June 6, 2023

RNUNL President Yvette Coffey Honored at National Convention; Receives Prestigious Bread & Roses Award


June 6, 2023

Charlottetown, PE – At the 2023 Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) Biennial Convention, held in PEI this week, the President of the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNUNL) was named the recipient of the prestigious “Bread and Roses” award.

“Yvette led RNUNL through two of the most tumultuous years in the history of Canada’s nursing profession and did so with confidence and grace,” said Linda Silas, President of CFNU. “She’s a fierce advocate of publicly funded and publicly delivered health care, and an enormous asset to nurses.”

Yvette began working as a shop steward in 1990 and since then has progressed through union leadership as branch president, board member, and vice president. In 2021 Yvette was elected President of the RNUNL.

“This award is given to a CFNU member who is contributing or has actively contributed to unionism on a provincial and/or national basis,” explained Mike Fagan, VP of RNUNL.  “We are proud of the work Yvette has accomplished during the last 33 years. And in recent years acting as RNU President, Yvette has continued to work tirelessly to protect and fight for our members.”

Yvette Coffey has always been an active and strong voice for nurses nationally and in NL. Today, her dedication and commitments were recognized with the esteemed Bread and Roses Award.

“This has been such an honor and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive this award,” said Yvette Coffey. “Everything I do is with our membership in mind and none of it would be possible without the amazing team I have the privilege of working with every day at the RNUNL. Our team of employees, board members, volunteers, and members are the backbone of all we do, and I am so pleased to share this honor with them.”

Across the country, health care has been in crises with nursing shortages and countless systemic challenges. Nurses are routinely being called on to give more and more while they wait for governments to provide safe work, fair compensation, and respectful and well-managed workplaces.

In 2022, Yvette successfully lobbied government to hold a Think Tank to come up with solutions to improve retention and recruitment. The Think Tank took place on April 4-5. It was the first time everyone – from the frontline all the way to CEOs– gathered in this format to discuss the challenges facing the nursing profession

Among other noteworthy accomplishments made possible by Yvette’s advocacy work are:

  • 25% increase in seats at the Schools of Nursing in NL;
  • Establishment of a new government office for health professional recruitment and retention;
  • Workforce Research completed jointly with the provincial government;
  • Government commitment to establish NP-led clinics.

An inspiring and motivational leader, Yvette believes we are stronger when we work together. Her attitude and commitment have won her respect provincially and nationally. This award is evidence of her strong leadership.


Media Contact:

Erin Curran
(709) 325-7193