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Media Advisory — Canada’s nurses to raise concerns on abortion access at COF meeting

Edmonton, July 17, 2017 — On Tuesday, July 18, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) president Barb Shellian will participate in a panel discussion on the politics of the abortion pill Mifegymiso, organized by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

“It is critical that governments address the remaining barriers to equal access to abortion in Canada,” said Shellian. “CNA is calling on all provinces and territories to ensure that women have full access to reproductive health services and related rights across the country. Ontario legislation allows the province’s nurse practitioners (NPs) to currently help women. Other jurisdictions must follow suit to ensure all Canadians have the same right.” (Learn more about NPs in Canada at www.cna-aiic.ca/np.)

Tuesday, July18, 2017
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (MDT)

Barb Shellian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association
Sarah Hoffman, Alberta minister of health
Sandeep Prasad, executive director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
Denise Lambert, program designer for Kimamow Atoskanow Foundation
Celia Posyniak, executive director of Kensington Clinic
Moderator: Heather Cobb, president of the Alberta Society for the Promotion of Sexual Health

Salon B, Château Lacombe
10111 – Bellamy Hill Road NW
Edmonton, Alberta

Darrah Teitel at darrah@sexualhealthandrights.ca

During the Council of the Federation meeting, CNA president Barb Shellian will be available to comment and discuss Mifegymiso as well as other national health-care issues Canadians expect the premiers to address:

CNA is pleased to support the work of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights to ensure access to reproductive health. It is very important to address all the remaining barriers to equal access in Canada. While New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have already announced free access, patients still face many barriers to access.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
NAFTA currently contains exemptions to protect medicare, Canada’s publicly funded universal health insurance system, which have to be maintained. There are many implications with trade agreements pertaining to nurses and the Canadian health-care system. These include health-care worker migration, government and investor-state dispute settlements, intellectual property rights, anti-privacy measures and labour conditions. The ability of our governments to regulate these services in the public interest is fundamental. Current issues critical to CNA in upcoming NAFTA negotiations include the cross-border employment of nurse practitioners, protecting privacy information for nurses writing the licensure exam through a U.S. company and preserving barriers on products that are a threat to public health.

Opioid crisis
More supervised consumptions services are required, not only reduce harms associated with substance use, but also to provide essential health-care services for those in need. Research has shown that these sites have a positive impact on community safety, reducing rates of public drug use and discarded supplies without increasing substance use, violence or property crime. CNA would also like to see improved access to such health and social services as opioid agonist treatments, including methadone, Suboxone and diacetylmorphine (prescription heroin), for persons who have expressed or demonstrated the readiness for such interventions.

Cannabis legalization
It is of the utmost importance to prepare all Canadians before July 2018 when Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is expected to become law. Nurses will be ready to provide insights regarding prevention and the adoption of a public health approach to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of cannabis use.

Home Care
On any given day, almost 7,500 hospital beds are occupied by patients who cannot be discharged due to the lack of accessible home care services. This shortage contributes to rising costs and reduced efficiency in our publicly funded health system. With the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Home Care Association, CNA has collectively identified seven priority actions that will have an immediate impact on home care across the country. We are seeking input from provinces and territories on these seven priorities for the next steps to advance better home care across Canada.


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.

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