Solidarity message sent to Nova Scotia nurses and health professionals from Ottawa.
Ottawa (03 April 2014) — Health professionals are gathered in Ottawa at the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) meeting on April 3 and 4 to discuss major priorities facing health care workers across the country.
Health care professionals discuss challenges during two-day meeting
CHPS is a national advocacy body that represents 70,000 unionized health professionals who deliver the diagnostic, clinical, rehabilitation and preventative services that are essential to timely and quality health care.
This meeting coincides with a major strike involving nurses employed by the Capital District Health Authority in Nova Scotia. Members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) have been in negotiations for seven months for a new collective agreement. Members have raised the issues of patient safety as one of the biggest priorities for both workers and patients in the health care system. In order to address this ever-growing problem, members included nurse-to-patient ratios in their bargaining proposals to ensure improvements were negotiated. The employer refused to address the issue, forcing the workers into a strike position.
As the strike deadline moved closer, the Liberal government introduced essential services legislation to restrict the right to strike of thousands of health care workers across the province. Nurses were in a legal strike position just after midnight on April 3 and have since been on the picket lines. The essential services legislation is scheduled to be passed on April 4.
Health professionals "Putting Patient Safety First!"
Participants took a break from the CHPS meeting to send a message of solidarity to the striking nurses and fellow health care workers in Nova Scotia.
Some of the highly trained professionals represented by CHPS include medical laboratory technologists, physiotherapists, social workers, pharmacists, occupational therapists, dieticians and psychologists. These professionals work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, mental health services, laboratories, home care services and public health agencies.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE