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Statement by CNA president Claire Betker following the Council of the Federation meeting

Saint Andrews, NB, July 20, 2018 — Canadian Nurses Association president Claire Betker issued the following statement after the Council of the Federation’s 2018 summer meeting:

“CNA is encouraged by the premiers’ continued discussions on national pharmacare, including the desire to improve the affordability of prescription drugs. People across Canada require access to prescription medications, which are vital for preventing, treating and managing diseases as well as for reducing hospitalization and improving quality of life. Securing affordable access is especially important for those who cannot afford the prescribed medications they require. In addition to the leadership demonstrated at the meeting, we believe that federal leadership and funding are both needed to establish a sound national pharmacare program.

“CNA is looking forward to the upcoming regional roundtables by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare and is requesting that the council’s final report, which will be delivered to the federal health minister, include the following recommendations:

  1. That the federal health minister introduce legislation to modernize the Food and Drugs Act to remove barriers that prevent nurse practitioners and registered nurses from dispensing drug samples
  2. That the federal health minister create a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the scourge of counterfeit prescription drugs
  3. That the federal government lead efforts to educate health-care workers on the importance of medication safety and deprescribing

“We were pleased that the premiers agreed to continue to work together on ways to prevent and respond to the opioid crisis, which is both disrupting and ending thousands of lives across Canada.

“While we agree with the premiers that the federal government needs to improve long-term funding to address the crisis, provinces and territories must also do their part by including nurses in harm reduction plans, including naloxone programs and supervised consumption sites. Nurses in every province and territory play an important role in addressing this crisis and preventing unnecessary overdoses and deaths.

“CNA welcomes the premiers’ call for federal funding on public education and awareness to reduce the harms associated with cannabis. Prior to and following the legalization of cannabis on October 17, 2018, we call on federal, provincial and territorial governments to allocate funding for public education in their respective jurisdictions. The legalization of cannabis is a complex issue. We therefore urge the governments to collaborate on developing and disseminating relevant resources to educate individuals, especially young people, on the harms associated with cannabis.

“CNA was pleased to see that the premiers discussed the challenges faced by people living with chronic diseases and conditions as well as ways to improve health outcomes for older adults.

“We believe leadership in these areas is crucial and commend the federal government for adding a new minister of seniors to the cabinet. We anticipate that the new minister will work with her provincial and territorial counterparts and groups like the Canadian Nurses Association to address the challenges that are arising as our population rapidly ages.”


The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, 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:

Karine Charlebois
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-237-2159, ext. 543
Cell: 613-266-8230
Email: kcharlebois@cna-aiic.ca