Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions welcome Premiers’ call for more federal health investment – but demand greater accountability

July 12, 2022

VICTORIA––Canada’s unions welcomed the Council of the Federation’s call for increased federal health transfers but Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, warned Canada’s premiers that new funding must take action to fix the health worker crisis and improve patient access and care.

“Canada’s health care workers are looking at yet another summer without a break as terrible staffing shortages put an unbearable strain on the people who deliver care,” said Bruske, who was in Victoria this week to engage the premiers. “Canada’s unions support the premiers’ call for increased investments from the federal government. But new funding must include accountability and be tied to strengthening public health care and addressing the dangerous shortage of health workers.”

Bruske said new investments must also be linked to action that ensures all Canadians have access to affordable medicines and dental care; establishes standards and gets profits out of long-term care; and fights back against creeping privatization, so quality public health care is there for generations of Canadians to come.

“Frontline health care workers have been warning for years about the damage chronic underfunding has been doing to our public health care system, damage laid bare by the pandemic. Sadly, governments failed to heed these warnings,” continued Bruske. “Now, only provincial, territorial and federal governments working together with health care workers can fix this crisis.”

Bruske added that Canada’s unions wanted to thank B.C. Premier John Horgan for putting health care front and centre for the Council of the Federation.

“Let me add a sincere thank you to John Horgan,” concluded Bruske. “As chair of the Council, Premier Horgan has put strengthening health care at the centre of the premiers’ agenda. His positive and constructive leadership will be missed.”

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