A Message from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on National Nursing Week


May 6, 2024 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Today, to kick off National Nursing Week, we recognize and celebrate all nurses who dedicate their professional lives to providing high-quality care for us and our loved ones. This year's theme “Changing Lives. Shaping Tomorrow.” highlights that while you help to save and change lives everyday, you are also helping to shape the future of our health system.

As Canada's largest group of regulated health professionals, with more than 450,000 members, you are critical to Canada's health care system. Your work in our hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as in community, primary care, and public health settings, is essential to support and maintain our health.

We recognize that many nurses continue to experience unprecedented work-related stress and burnout, as well as long hours and staffing shortages. This is leading some nurses to quit their jobs, and in some cases, leave the profession altogether.

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada's health care system by providing nurses with improved supports and resources. We are grateful for the dedication of Dr. Leigh Chapman in her role as Chief Nursing Officer of Canada, working alongside key nursing partners to help address issues nurses face.

The Government of Canada recently released the Nursing Retention Toolkit: Improving the Working Lives of Nurses in Canada. Dr. Chapman worked directly with the nursing community to develop the toolkit, drawing on evidence-based practices, the lived and living experiences of point-of-care nurses, and insights from nursing professionals at all career stages, including nursing students. The toolkit provides an opportunity for employers and health authorities to work together to develop standardized programs across health care organizations and systems in Canada. Created by and for nurses, the toolkit has been shared widely through the health care system, including with nurses, nurse employers, academic partners, and health authorities across the country.

We are also supporting nurses through various health workforce initiatives such as the establishment of Health Workforce Canada, a new independent organization that will work closely with the Canadian Institute for Health Information and all health care system stakeholders to improve the collection and sharing of health workforce data, to equip health employers, authorities, and governments across the country with better health workforce planning tools. The Government of Canada also funded the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing for an initiative supporting a new nurse residency program, in recognition of the need to better support new graduate nurses in their transition to the practice environment.

This week is also Mental Health Week. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that you are doing incredibly difficult work, often in a complex and stressful environment. Nurses are often synonymous with humanity, composure and competence but your work can lead to emotional hardship. Please remember that and be kind to yourselves. We encourage everyone to learn more about the mental health supports available to them, and we remain committed to increasing access to mental health supports across the country for everyone who needs them, including nurses.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, we recognize and thank all nurses across the country for your tremendous contribution in caring for others, and protecting the health of our communities from coast to coast to coast.

The Honourable Mark Holland, P.C., M.P.

The Honourable Ya'ara Saks, P.C., M.P.

Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Yuval Daniel
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

Page details

Date modified: