PSAC convention delegates rally to support health care

Delegates to PSAC’s National Triennial Convention took to the streets today to send a clear message: health care is a priority issue in the coming federal election, and a public service worth protecting. They were joined by the National Federation of Nurses Union and Service Employees International Union – Health Care. Together with PSAC, these three national unions represent over 300,000 health care workers. 

“Health care is a public service we all rely on, but our health care system has been eroded by right-wing governments across this country, and will only worsen under a potential federal Conservative government,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC National President-elect. “With every cut, we see more good jobs being privatized, more health care workers seeing their working conditions clawed back, and more worried parents and caretakers having to wait hours in the emergency room to care for their loved ones.” 

Our universal health care system should be a point of pride for Canadians. For decades, other countries, particularly our neighbours to the south, viewed our health care system with envy and admiration. But in recent years, we have witnessed a steady decline in government support and funding pushing our once-revered health care system to the brink of collapse. 

“The last few years have been beyond difficult for health care workers, and our governments have responded to our struggles by diverting funds to for-profit, private health care at the expense of our public system,” said Josée-Anne Spirito, PSAC Regional Executive Vice President, North. “Only if our governments choose to invest in public health care will we have the stability essential to deliver quality care in our communities, to make sure workers are treated fairly, and to ensure patients are cared for with dignity. Now is the time for Canadians – from coast to coast to coast – to stand together against private health care.” 

“Nobody wants to see the life-saving support they or their family rely on threatened,” said PSAC member and health care advocate Kelly Bollong-Fredericks. “Across the country, public health care workers are being replaced with private, for-profit workers, delaying timely, efficient, and effective care. We must demand that our governments end the dangerous privatization of health care.” 

PSAC represents more than 4,000 health care workers, the majority in the three northern territories, with health care workers all across the country. These workers are on the frontlines delivering primary care, working in laboratories and offices, enforcing public health measures, and approving new medications and treatments for patients.  

“Nurses are the backbone of our public health care system, and nursing shortages are impacting everyone in Canada,” said Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions National President Linda Silas.“We must push our decision-makers to invest in our public health care system, not private care.” 

“We need to recruit more health care workers, but most importantly, we need urgent investments in retention programs because poor working conditions are driving experienced staff out of the profession,” said Sharleen Stewart, President of Service Employees International Union Healthcare. “Investments into frontline workers are investments in patient care. Failure to do so opens the door to privatization which means longer wait-times and higher costs for Canadians.” 

We will not back down while our public health care system continues to be decimated, and our families and loved ones are being impacted. Now we find ourselves at a crossroads.  PSAC members – and all workers – are encouraged to cast their votes to protect accessible, single-payer, universal health care for all Canadians in the next federal election.  


May 30, 2024