March 29, 2023

Budget 2023 falls short on action to keep nurses from leaving profession

Silas: We will continue to push for new nurse-led measures to alleviate critical staff shortages and improve patient care

March 28, 2023 (OTTAWA, ON) – Frontline nurses expressed frustration with today’s Federal Budget, A Made in Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future, failed to invest in new measures to support nurses. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) President Linda Silas vowed to continue to press the federal government to work on initiatives to address the dire nursing shortages and threatening health care systems across the country.

“Increasing health transfers and new bilateral agreements were positive moves, and nurses across the country were actively supportive of those negotiations; but without new pan-Canadian initiatives to support nurses, our cherished public health care system remains at risk,” warned Silas.

In today’s budget speech Minister Chrystia Freeland said jobs have fully recovered from the impact of COVID-19, and credited the federally initiated Early Learning and Child Care agreements. Our health care system has not experienced this sort of recovery while nurse vacancies continue to soar across the country.

“As frontline nurses face unprecedented levels of stress and burnout, we will continue to press the federal government for urgent action to address the problems pushing nurses out the door.”

Silas explained that a new poll commissioned by the CFNU revealed that four out of 10 nurses are now considering leaving their job, mostly due to high workloads and poor staffing levels, while an alarming one in two younger, early-career nurses report symptoms of clinical burnout.

“Nurses are the backbone of our health care system, but far too many are now considering leaving the profession. We need more than words of appreciation for their tireless work – we need urgent action,” warned Silas. “The government missed an opportunity today. But it’s not too late for them to work with us and implement new measures that can make a real difference in the lives of nurses and the patients they care for.”

Canada’s nurses had pushed for the federal budget to defend public health care and invest in scaling up proven retention, return and recruitment initiatives, alongside a new national health workforce planning body to improve planning and decision-making at all levels of government, and new financial incentives to keep nurses in the profession.

“We know that when governments provide nurses with the support and resources they need, that means patients can get the care they deserve,” concluded Silas. “Canada’s frontline nurses will keep fighting for patients – and against public dollars being siphoned from the public system and put into the pockets of private investors.”

Canada’s nurses will continue to champion a universally accessible not-for-profit health care system that’s there for generations to come.


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information, please contact Adella Khan,, 613-807-2942.