Canada’s Federal Election is on Monday October 21, 2019. ONA’s Nurses’ Vote campaign is a call-to-action to protect and strengthen public health care. As nurses and health-care professionals, we have tremendous power when we raise our voices and vote.
What’s at stake and why should I vote?
This election comes at a politically uncertain moment. Recent polls show that the Conservative Party – led by Andrew Scheer – either leads or is in a statistical tie with the governing Liberal Party. Already, Scheer’s discussions of a balanced budget within two years, threats to labour and union rights, and hostility towards spending on the public sector signal a difficult political landscape should the Conservative Party be elected to form the next federal government.
Nurses remember former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cuts to health-care funding. In Ontario, we are increasingly alarmed by Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford’s reckless shot-in-the dark approach to health-care reform. The situation is already bad enough – and Ontario’s population is aging and growing. This October, we need to elect a federal government that will strengthen and protect public health care.
Isn’t health care a provincial issue?
The federal government is a major funder of public health care. It is responsible for the Canada Health Transfer, Canada’s largest major transfer payment, which provides financial support to help provinces and territories pay for health care. The federal government also enforces the guiding principles of the Canada Health Act, the legislation that governs our universally accessible, publicly funded and not-for-profit health-care system.
For these reasons, all political parties must clearly communicate their plans for a strong public health-care system. Federal health-care transfer payments must be increased to ensure that all Canadians can access a robust, properly funded and staffed health-care system. The Canada Health Act must be enforced to stop the proliferation of private, for-profit delivery of health-care services. We need to demand more from politicians vying for our votes.
What specific issues is ONA focused on this election?
Universal pharmacare: For decades, nurses have been outspoken advocates for making prescription drugs more affordable. We support a national pharmacare program that is governed by the following principles: public, single payer administration; accessibility; comprehensiveness; universality; and, portable coverage.
Violence in the workplace and staffing: We support a pan-Canadian prevention strategy to address violence against nurses and health-care workers. This includes a health human resources plan to recruit and retain RN positions, targeted funding for violence-prevention programs and infrastructure, and research funding to better track violent incidents.
Long-Term Care: We support calls for the federal government to develop national care standards for home care and long-term care to be amended into the Canada Health Act. We have long advocated for the elimination and/or phasing out of all for-profit long-term care homes. Public funding flowing to long-term care homes must ensure a minimum care standard of four hours of nursing and personal care for residents.
In addition, we are on record as supporting public funding for a transition to a public home-care system in Ontario that eliminates the current competitive bidding system for contracts primarily delivered by the for-profit sector.
- Social determinants of health: ONA supports upstream policy approaches that improve the health and well-being of all Canadians, including: affordable child care and supportive housing, implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and tackling catastrophic climate change.
How do I get involved?
Check back here at NursesVote.ONA.org. You will find up-to-date information on events in your riding, all-candidates debates, and our phone banking schedule. We will also feature election-related materials that you can use in your workplace and with your colleagues to talk about the issues that matter to nurses and health professionals.
I need information on how to vote!
Elections Canada is your one-stop-shop for all information related to the 2019 Federal Election. Find your federal riding, voting hours and locations, registration and identification, key dates and everything in between. Visit www.elections.ca or call 1-800-463-6868 (toll free).
- Televised Election Debate (French): Wednesday, October 2
- Televised Election Debate (English): Monday, October 7
- Televised Election Debate (French): Thursday, October 10
- On-campus voting open: October 5 – 9, 2019. New for Election 2019: cast your vote at 115 campuses across Canada. You don't need to be a student to vote on a campus.
- Advance polls open: October 11 – 14, 2019. Your assigned polling station will be open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
- Election Day: Monday October 21, 2019. Your assigned polling station will be open from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.