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CNA encouraged by Liberal government’s ministerial mandate letters

Ottawa, December 13, 2019 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) welcomes today’s release of the new government’s ministerial mandate letters. CNA CEO Mike Villeneuve released the following statement:

“CNA is encouraged by the health minister’s mandate letter that includes ensuring greater access to primary care teams, supporting home care and palliative care, strengthening public health care, committing to protecting the Canadian drug supply from shortages, and increasing efforts to address the opioid crisis.

“We are also encouraged by the repeated commitment to implementing national universal pharmacare. However, we are concerned that the Liberal government is not being transparent with their implementation plan. CNA strongly supports the implementation of a public, single-payer, universal national pharmacare program in Canada that is evidence-based. We look forward to working with the government to ensure that all recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare’s final report are adopted.

“CNA supports the commitment to continue working with provinces and territories on new investments to respond to the opioid crisis in Canada. Increased prevention efforts, access to treatment, harm reduction and public awareness are all key components to address the crisis. Given the positive impact supervised consumption sites have on community safety, we are pleased that there will be an extension of hours, but we would also encourage stronger commitments around increasing consumptions sites throughout Canada, especially in provinces and territories who have recently reduced the number of sites.

“CNA looks forward to working with the minister for seniors on her mandate letter’s commitment to build on federal programs that support seniors and their families by improving home care, palliative care and community care. Under this commitment, we would like to see the Canadian Caregiver Tax Credit made fully refundable. We hope the government will consider an extension to the federal compassionate care benefits to include a two-week period for bereavement. CNA is a strong advocate for high-quality palliative care, accessible to all Canadians, in settings that best suit each individual’s needs, as well as increased financial support for seniors, their families and for those who take care of them.

“We are disappointed that there wasn’t a stronger commitment to address the significant lack of discussion around the negative health effects of climate change. Many policies needed to fight climate change will produce immediate health benefits, reduce health-care costs and improve social cohesion and equity in all communities across Canada. We will continue to call on the federal government to address the negative health impacts of climate change and work with them to increase awareness, education and implement strategies that will increase prevention.

“CNA will also continue to work with the federal government, and all levels of government, to address rural and remote health-care issues, such as the lack of access to health-care professionals, the need for better health and human resources planning, and the need for increased supports through tele-medicine and virtual care modalities.

“Overall, CNA is pleased with the mandate letters. We look forward to the next federal budget to see how these commitments will be better supported and implemented. Health care was among the top three issues this past federal election and we will continue to push for increased supports, programming and funding. We have already started connecting with some ministerial offices and will continue to request meetings with key ministers in the new year to outline the priorities of CNA and the nursing profession.”

Read the federal government’s ministerial mandate letters.


The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, representing 135,000 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: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca