Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), and College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) jointly commend the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) for their report titled Addressing Canada’s Health Workforce Crisis

Representing Canada’s nurses and physicians, the three organizations have previously come together to deliver a series of recommendations to the HESA focusing on both short-term and long-term solutions to the current workforce crisis.

The health care workforce is under significant strain as the growing complexity of care, rising administrative burden and insufficient supports make their work increasingly challenging. Because of this strain, people in Canada are not equitably receiving the care they need when, where and how they need it. The report lists many constructive recommendations, including moving toward a national licensure for physicians, optimizing scopes of practice for health professionals, educating more health workers in Canada, investing in collaborative teams and reducing administrative burden present in the system.

Multiple report recommendations relate to bolstering the system with internationally trained health professionals. While it is certainly a component of the solution, it is imperative that the primary focus of federal, provincial and territorial government investment is creating a workable and effective system for everyone, rather than bringing more workers into a system that is in need of significant repair and is likely to wear them out along with their Canadian-trained colleagues.

With the important and welcome recent announcement of the federal investment in health, there are resources available to enact the recommendations of this report. The new $25-billion investment into shared areas of priority is strongly related to the accessibility of family health services and retaining health workers in the system, both covered extensively in the HESA report.

In order to achieve meaningful improvement for the hard-working health professionals in Canada, as well as the patients they serve, it is imperative that the report’s recommendations are transferred into timely and tangible action that leads to real change in an expedient and decisive way.

“Family physicians are working hard at the forefront of health care and acutely feel the need for additional support and resources to modernize the system. We agree with the recommendations of the report – increased family medicine training spots, reduced administrative burden, better data to form a strategy are all pressing concerns. What we need now is action that is quick and substantive.” - Dr. Lawrence Loh, CFPC Executive Director and CEO 

“We are pleased that the Standing Committee on Health has heard the recommendations of frontline providers and that the committee recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to address health workforce challenges. We firmly support the Committee’s recommendations, including implementing pan-Canadian licensure for health professionals; improving the collection, sharing and use of health workforce data; and the creation of a pan-Canadian health human resource strategy. We urge the federal, provincial and territorial governments to collaborate on implementing the Standing Committee on Health’s recommendations.” - Dr. Alika Lafontaine, President, Canadian Medical Association

“CNA is pleased with the recommendations put forward by the HESA Committee, in particular the alignment with our joint HHR [Health Human Resources] Road Map. As the largest group of health care providers, nurses are in urgent need of concrete action to retain, return and recruit into a safe and sustainable health care system. The health workforce across Canada is in dire need of support, innovation, and planning, in order to address the current crisis and mitigate future challenges, such as optimizing nurses in primary care. We call upon all levels of government to urgently implement these actions, as our health care system can’t wait.” - Tim Guest, CEO, Canadian Nurses Association

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