Health care workers the solution to our health care crisis

“Today, we are demanding the federal and provincial governments, make health care a greater priority by increasing its funding, by ensuring the money is used properly and by investing in the people who save lives every day. Combined, these things will help save the entire system.” — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President

Ottawa (24 Jan. 2023) — People living in Canada love their universal accessible system of health care. Despite that, Canadians agree that we are in a health crisis.

Shortage of health care workers driving health crisis

In a recent Abacus Data poll, commissioned by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), Canadians named 3 main things as the drivers in the crisis:

  • A shortage of health care workers due to strains of the job (84%)
  • A shortage of health care workers due to strains of the job and insufficient wages (82%)
  • A combination of mismanagement and underinvestment by both federal and provincial governments (82%)

“It’s not surprising that the most common unprompted response to our survey when asked why our health care system isn’t working well was the lack of employees/staff,” said Bert Blundon, NUPGE President.

“Not surprising because every day we hear from our members about how they have to endure more emotional and physical strain, work longer hours, and are burned out. We have been pushing health care to the edge, and it has to stop.”

Health care must be priority for provincial and federal governments

“Canadians also agree that the underinvestment and mismanagement of our health care system by the federal and provincial governments has led us to this crisis. The lack of funding in health care has allowed provinces, like Ontario and others to undermine the public health system. Ford’s expansion of for-profit health care clinics is a prime example of how they would rather sell it off than invest further,” said Blundon.

“Equally, without strings attached to the funding from the federal government, there is no accountability for how those dollars are spent. Fixing our health care system is one of the top priorities for Canadians, ranking only behind rising inflation and the rising cost of living,” said Blundon. “Considering how much people are suffering economically, it’s a testament to how much people want to see action on health care.” Blundon stated.

  • 80% of people said governments are choosing other priorities for money instead of investing in health care.

Solutions obvious to Canadians

“Canadians understand the problem clearly, and can see the obvious solution,” said Jason MacLean, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer.

  • 87% said the government needs to invest more to create more health care positions in the public sector
  • 85% support the government increasing investment to provide higher wages for health care workers to attract them to the sector
  • 75% believe that government’s need to make health care a priority
  • 72% said better management will make a positive impact in health care.

“Health care workers are key to improving our health care system,” said MacLean. “This survey shows that people believe health care workers have such a positive impact that having more of them will turn our system around.”

“Today, we are demanding the federal and provincial governments, make health care a greater priority by increasing its funding, by ensuring the money is used properly and by investing in the people who save lives every day. Combined, these things will help save the entire system," said Blundon.

More information: Poll results

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NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 425,000 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.

The office of the National Union of Public and General Employees is on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

We recognize the crimes that have been committed and the harm that has been done and dedicate ourselves as a union to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and striving for justice.

NUPGE