As families face shuttered emergency rooms, governments must act now so people can get the care they need
OTTAWA––As families in communities across the country face closures of emergency departments, hospitals, intensive care units and birthing centres, Canada’s unions are demanding quick action from Canada’s leaders to address this health care crisis.
Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding he call an emergency First Ministers’ meeting and reconvene parliament in order to urgently shore up our public health care system.
“Parents shouldn’t live in worry that they take their child to Emergency only to find it shuttered. Our crumbling public health care system is facing a crisis that requires leadership from all levels of government,” warned Bruske. “This starts with the PM and every premier coming together, working alongside health care professionals, to make sure people can access the care they need.”
Bruske pointed out that when the political will is there, quick action is possible. Canada developed a COVID response plan and had new programs up and running in weeks.
“Despite the fact health care workers have been warning us for years about chronic underfunding and a coming staffing crisis, governments failed to act. Then COVID-19 revealed to everyone just how unprepared we were for a crisis,” continued Bruske. “Let’s take the right lessons away from the pandemic and come together, across party lines and at all levels of government, to solve this crisis.”
Bruske added that it is critical that the voices and experiences of frontline nurses and other health workers – who are burning out in record numbers – are at the centre of measures governments bring forward. This must start with provinces reversing laws that took away bargaining rights from health workers.
“Canadians have long expressed their pride for Canada’s universal public health care system. But instead of supporting the workers who deliver this care to Canadians, some governments passed Draconian laws that took away their rights and cut their pay,” concluded Bruske. “Governments must now work collaboratively with health workers on lasting solutions that build a more resilient public health care system.”
Link to the official letter here.
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