March 28, 2023 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) welcomes the federal government’s Budget 2023 for its renewed commitment to long-term increased federal funding to support and enhance Canada’s public health-care system. However, there continues to be a missed opportunity to support a pan-Canadian health human resource (HHR) strategy that would support direct care nurses and increase domestic supply for a more sustainable health workforce.
Recognizing the recent federal health investments announced last month, CNA is pleased to see these investments reiterated in Budget 2023, particularly around increased accountability for funding in bilateral agreements, and better data and planning through a proposed centre for excellence. We are pleased to see continued collaboration between federal, provincial and territorial governments in commitments to multi-jurisdictional licensure and supporting health-care workers, and we look forward to concrete action from the outcomes of the bilateral agreements. In addition, the budget announced new investments in increasing loan forgiveness for nurses, which comes as a welcome step towards recruiting nurses to work in rural and remote communities and retaining them. The continued focus on supporting a publicly funded health-care system, along with new investments in dental care, suicide prevention and the opioid crisis, will positively support the health of Canadians moving forward.
We know nurses have been stretched thin due to the pandemic and the nursing shortage crisis, and the concern of losing our workforce in all areas of health care is very high. Unfortunately, there is little focus on investment to increase nursing education and training for domestic supply. With the International Council of Nurses stating that the nursing shortage crisis is a global health emergency, Canada needs to urgently respond to this crisis to retain nurses in the workforce and produce sufficient domestic supply of health-care professionals to meet the needs of people in Canada. CNA will continue to advocate for pan-Canadian HHR strategies and planning, investments in direct measures to retain and recruit more nurses (e.g., tax relief, specific mental health supports for health-care workers), improved working conditions, and investments in expanding our education and training capacity.
“Nurses support a publicly funded health-care system and are pleased this continues to be top of mind for the federal government. But the working conditions of nurses remains overwhelming, and the strain caused by chronic shortages is driving nurses out of the profession. We need to prioritize the retention and recruitment of nurses and health-care professionals by creating a healthy and safe work environment. We also need to think ahead to strategize and build a strong and resilient nursing workforce,” said CNA president Sylvain Brousseau.
CNA will continue to advocate for greater supports for nurses and other health-care workers and we look forward to continuing our collaborative work with the federal government and parliamentarians to deliver on key health priorities.
About the Canadian Nurses Association
CNA is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. Our mission is to advance the nursing profession to improve health outcomes in Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system. CNA is the only national association that speaks for all types of nurses across all 13 provinces and territories. We represent nurses that are unionized and non-unionized, retired nurses, nursing students, and all categories of nurses (registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, and registered psychiatric nurses).
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