PHOTO: MNU President Darlene Jackson attended events in P.E.I. related to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Health Ministers’ meeting, which was chaired by the new federal Health Minister Mark Holland. Photo supplied by CFNU

Our last edition of The Pulse newsletter was sent out two weeks ago on Election Day in Manitoba before the final results were announced. We as an organization are grateful to every member who spoke out to make healthcare the number one issue in this election. Congratulations to all who have been elected, we very much look forward to working with the new government in a more productive manner.

As MNU stated in our social media posts, this new government has made many promises to support the frontline and in particular our members. It is with that knowing that we look to the promise of accountability.

“We're living through a healthcare system where nurses have workloads they've never seen before, who feel that they're not providing the care that they should be to their patients,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson in a radio interview with the CBC.

“This government has pledged to collaborate with nurses, has pledged to ensure that frontline nurses are at the table,” she added. “It doesn't really matter who's in the seat of government, you must carry through on your promises.”

It has been a busy couple weeks for our President, as Darlene had the pleasure of attending the Global Nurses United conference and the California Nurses Association AGM in San Francisco during the week of Oct. 3. There were six other Manitoba nurses that attended as well, making the Canadian delegation 68 in total. 

Global Nurses United now has 35 countries represented among its ranks. At this conference, there were discussions about climate change, the need for more inclusiveness in healthcare, COVID and pandemic prep for the future, and of course the demand for safe staffing levels.

“It was interesting to hear that globally we all face the same issues and listen to how other countries are dealing with common issues,” she said, adding that the California Nurses Association invited them to attend their AGM. “It was two days of solidarity with the fierce California nurses who are pushing ahead and organizing nurses throughout the U.S., even in states with anti-union legislation. What a pleasure to hear the stories of nurses fighting and supporting each other to gain better working conditions.”

After this trip to the U.S., Darlene traveled to Charlottetown, P.E.I., along with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), to attend events related to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Health Ministers’ meeting, which was chaired by the new federal Health Minister Mark Holland.

CFNU called on the Ministers to use the recent increase to the Canada Health Transfer to bolster the nursing workforce by investing in strong retention initiatives, enabling a robust recovery of the country’s healthcare systems.

At the conclusion of the meetings and events, CFNU President Linda Silas said they were encouraged by governments’ collaborative commitments to bolster the healthcare workforce.

“Repairing our public healthcare system starts with supporting the workers – the nurses and healthcare practitioners providing care on the frontlines,” said Silas. “It’s encouraging that ministers heard and understood nurses’ concerns and are committed to addressing workplace challenges and creating environments where nurses and patients can thrive.”

Silas emphasized the importance of governments acting quickly to turn commitments to the health workforce into concrete changes on the frontlines, including phasing out overreliance on costly private nurse staffing agencies and addressing excessive hours of work for nurses.

“Nurses and healthcare workers across the country need this light at the end of the tunnel, and they need to see these conversations become a reality,” said Silas. “Collaboration between governments, employers and the frontlines remains critical to creating positive change. As Canada’s nurses’ unions, we’re ready to champion better working conditions and tackle the challenges facing our health are systems together.”

There was also a rally organized by the Canadian Health Coalition in Charlottetown that CFNU representatives, including MNU President Darlene Jackson, attended.

Click this link to read CTV News’ coverage.