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2017 closes with better access to care thanks to fewer federal barriers for nurse practitioners’ practice

Ottawa, December 21, 2017 — Barb Shellian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), and Raleen Murphy, president of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada (NPAC), issued the following joint statement welcoming the removal of numerous federal barriers to care for patients whose primary health-care provider is a nurse practitioner.

As strong advocates for over 5,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) across Canada, CNA and NPAC are elated to welcome the various federal legislative and policy changes that were made over the course of 2017 — changes that will lead to more accessible care for over three million people in Canada.

The latest legislative changes took effect in mid-December, granting NPs the authority to:

  • certify people for the medical expense tax credit, the child care expense deduction, the student disability tax credit and the disability savings plan
  • certify a spouse or common-law partner’s shorter life expectancy to permit a higher pension without survivor benefits
  • independently complete the medical reports for people to receive Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits
  • sign medical certificates for all three Employment Insurance (EI) caregiving benefits (the compassionate care benefit and family caregiver benefit for both adults and children), which is in addition to their previous authority to sign for sickness benefits

“CNA is delighted to see that 2017 was the year when we saw changes to various pieces of federal legislation. These changes — which all started on Budget Day, March 22, 2017, when NPs were granted the ability to certify the disability tax credit — will enhance access to care for patients whose primary care is delivered by an NP in rural/remote and urban communities across Canada,” said Shellian.

“NPAC is very pleased to see the removal of many barriers to NP practice this past year, permitting NPs to offer excellent care to patients unhindered by legislative clauses,” said Murphy. “We are thankful for the partnership of CNA and the government on these issues. NPAC is committed to continued advocacy of the NP role in Canada and ensuring that the role of the NP is understood at the government level when legislative and policy changes are decided.”

Shellian and Murphy added that “CNA and NPAC are thankful to the ministers responsible for the Department of Finance Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency — as well as their respective staff members and departmental officials. We are also grateful for the cross-party support that we received from MPs and senators.”

“Thanks to everyone involved, Canada’s publicly funded health-care system will benefit from less duplication of services, fewer barriers to care and lower costs. In 2018, we will work with the federal government to ensure that NPs across the country are aware of all the changes to date,” said Shellian.


March 22, 2017 — Canadian Nurses Association applauds removal of critical federal legislative barriers to nurse practitioners

May 17, 2017 — Canadian Nurses Association welcomes the removal of more federal barriers for nurse practitioners in Bill C-44

June 22, 2017 — Canadian Nurses Association applauds passage of Bill C-44 as a win for Canadians and nurses

Recent government legislation:


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.

NPAC-AIIPC is the national voice for nurse practitioners, with the goal of advocating for, and reducing, barriers to NP practice. This Canadian organization consists of over 1,300 members encompassing a number of nurse practitioner specialties.

For more information, please contact:
Denise Rideout
Lead Customer Excellence
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel.: 613-237-2159 ext. 558
E-mail: media@cna-aiic.ca