Premiers and PM must get health deal done

December 9, 2022

BRUSKE: Political bickering must be replaced with all-hands-on-deck urgency to save kids’ lives

OTTAWA––Canada faces a rising number of children getting seriously ill and even dying from the ‘tripledemic’ of COVID, flu and RSV. Canada’s unions are calling on politicians at all levels to stop the blame and bickering and come together behind providing health care workers with the resources and support they need to deliver the care patients deserve.

“The last thing parents want to hear about while watching their child struggling to breathe is politicians fighting about funding. But for months, that has been all we have heard,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Canada is a rich country. Governments have the resources to address this crisis. What’s missing is the political will to do so.”

Bruske added that there is a clear consensus around the federal government increasing health care funding to the provinces, with these new investments tied to better supporting health care workers and achieving better outcomes for patients. The federal health minister even recently admitted they were close to a deal at last month’s health ministers’ meetings.

“Healthcare workers are being asked to work double or triple shifts just to keep their departments going. While politicians argue, health workers are burning out from the unsustainable workload,” added Bruske. “Nurses, doctors, and health care advocates have been proposing concrete solutions. So we have the money and we have the solutions. Now it’s time to lock our leaders in a room together and not let them out until they have an agreement.”

Bruske also warned that premiers must not use this crisis to privatize our health care system, or use increased federal funding for tax giveaways, as some provinces have done in the past.

“Some Conservative governments have been opening the door to privatization, trying to take advantage of today’s crisis to weaken our public health care system. Canada’s unions will not let that happen,” warned Bruske. “We must strengthen public health care by bringing in pharmacare, mental health care and long-term care, not return to a healthcare system where the quality of care you get is determined by the size of your bank account.”

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