February 27, 2024

RELEASE: Nurses rally against privatization of healthcare, call on Auditor General to investigate


February 27, 2024

Nurses rally against privatization of healthcare, call on Auditor General to investigate

St. John’s, NL – Nurses, healthcare workers, and members of the public gathered on the steps of the Confederation Building at noon today to protest the continued privatization of healthcare. The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNU) called on the Auditor General to investigate the millions of dollars being spent by government in a sole sourced contract.

“Despite pouring $36M into the pockets of private nursing agencies in less than five months, access to healthcare has not improved for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” said Yvette Coffey, RNU President. “What we have instead is an erosion of the public’s confidence in government’s delivery of healthcare, a tremendous blow to the morale of healthcare workers, and an exodus of workers leaving our healthcare system.”

A recent investigative report by The Globe and Mail shed light on the exorbitant amounts of money government was paying to a single agency.

“This company was paid millions of dollars for things like meals that no one received, travel for pets, apartment and vehicle rentals, furniture and air fryers, training for their staff nurses, and more,” explained Coffey.

This was in addition to the high hourly rates the company was charging to have a nurse available.

“This private agency was being paid over $300 an hour for a nurse,” said Coffey, “this is six times more than what it would cost to employ a nurse in the public system. How is this a good investment?”

During the rally RNU made two demands. First it demanded accountability from the government who is ultimately responsible for how public dollars are spent – dollars that were to improve access to public health care. Secondly, it demanded an investigation by the Auditor General into the details of the contract and how public dollars were spent.


The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador represents more than 5,900 registered nurses and nurse practitioners working in acute care, long-term care, community, education, and research.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jonathan Hamel
Communications Specialist
Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador
Tel:        (709) 691-6890
Email: jhamel@rnunl.ca