of Canada’s health-care system. CNA stands ready to collaborate with federal, provincial, and territorial governments to support this important work.


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.

For more information, please contact:

Lucas Veiga
Public Affairs Lead
Cell: 613-697-7497