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Statement by CNA president-elect Tim Guest following the Council of the Federation 2019 meeting

Saskatoon, SK, July 12, 2019 – CNA president-elect Tim Guest issued the following statement after the Council of the Federation’s 2019 summer meeting:

“The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is encouraged by the premiers’ continued discussions to strengthen long-term sustainability and innovation in our health-care system. It is important that all levels of government continue to ensure that Canadians have access to the right care at the right time and at the most appropriate level of care, respecting their rights, needs, dignity and autonomy.

“CNA supports the premiers in their call on the federal government to increase funding by an annual escalator of 5.2% to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to provide the care Canadians need. Our population is aging and the CHT does not factor in related health-care costs. As such, the federal transfers are not enough to support the needs and additional care that will be required.

“We applaud the premiers’ continued discussions regarding progress on national pharmacare, including improving the affordability of prescription drugs. During the upcoming federal election, we will continue to advocate for the adoption and implementation of a universal, single-payer pharmacare program that is sustainable and evidence-based. CNA also applauds the premiers’ call for the federal government to invest adequately in health-care services and infrastructure in Indigenous communities, and address critical determinates of health by ensuring safe, clean, accessible water and housing.

“CNA is encouraged by the premiers’ united commitment during the meeting to addressing mental health and addictions issues by working to increase prevention efforts, access to treatment, harm reduction and public awareness. We were also very pleased that the opioid crisis is still at the top of their agenda. Given the positive impact supervised consumption sites have on community safety, a lot can be done in Canada to establish many more of these services. Further, it is of the utmost importance that governments improve access to health and social services such as opioid agonist treatments, including methadone, suboxone and diacetylmorphine (prescription heroin) for persons who are ready for such interventions.

“In October 2018, cannabis became legal in Canada, and CNA expressed concern around protecting public health and safety, labeling, youth, vaping, lack of regulations around edibles and more. CNA is encouraged that cannabis remains a top concern to the premiers and that we have shared concerns. With the upcoming legalization of the sale of edibles, extracts and topicals, CNA stands united with the premiers in calling on the federal government to provide clear guidance on Health Canada regulations for products that are considered appealing to youth, as well as supporting provinces and territories in public awareness and education campaigns related to the health risks of cannabis use in all forms.

“CNA was also pleased to see that climate change was addressed during the meetings, however, there is still a significant lack of discussion around its negative health impacts. While the premiers support the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve Canada’s Paris Agreement targets, they remain divided on how Canada is to achieve those results and what mechanisms should be in place to best reach Canada’s targets. CNA believes that we must do much more if we are to avoid the catastrophic 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 in Canada. We will continue to call on the federal government to implement strategies that prevent and reduce the negative health effects of climate change, increase health research and public education, and provide stable long-term funding to the health sector to address the effects of climate change.

“CNA was pleased to join the breakfast discussion on violence in the workplace with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and some of the premiers. All nurses in Canada have the right to work in a respectful environment that is free from any form of violence and bullying, and these acts are not tolerated as part of the nurse’s job. CNA is supportive of the report tabled by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health and will continue to advocate.

“Going forward, CNA has released its 2019 federal election platform which includes recommendations on many of the issues discussed during this week’s premiers’ meetings. In addition, we will submit a brief during upcoming consultations ahead of the federal 2020 budget, with recommendations around climate change, adaptation and mitigation. CNA will also continue to push these issues at all levels of government, during the First Ministers’ meeting and the Health Ministers’ meeting being held in 2020.”

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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.

Background:

Canada’s Premiers Engage Federal Party Leaders

Premiers Committed to Healthcare Sustainability, Call on Federal Government to be Full Partner

Premiers Focused on Public Health and Safety in the Legalization of Cannabis

Premiers Committed to Action on Climate Change, Disaster Mitigation

Premiers Committed to Economic Competitiveness and Responsible Resource Development

CNA’s 2019 Federal Election Platform

HESA Report

CNA HESA submission

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