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CNA calls for greater collaboration between First Ministers on health-care sustainability

December 11, 2020 — Canada’s First Ministers met yesterday to discuss health-care sustainability and funding. A discussion of this nature had not taken place in over 16 years and, amid a global pandemic, its need and urgency have never been higher.

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is disappointed that no major decisions were reached at the First Ministers’ meeting yesterday,” said CNA president Tim Guest. “However, the Prime Minister’s commitment after the meeting to increase the federal share of health-care costs in the coming months is a promising first step. Canada’s nurses urge First Ministers to work together in support of better health care for Canadians and to build the health system we need by investing in priority areas — not only during a pandemic but also in the future,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked and exacerbated many health-care system gaps such as those that led to the devastating impacts to Canada’s long-term care sector. Institutional long-term care needs to be rapidly stabilized. CNA has been calling for a larger national conversation around aging to identify the best models to support safe and dignified aging in Canada. To start, governments need to come together for consensus on measurable, actionable and accountable national long-term care standards to address the terrible outcomes we have seen.

The Conference Board of Canada has said population aging will drive 20 per cent of increases in health-care spending over the next decade, which amounts to an additional $93 billion. “As our population ages, more federal funding will be needed to cover health-care costs and meet the needs of older adults in Canada. That is why CNA, and other health-care organizations, are calling for a demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer to meet the needs of our aging population,” said Guest.

Dedicated funding is critical to enhance the ability of provinces and territories to invest in home and community care, long-term care and palliative care, and end-of-life care. CNA understands this discussion will require tough negotiations among the federal, provincial and territorial governments, but there is no time to waste as Canada’s aging population continues to grow rapidly. Canadians deserve a more efficient health-care system. We urge First Ministers to work together and bring about meaningful progress in their discussions around the sustainability of Canada’s health-care system.


About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and retired nurses across all 13 provinces and territories.

For more information, please contact:

Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca