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CNA welcomes much needed investments in Budget 2021 to support Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

April 19, 2021 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) welcomes the first pandemic-era budget by the federal government. Budget 2021 makes important investments to continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, to care for children and protect older adults, to expand broadband internet that will support virtual care across Canada, and to address systemic racism.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked and exacerbated many health-care system gaps. “CNA has been advocating for investments to address the vulnerabilities in the health system that impact older adults. We are pleased to see new investments to better protect seniors, such as the $3 billion over five years to support provinces and territories in implementing standards for long-term care,” said Tim Guest, president of CNA. Budget 2021 also proposes to launch the Age Well at Home initiative, which will provide much-needed funding to help seniors age in place.

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many provinces currently facing a more dangerous third wave, nurses and other health-care workers are facing critical fatigue and burnout. “Anecdotally, we have been hearing stories about many nurses planning to leave the profession. We welcome the new significant investments in mental health supports for populations disproportionately impacted or experiencing trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to COVID-19. This will help to protect nurses’ mental health as they continue to respond to this deadly virus,” said Guest.

COVID-19 is not the only health emergency that Canada is facing. Over the course of 2020, people in Canada became markedly aware of many social inequities that exist in our society. Racism is a public health crisis in Canada, creating and reinforcing serious health and social inequities. “Budget 2021 makes investments to address systemic racism by implementing a ‘disaggregated data action plan’ to support more representative data collection. Today, the collection of race and ethnicity data is inconsistent across Canada, preventing us from fully understanding disparities in care and health outcomes,” said Michael Villeneuve, CNA’s chief executive officer.

Another important investment Budget 2021 makes is to improve health outcomes for Indigenous communities by investing in cultural safety training for health-care professionals. Additionally, it dedicates new funding to increase the number of nurses in remote and isolated First Nations communities.

Though many positive initiatives were included in the budget, CNA continues to call on the government to implement a new demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer to address the needs of Canada’s aging population. “CNA looks forward to building on the productive meetings we previously held with over 75 parliamentarians, ministers, and political staff in advance of the budget,” said Villeneuve. “In our pre-budget submission, CNA had asked the government to introduce a demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer — one that is based on population size and not specific demographic needs. More funding to each province and territory is essential to meaningfully support the health and social needs of the largest generation of older people in Canada’s history,” said Villeneuve.

CNA will continue its advocacy to improve the health and well-being of people in Canada and address the tremendous shortfalls unmasked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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 Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca