Canada’s unions united with nurses in demanding urgent government action

September 17, 2021

OTTAWA – As the pandemic strains Canada’s public health care systems, nurses are sounding the alarm that urgent action is needed by all levels of government to fix Canada’s nursing crisis.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and provincial nurses’ unions across Canada are holding a National Day of Action today, making sure our health care system is top of mind when voters go to vote on Monday.

“We’ve seen a pandemic with devastating consequences on frontline health workers after more than a decade of chronic nursing shortages,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “It’s long past time nurses receive basic respect, safety and fairness. Canada’s unions are proud to stand in solidarity today with nurses across the country.”

Overworked, underpaid and suffering under the pressure of the pandemic on their work and life, hospital staff are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. Overtime is up almost 80% on average, and almost 140% in Ontario and Quebec. For Black, Indigenous, and racialized nurses, they also can face daily discrimination.

Nursing unions have been warning about the crisis and the urgent need for governments to invest in nursing.

“The pandemic has made clear to everyone how years of health care cuts, started by Stephen Harper and Erin O’Toole, left a tattered health care system. Mr. O’Toole says he’ll restore the cuts, but only years down the road. The crisis is right now,” said Bruske. “Nurses are right to say they’re done waiting. I urge voters to reject Mr. O’Toole’s empty words and vote to strengthen our public health care system.”

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