National Nursing Week is an opportunity to recognize the incredible work and dedication of nursing team members across Canada, including the tens of thousands of nurses represented by CUPE. We also take the opportunity to thank and acknowledge all front-line health care workers. As we enter our 3rd year of a pandemic, we celebrate the compassion, strength, and dedication of nurses.

In the context of this pandemic, we have seen a greater public appreciation of the work done by nurses and all health care workers. Rightfully, they are recognized as heroes. Nurses have continued to provide quality care in our hospitals, long-term care homes, community organizations and in patients’ homes throughout our country’s worst health care crisis in modern times.

Canada’s health care system depends on the commitment and work of registered practical nurses (RPNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs). Yet Canada is facing a crisis in hiring and retaining nurses. Our governments need to show respect for nurses in order to address this crisis.

Our governments must strengthen public health care through higher staffing levels and sustainable workloads, better wages and benefits, and a healthier and safer workplace.

Our governments must stop health care privatization, the consequences of which were made horrifyingly apparent during the pandemic. As CUPE members, we will continue to fight for better and expanded public services that meet the health care needs of the public and provide good jobs for nurses and all health care workers. We must ensure minimum standards and hours of care in long-term care facilities. We must also recognize the full scope of practice, and make sure all members of the health care team are recognized.

This week, CUPE pays tribute to all nurses. We thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Happy nursing week! Together we will continue to campaign for quality public health care for all!