Two weeks ago I was in Ottawa to attend meetings with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and attend a rally for Pharmacare that was already planned by the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) before the Prime Minister announced his meeting with the Premiers on the boost in Canada Health Transfer funding for the next decade.

There are many aspects that I’d like to touch on, so we’ll start with the funding announcement. The Trudeau government has ear-marked $196.1 billion in health care spending over the next decade, with $46.2 billion in new money on top of the funds already budgeted.

In a background document that was provided to media and reported on by the CBC, the provinces will need to commit to improving how health data is "collected, shared, used and reported to Canadians to promote greater transparency on results, and to help manage public health emergencies.”

As stated by CFNU, we welcome the federal government’s proposal to increase the Canada Health Transfer and establish bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, however, we warn that any new funding must be backed by both real accountability and immediate action to address the critical nursing shortage that is affecting the entire country.

It is our opinion that not nearly enough strings are attached to ensure that the money is used responsibly. We have sadly seen in the past that the provincial government has not increased funding for our health care system in the same percentage that the federal government has increased the amount sent to Manitoba under the Canada Health Transfer.

For the fiscal year 2022, the Canada Health Transfer increased by 4.5%, however, the operating budget for Manitoba Health only increased by 2.4% from the previous year. We need to know that funding meant for health care will actually go to health care in the same percentage it is meant to.

Regarding the CHC rally, it ended up being about support for our universal, publicly funded health care system. The turnout was great for a Tuesday afternoon and frigid temperatures, and as Pauline Worsfold, RN and CFNU Secretary-Treasurer said, “We’re here today to bring the heat” on the politicians! Below is a short video of the rally:

Related to CFNU, registration is now open for the CFNU Biennial Convention, which takes place June 5-9, 2023, in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Funding to attend the CFNU Biennial is done through MNU Local/Worksite/Region, so make sure to contact your Local/Worksite/Region first for details.
On a final note, last week I spent a great deal of time speaking to media about the more than one million hours of overtime that nurses logged across Manitoba and the ill-effects of mandated OT. Read more here.

In solidarity,
Darlene Jackson