Public health care funding and delivery
Updated: Mar 10
Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'll be sharing my time with my colleague from Kingston and the islands. Um, I'm pleased to rise today to discuss the shortage of health workers in Canada and the actions the government is taking to address the issue, notes for TU. Our government cares deeply about our national healthcare system.
To recognize the extraordinary contribution and sacrifice healthcare workers in Canada make every day to provide Canadians with the healthcare services they need, I'd like to begin by thanking everyone who works in the healthcare sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown what we can achieve when all levels of government work together alongside regulators, educators, healthcare providers and the representatives. We work together across jurisdictional boundaries and pro professional designations to provide care to all Canadians and address the needs of our most vulnerable.
The state of our HE healthcare workforce has been described as a crisis, but with crisis comes opportunity. We can take a critical look. At systemic shortcomings and make the kind of transformational changes required to rebuild our healthcare system into the world-class system it once was. Healthcare workers are the backbone of an efficient and sustainable health system.
It's imperative that we take action to create safe, supportive, and adequately resourced healthcare working environment.. That support the retention of existing workers and makes healthcare an attractive career choice for professional support workers, nurses, practitioner, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurses, doctors, and all others who work in this system.
Our healthcare workers are at the core of our plan to support our public care system. And just last week I met with members of the Canadian Labor Congress in my office. Three of whom were personal support workers from my area. You know, they're passionate about the work and about the Canadians they serve. I shared with them the fact that my first job was as a personal support worker at a senior's home where my mother worked as a nurse, I understand the importance of the work that they do firsthand and how much older Canadians and others who need assistance to get through their daily routines appreciate these hardworking in. I'm so proud that as part of the recent healthcare announcements, 1.7 billion has been allocated to so that province can increase the payment for these personal support care workers.
They deserve more than just our praise. They deserve an increase so that they have livable wages. You know, the S I E U, who represents many healthcare workers, um, said when we put forward this announce, That the federal commitment of 1.7 billion for personal support workers and care workers like them who support our vulnerable loved ones, marks a giant step towards achieving the promise of $25 for all personal support workers across Canada.
I'd like to talk about nurses as well. I mentioned that my mother was a nurse. It was her career and she was very proud of it. You know, they play a critical role in delivering healthcare services. Shaping our health system, improving patient experience of care and population health, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare.
And this goes for our personal support workers as well. Madam Speaker. You know, supporting these workers in our healthcare system, ensuring that they can do their job properly, means that our healthcare professionals can do a lot more. We can do a lot more with less, you know, from the emergency room to the ICU vaccination clinics to public health units..
From long-term care to mental health services nurses provide dedicated care and nurse practitioners as well. You know, we know from several studies and surveys that there's a high vacancy rate because nurses are burnt out. They're leaving their jobs or seeking to leave them. The pandemic has really made a dent in our nursing staff, our nursing, our capability, and the number of people who work in this, in this profession..
You know, we recognize the critical role it plays, and so in August of 2022, we reinstated the role a federal Chief nursing officer with the appointment of Dr. Chapman. That office is working to advance and champion initiatives that are priorities among the collective nursing community, Madden speaker, including harmonized, efficient and a safe approaches.
To integrate internationally educated wor nurses into the workforce. We need all of the healthcare workers in Canada who have been educated around the globe. We need them to be helping to deliver these services that Canadians so desperately need. You know, the implementation of multi-jurisdictional registration, which will improve the mobility of nurses across Canada as well.
The chief nursing officer supports the improvement of Pan-Canadian nurse and data. To facilitate comprehensive workforce planning and evidence-based healthcare policy development. And let's talk a little for a minute about mental health. You know, for our healthcare workers, providing mental health services is incredibly important, but not just for the Madam Speaker, for all Canadian.
We know that mental health is health. There's no differentiation, and we've made a commitment. And as part of these negotiations that are ongoing, mental health services are going to be increased. And I was very proud to see that in our regional hospital, the York, um, south Lake Rather, south Lake Regional Health Center, that there's just been a new.
A facility built. Um, Crystal Arden, who is the CEO there, has done an amazing job and it's good to see that the funding that this federal government is providing will allow provinces to deliver more, to do more of what is in their jurisdiction to do. And we also have the C M H A in our writing. Um, Rebecca Shields, um, the executive director there is doing amazing work and we're hoping to have one of the first mental health hubs in York region.
So mental health for all Canadians provided in a way that allows them to get the help they need when they need it, and also to provide this help to our healthcare professionals who are right now suffering from burnout and whose help we desperately need. So it's critical for the healthcare, the healthcare force around us that cares for us.
The Health Commission of Canada has found that the ability of the health workforce to undertake psychological self care can reduce the moral distress that's leading to burnout. This is an investment, an investment in our healthcare workers and in the system. That's why you even invested 28.2 million in projects to address PTs D and trauma in frontline and essential workers.
We also collaborated with Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions on a Wellness Together Canada Initiative to explore new targeted mental health resources for healthcare workers. Provides a dedicated text line for frontline workers that provides immediate access to support. In addition, frontline workers can also access free counseling and a range of self-guided programming on the portal anytime at their convenience.
And as we know for healthcare workers who work shifts, who work constantly, having that immediate access and having the access on online platforms is so important. I'd also like to talk about collaboration. Madam Speaker, the provision of healthcare in Canada is complex as everyone here in this house knows. Federal, provincial, territorial governments, as well as regulators, educators, and professional associations all have key roles to play. No one player can address this crisis alone. We have to work together, and we are doing that. We respect that healthcare is a provincial jurisdiction, but we also know it is our role to convene, to provide leadership, and to provide funding..
In November 1st, on November 1st, 2022, the government of Canada established a coalition for action for health workers. The Coalition is comprised of representatives from key groups, including nurses, doctors, personal support workers, colleges, university patients, and equity seeking communities.
Is focused on identifying approaches to drive Pan-Canadian action and progress on policy implementation. Informed by real world perspectives, the perspectives of all of these parties who have come together to discuss these important issues. Provincial and territorial governments are at the forefront of healthcare, responsible for designing, implementing, and managing third jurisdictional public healthcare programs.
As I said, while we provide leadership, convene governments and other stakeholders and provide support, funding support to the PT. On February 7th, 2023, the Prime Minister met with premieres to discuss the actions needed to improve the healthcare system while adapting to the changing needs of Canadians.
They also discussed shared health priorities to deliver results for Canadians and the importance of upholding the Canada Health Act to protect Canada's publicly funded healthcare system. The investment of almost 200 billion over the next 10 years will accelerate efforts already underway in provinces and territories as part of accessing this funding, provinces and territories are being asked to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated healthcare professionals. And Madam Speaker, I see my time is up. There's so much more I could say, but I just do wanna say that, you know, we're working with all of our partners to ensure that the additional money we're committing will bring the results that Canadians need and deserve. Madam Speaker, thank you so much.