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CNA welcomes speech from the throne with proposed steps towards Canada’s long-term recovery plan

September 23, 2020 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) commends the federal government’s renewed vision and praises the government for signalling a strong direction for Canada’s healthy recovery.

We were pleased to see that the current COVID-19 pandemic was placed as the highest priority in order to protect and support people living in Canada. Speaking to social policy in a number of areas, the throne speech is a step in the right direction to address disparities in Canada that were further unmasked by COVID-19. It commits to creating a more just society by addressing issues related to racism, gender, and access to health services, which contribute to and perpetuate inequity in Canada.

“COVID-19 has been particularly hard for racialized people. CNA believes racism is a public health crisis in Canada and we are optimistic to see the government has pledged to invest in strategies that tackle systemic racism,” said Tim Guest, president of CNA. “There is a lack of health-related race and ethnicity data in Canada that prevents identification of gaps in care, related health outcomes and development of targeted solutions. It is encouraging to see that the government listened to CNA’s recommendation and is committed to better collection of disaggregated data,” Guest said.

The government’s promises in the areas of aging and long-term care are positive ones. The pandemic has exposed our lack of preparation for the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases effectively and consistently, particularly in the long-term care sector. To address these challenges, CNA has called on the federal government to lead the development of national standards for long-term care and we are encouraged to see plans for the development of these, as well as for plans to help people age in place. To further move the needle, CNA calls on the federal government to lead a national conversation around aging to identify the best models to support safe and dignified aging in Canada. The throne speech also makes promising commitments around implementing a national pharmacare program, and expanding virtual care and primary care which can dramatically support aging in place, while also improving health outcomes for communities and individuals across the lifespan.

“Many people in Canada don’t have consistent access to primary care, particularly in rural and remote areas. The sudden acceleration in virtual care is a silver lining of the pandemic as it has enabled increased access to care, especially for many vulnerable groups,” said Michael Villeneuve, chief executive officer of CNA. “We welcome the government’s commitment to expand capacity to deliver virtual health care, accelerate the connectivity timelines so all people living in Canada have access to high-speed internet, and ensure that everyone has access to a primary care team,” said Villeneuve.

Although CNA was encouraged to see commitments around more mental health resources, immediate, long-term investments in multifaceted mental health supports for health-care professionals are needed. Nurses and other health-care workers have been carrying out essential work in precarious settings and working tirelessly to keep people safe. More dedicated resources are needed to support them all during and well beyond the pandemic.

CNA looks forward to working with the government of Canada and all parliamentarians to ensure these commitments are upheld in Canada's long-term recovery plan.

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About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association is a powerful, unified voice for the Canadian nursing profession. We represent regulated and retired nurses in all 13 provinces and territories. We advance the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen health care for all people in Canada.

For more information, please contact:

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