October 6, 2023

Union nurses across the globe meet to tackle global nursing shortage

Silas: Working in solidarity across borders, nurses are a global force for a healthier future.

October 6, 2023 (CALIFORNIA, USA) – United around the fight for global health and social justice, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) joined union nurses from across the world for the 2023 Convention of Global Nurses United in California.

“Nurses are a global force for change, and we know that in the face of a global nursing crisis, our voices, care and leadership are as important as ever,” explained CFNU President Linda Silas. “Acting in solidarity across borders, we can build on our collective wins and create a healthier future everywhere.”

Silas joined union leaders from Brazil, Ireland, the Philippines and the United States for a panel discussion about the global fight nurses are leading to protect patients in times of crisis, valuing nurses and other health care workers, and advancing a vision of a future based on care.

In nursing, Silas emphasized that our global goals align with our goals in Canada: protecting and investing in the nursing profession; ensuring nurses have safe and healthy working conditions where their rights are respected; and advancing strategies to recruit and retain nurses so we can end workforce shortages.

“Just like one province cannot solve a national health crisis at the expense of another province, we can only address the global nursing shortage if governments work together,” said Silas.

Silas said internationally educated nurses should be a part of a sustainable recruitment process for Canada, where IENs account for 64% of the increase in registered nurses in 2022, up from 19% in 2021. This increase in IENs in Canada underscores the importance of ethical recruitment and fair treatment as critical to sustainability at home and across the world.

“IENs are an undeniable asset to our health workforce, making it all the more crucial to ensure recruitment is ethical and not drawing resources from poorer countries facing similar shortages,” said Silas. “IENs need and deserve respect and support every step of the way, and it cannot stop at recruitment. Retention and respect are necessities when nurses are moving across the world to provide care.”

“Sustainable recruitment and retention must be multi-pronged and include strengthening our nursing programs and supporting our students to better meet our nursing needs,” said Silas. “In a country as wealthy as Canada, we must take a leadership role and invest in sustainable solutions to the poor working conditions pushing nurses out of the profession, and set the stage for a global recovery.”


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing 250,000 frontline unionized nurses and nursing students in every sector of health care – from home care and LTC to community and acute care – and advocating on key priorities to strengthen public health care across the country.

For more information please contact Adella Khan, CFNU Communications, media@nursesunions.ca, 613 807-2942.