Federal health committee agrees with CUPE: it's time to end violence against health care workers

Federal health committee agrees with CUPE: it’s time to end violence against health care workers

Jenna Brookfield, CUPE health and safety officer at the Standing Committee on HealthThis week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health released its report on the critical issue of violence against health care workers in Canada. The report strongly reflects the recommendations made by CUPE in our written submission and during testimony before the committee on June 4.

The report confirms CUPE’s view that workplace violence is under-reported in Canada, due to the misplaced acceptance of violence as a normal part of the job. It also agrees with CUPE that having safe workplaces for health care workers is essential to quality health care for all Canadians. And it also agrees that the time for action is now.

Out of the nine recommendations made by the committee, three directly reflect the positions brought to the committee by CUPE. These include recommendations to develop a pan-Canadian framework to prevent violence in health care settings, to develop a national public campaign to raise awareness about the violence faced by health care workers and to change the criminal code to help to deter violence against health care professionals.

CUPE supports four additional committee recommendations that call for federal funding to collect nationally standardized statistics, create an information hub that would provide information on best practices in violence prevention, and support research into workplace violence.

CUPE is pleased to see the committee recognize that long term care facilities and other health care infrastructure need upgrading to better meet the needs of patients and mitigate workplace violence. However, we are very concerned with the committee’s recommendation to fund these upgrades through public-private partnerships.

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