Richmond Hill, Ontario — The following statement was issued by SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart following the meeting of Canada’s health ministers in Vancouver:

“Health human resource plans are failing. Period.

Healthcare jobs are no longer safe and preventable workplace injuries, both physical and emotional, are exacerbating the staffing shortage. Talk of recruitment rings hollow while retention efforts fail.

Politicians need to know that burnt-out healthcare staff – from registered practical nurses and personal support workers to dietary and paramedical – feel abandoned by their governments.

Dignified and timely care for Canadians is not possible because frontline workers hear words but see no action from politicians and self-interested healthcare profiteers.

All levels of government should be working together with workers to make healthcare jobs, good jobs, with dignified and excellent care for all. Unfortunately, we are moving away from delivering on that outcome and the proof is in the growing vacancy rates that leave nursing homes understaffed, emergency rooms closed, and homecare needs unmet.

Canada’s newly formed Coalition for Action for Healthcare Workers is an opportunity to include the needs of the frontline in the discussions about the actions we take together and SEIU Healthcare is pleased to bring the voices of especially marginalized healthcare workers to that table because we must act.

Reverse the trend of retention loss.

Ensure safe workplaces for dignified care.

Deliver urgent economic security for care workers who can’t pay their bills.

SEIU Healthcare is calling on premiers to say yes to support from Ottawa to invest directly in the worsening staffing crisis because when you ignore the needs of frontline healthcare workers you ignore the needs of patients.”