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Healthy workers crucial for economic rebound, nurses say – News Release

February 25, 2010 – Canadian nurses are reminding the federal government ahead of its March 4 budget that health and wealth go hand in hand, with a healthy workforce being a crucial element of economic recovery.

“Many economists are predicting a modest recovery in 2010, so now is the time to make strategic investments in health human resources and illness prevention. We need a healthy labour force that is ready to work as the economy picks up steam,” said Kaaren Neufeld, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). “Health and prosperity go hand in hand.”

According to Neufeld, “Canada’s registered nurses are seeing among the population alarming levels of chronic illness and obesity that have a negative impact on the health of Canadians, on health-care costs and on our economy. The federal government’s spending priorities should take into account the leveraging effect a healthy nation has on the future of our economy.”

Just as programs have been put in place to stimulate the economy, spending should also be in place to stimulate the health of Canadians. Resurrecting the Participaction program is a good example of how the government can devote resources to keep people active and healthy. Investing in the health of Canadians can yield important productivity dividends, as well. For example, work absences due to illness or disability have been on the rise since 1997. The average full-time employee missed 8 days a year in 2008.

“In order to meet challenges to the sustainability of the health-care system, we must maintain our focus on keeping people well,” said Neufeld. “By leading and applying evidence-informed solutions, Canada’s registered nurses are contributing to unprecedented improvements and innovations to health service delivery, better quality care and reduced health-care costs.”

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing over 135,000 registered nurses. CNA believes that the sustainability of a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.

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For more information, contact:

Paul Watson, Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
613-237-2159 x283
613-697-7507 mobile
E-mail: pwatson@cna-aiic.ca