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Canadian Nurses Association welcomes new B.C. bilateral health agreement with more resources to combat opioid crisis

Ottawa, February 17, 2017 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) today welcomed the new bilateral health agreement between the federal government and British Columbia. The agreement includes $796 million over the next 10 years for home care — with an accountability framework and reporting requirements — and a much-needed emergency increase of $10 million to help combat B.C.’s ongoing opioid crisis, as part of new national funding of $65 million.

“We thank B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake both for his leadership and his open, collaborative approach to negotiating this new agreement with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott. CNA remains steadfast in its support of the federal government’s call for accountability on health dollars transferred to the provinces and territories to improve home care and mental health services. A robust accountability framework, which includes annual reporting to the federal government, is critical for ensuring that funds to transform health systems and provide better outcomes for patients and taxpayers are invested effectively,” said CNA president Barb Shellian. “I recently had the chance to see first-hand how pressing B.C.’s opioid crisis is,” she added. “Nurses are working hard to support patients with opioid addictions, and today’s announcement will provide them with the support they need to continue doing so.”

“ARNBC and our nursing partners in the B.C. Coalition of Nursing Associations are pleased that a new health agreement has been signed that will support home care for British Columbians and provide funds to augment the provincial resources previously announced by Health Minister Terry Lake in his ongoing commitment to resolve the opioid crisis here in B.C.,” said ARNBC president Zak Matieschyn. “Providing supports for front-line health workers and drug users during this crisis is one of our association’s top priorities, and we are encouraged to see the gravity of this situation recognized within this agreement.”

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Background

On January 26, 2017, CNA president Barb Shellian held a press conference to support critical investments and accountability measures for home care across Canada

On October 6, 2016, Shellian issued a letter to provincial and territorial health ministers to reinforce the need for an accountability framework to underpin the health accord and/or any bilateral agreements that are signed.

As CNA’s second recommendation to the House of Commons finance committee [PDF, 297.3 KB] noted, this is an important mechanism to help ensure that universal, equitable access to high-quality publicly funded home- and community-based care is achieved.

The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice representing over 139,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

The Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) is the professional association representing nearly 40,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in British Columbia. ARNBC works alongside members to achieve quality patient care through engagement, collaboration, advocacy and policy leadership.


For more information, please contact:
Kevin Ménard
Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-266-8230
E-mail: kmenard@cna-aiic.ca