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Canadian Nurses Association supports initial steps taken in Ontario’s 2019 budget to improve health care

Ottawa, April 17, 2019 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) found that while Ontario’s 2019 budget contained some positive initiatives, it still lacked clear commitments and timelines to strengthen Ontario’s health-care system.

“CNA is pleased to see that the 2019 Ontario budget proposed accelerated steps to end hallway medicine by creating 15,000 new long-term care beds in five years instead of the previously promised 10 years and by upgrading 15,000 existing beds. We also welcome the proposed $267 million in additional support for home and community care, which will include a focus on increasing front-line care delivery, such as nursing. CNA has been calling on the government to end hallway medicine and to increase supports since the 2018 provincial election and we are pleased to see such action being taken,” said CNA chief executive officer Mike Villeneuve.

Ontarians deserve care delivered at the right place, by the right provider, and at the right time. That is why we are pleased to see that the budget proposed to expand the scope of practice for health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, to better address the needs of patients and gaps in our health-care system. However, the budget did not specify details on how and when this would be achieved.

CNA supports the proposed $174 million in 2019-20 for community mental health and addiction services. However, the Ontario budget fell short on some key health-care initiatives that CNA has been calling on the government to implement, such as addressing opioid use disorders and chronic pain. More needs to be done to expand services that address the opioid crisis. This expansion could include training nurses on how to identify early signs of opioid disorders. Despite being the largest group of care providers — and having so much direct interaction with patients – nurses are often underutilized in identifying and helping people with opioid use disorders.

“Nurse practitioners are pleased to see the government’s commitment to expanding the scope of practice for our profession. We look forward to working together to improve access to health-care services and health-care delivery to the people of Ontario,” said NPAO president Marnee Wilson.

CNA will continue to share solutions with the Ontario government to strengthen the health-care system, including optimizing the roles of nurses in ways we know improve access to affordable care and are satisfying to patients.

Background:

CNA’s 2019 Government of Ontario Pre-budget Consultation: Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs [PDF, 270.9 KB]

2019 Ontario Budget: Protecting What Matters Most

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The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, representing 140,000 nurses in all 13 jurisdictions across 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:

Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-237-2159, ext. 114
Cell: 613-237-3520
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca