Singh: ERs are being forced to close across the country, Trudeau has duty to help fix now

As emergency rooms across the country are forced to shut their doors, the Liberal government has refused to meet with provinces and territories and continues to look for excuses and ways to blame others instead of getting to the table to find solutions to fix the problem. Today, Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on Justin Trudeau to show leadership with solutions to help health care workers, and the people they care for, now.

“Justin Trudeau promised to keep our healthcare system public, but because of negligence he has left it open to the very real threats of privatization. I believe Canada’s public healthcare system and workers are worth protecting,” said Singh. “No one should be denied the care they need because our system is broken. I also believe that as leaders, it’s our duty to show up and work to make things better. When it’s easy – and when it’s not.”

Just this weekend, fourteen emergency rooms in Ontario had to shut their doors, leaving people with nowhere to go or having to travel long distances to get urgent help. The most urgent problem facing our health care system is staffing. Experts and healthcare groups have presented solutions that can help Canadians get the care they need now.

In a letter to the Prime Minister (below), New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to:

  • Support provinces and territories in recognizing the credentials of internationally trained doctors, nurses, and specialists.
  • Create a national healthcare human resource data collection and coordination agency and provide pan-Canadian licensure for health professionals.
  • In Ontario alone, there are 15,000 international nurses waiting to be processed – processing these nurses would make an immediate difference in hospitals across the province.
“Ontarians and Canadians across the country want solutions to the nursing crisis. There is no one better to guide those solutions than nurses and health-care professionals,” says Cathryn Hoy, President of the Ontario Nurses Association. “We call on the federal government and each respective provincial government to heed our calls to action with the same urgency that nurses and health-care professionals had in responding to the pandemic. We need action now. Our patients can’t wait.”

“When the Liberals promised to bring us forward together, they left behind the healthcare professionals who we called heroes just a few months ago,” added Singh. “New Democrats stand in solidarity with healthcare workers across the country and with the patients they have dedicated their lives to helping. It’s time to do better – to be better – because people are counting on us to show leadership and defend our public healthcare system.”

August 03, 2022
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Prime Minister,
During the 2021 federal election campaign, you promised Canadians that you would improve and expand our public health care system. Almost a year later, people across the country are demanding that you keep this promise and start working to deliver better health care to Canadians.
As you know, emergency rooms, hospitals, and family practices are in crisis. Emergency rooms are having to close in every province and territory, leaving people with nowhere to go or having to travel long distances to get urgent help. More and more Canadians are waiting longer and longer for lifesaving care. Families are unable to get a family doctor in their community and are turning to overburdened emergency rooms for help. Seniors and their families continue to wait for promised home care and long-term care supports. Doctors, nurses, specialists, and other healthcare professionals are burnt out, working in a healthcare system that is stretched to its limits.
This crisis needs federal leadership – leadership that you and your government have failed to provide.
I recognize that, after months of delay, federal health transfers totalling $2 billion have been sent to the provinces and territories to help with surgical backlogs. But that is not enough. As our health care system is on the brink of failure, you have refused to meet with provinces and territories, and your government continues to look for excuses and ways to blame others instead of getting to the table to find solutions to fix the problem.
The most urgent problem facing our health care system is staffing. Experts and healthcare groups have presented solutions that can help Canadians get the care they need now. One solution is supporting provinces and territories in recognizing the credentials of internationally trained doctors, nurses, and specialists. This solution would help ease the short-term burden that our health care institutions are carrying. In Ontario alone, there are 15,000 international nurses waiting to be processed by the College of Nurses – processing these nurses would make an immediate difference in hospitals across the province.

Federal, provincial and territorial leaders came together to solve problems and get help to Canadians during the pandemic. I believe we can do this again to rescue our healthcare system. One way for your government to show leadership is to create a national healthcare human resource data collection and coordination agency and provide pan-Canadian licensure for health professionals. There are tens of thousands of trained health care workers in Canada right now ready to work – getting them licensed is the quickest way to help the current shortages.

I also want to remind you of the promises you made a year ago in the election campaign to address the critical staffing shortage in long-term care. You promised personal support workers a raise to $25 per hour. They are waiting. You also promised to hire 50,000 more personal support workers. To date, there has been minimal progress on these commitments.
Your promise to improve and expand our healthcare system has not been delivered – instead we have a system that is broken and smaller than it was before. When you promised to bring us forward together, you left behind the healthcare professionals who we called heroes just a few months ago. You promised to keep our healthcare system public, but because of negligence you have left it open to the very real threats of privatization.
I believe Canada’s public healthcare system is worth protecting. No one should be denied the care they need because our system is broken. I also believe that as leaders, it’s our duty to show up and work to make things better. When it’s easy – and when it’s not.
New Democrats stand in solidarity with healthcare workers across the country and with the patients they have dedicated their lives to helping. It’s time to do better – to be better – because people are counting on us to show leadership and defend our public healthcare system.
Sincerely,
Jagmeet Singh, MP
Burnaby South
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada
New Democratic Party

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