Ontario nurses urge PM to move ahead with a science-based emissions cap for oil and gas sector

Oct. 31, 2023

Canada is at a pivotal moment in its efforts to deal with the climate crisis. The failure to take bold, decisive action will lead to disaster for our environment and also for people’s health.

That’s the message the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) delivered in an open letter it sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week, calling on him to act on the government’s promise to cut and cap emissions from oil and gas production to meet the country’s climate commitments.

“This summer was the hottest one on record, coupled with an unprecedented number of forest fires, and poor air quality from smoke,” says Dr. Claudette Holloway, president of RNAO. She notes tens of thousands of Canadians received a wake-up call about the climate emergency when they were forced to leave their homes to escape raging wild fires. “Emissions from the oil and gas sector and the use of its products throughout the economy are the largest contributors to the climate disruption, underscoring the necessity to act,” adds Holloway.

RNAO says the federal government pledged to do its part to keep global temperatures from increasing more than 1.5 degrees. “The reality is that we can not and will not be able to meet this target without a concerted effort to rein in emissions from oil and gas,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO CEO, pointing out that in this sector alone, “they account for almost 30 per cent of total domestic emissions.”

Urgency on this issue was underlined this summer when United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.” He called for turning “a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition.”

Grinspun says RNAO could not agree more. “We urge Prime Minister Trudeau and his government to live up to their 2021 promise because time is running out. Canadians know the devastating effects of climate change. Our call to action is immediate because lives are at stake. Failing to act on one of the most important determinants of health will also affect the health of our planet,” she says.

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 we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on X (formerly Twitter)Facebook and Instagram.

- 30 -

Contact info

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)