With a federal election happening on Sept. 20, 2021, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) calls on Canadians to vote for health. RNAO’s policy platform for this election, released today, asks voters to choose health when they head to the polls.
Health isn’t just about health care. Health is determined by a person’s economic, social and environmental circumstances.
“Elections matter, especially when it comes to individuals’ health. It’s critical that all major federal party leaders keep a healthy recovery for all Canadians at the forefront of their platform if they want to have nurses on their side,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun.
The next federal government must address with urgency the pre-pandemic societal ills for which COVID-19 has become a magnifying glass.
Over the past 18 months:
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and broadened social, economic and health inequities.
- Gaps in our health-care system have devastated vulnerable populations.
- Old wounds have been opened and the Indigenous people of this land have been re-traumatized with the devastating findings of the remains of Indigenous children at former residential schools.
- The International Panel on Climate Change has released a damaging report on the state of global warming and the future of climate change.
RNAO believes that during the COVID-19 recovery phase, we must build a better Canada for all.
“Elected officials must protect all Canadians from the ravages of climate change. They must create and implement a comprehensive climate action plan, and protect water sources to ensure access to clean drinking water for all, especially those in Indigenous communities,” adds Grinspun.
“Canada’s most vulnerable populations, especially long-term care residents, individuals experiencing homelessness, and those struggling with substance abuse must receive dedicated attention. Our injustices with racialized communities and Indigenous communities must be fully recognized and repaired,” Grinspun urges on behalf of Ontario’s nurses and nursing students.
- To ensure a healthy recovery for all Canadians, RNAO urges candidates to commit to implementing national standards in long-term care homes, making housing a right and ending the opioid overdose crisis once and for all. Canada’s way forward must be one that fills the deep gaps in our health system and leads all toward a just recovery.
- To improve Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system, RNAO calls for a national pharmacare program and the expansion of Medicare to cover essential health services.
As Canada works to heal its relationship with Indigenous communities, RNAO recommends:
- increasing the number of nurse practitioners and registered nurses in Indigenous communities.
- full implementation of all 94 calls-to-action of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
These are two critical steps toward supporting our Indigenous sisters and brothers, and providing them with equitable access to health care.
“Before, during and post-pandemic, nurses hold elected officials accountable and are committed to providing each party with evidence-based recommendations to influence healthy public policy,” says RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth.
“Nurses are in direct contact with Canadians from all walks of life and know what changes need to be made locally and nationally. Nurses want to work collaboratively with federal leaders to ensure their policies are informed by key health issues – opportunities and challenges – that nurses and their patients face every day,” adds Hoffarth.
“If our recommendations are fully realized by elected officials, the health of Canadians and our health-care system will be more equitable and accessible,” Hoffarth says. “This is why we again ask to reinstate Canada’s chief nursing officer role, to tackle the serious health human resources needs and influence federal health policy to serve all Canadians – especially vulnerable ones. Nurses work in all health sectors and settings, and must be at every decision-making table.”
RNAO’s policy platform is one of many ways the association and its more than 46,000 members will speak out during the 2021 election campaign. RNAO has also asked the federal parties’ leaders for their views on four priority areas and will provide updates on their responses.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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