Canadian Nurses Association applauds removal of critical federal legislative barriers to nurse practitioners
Ottawa, March 22, 2017 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) today welcomed the investments in health outlined by the federal government in Budget 2017.
CNA and Canada’s nurse practitioners (NPs) welcome the new budget’s announcement which comprehensively enables NPs to certify patients for the federal Disability Tax Credit. With this modernization of legislation, NPs are now permitted to certify for all types of impairments that are within the scope of their practice. “In partnership with the Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses and the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario, we have advocated for these changes for many years. This measure, which takes effect as of Budget Day, is a long-awaited breakthrough for patients and NPs alike, and sets the precedent for similar improvements to other pieces of federal legislation,” said CNA president Barb Shellian.
Through this change, NPs working under federal jurisdiction will be eligible to provide more of the patient-care services they are educated, regulated and licensed to deliver. This update of federal legislation will maintain safe care, reduce costs to taxpayers and improve access to health services, particularly for Canadians living in rural and remote locations, where NPs are often the sole primary care providers.
CNA welcomes the $6 billion in federal investments over 10 years dedicated to home care in provinces and territories that have signed bilateral funding agreements. CNA advocates for a shift in health service delivery models, from a focus on acute care to more cost-effective community-based care. “Federal announcements build much-needed momentum as they commit to long-term sustainable funding for home care. Additionally, the agreements ensure improved public accountability for federal investments through the requirement to report on how funds improve access to home-based care for Canadians,” said Shellian. “We expect the accountability requirements will ultimately lead to more and better home care across Canada.”
These investments in home care follow the work done through a coalition led by CNA, in partnership with the Canadian Home Care Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. “Our Better Home Care in Canada: A National Action Plan promotes innovation based on three key themes: patient-centred care, integrated community-based care and sustainable care,” added Shellian. “This budget starts us along the path to providing universally-accessible, high-quality, home care for Canadians.”
Budget 2017 also simplifies existing tax measures for family caregivers. Three separate caregiver credits have been replaced with a new, single Canada Caregiver Credit which will better support those who need it the most and extend tax relief to some caregivers who may not have previously qualified.
More than 8.1 million Canadians perform caregiving duties, and over six million also juggle employment responsibilities. “We are very pleased to see changes to the tax regime that will increase access to tax credits and reduce some of the burden on caregivers,” said Shellian.
CNA is also a vocal proponent of improvements to health and social services for Indigenous populations. By announcing $828 million over 5 years to improve the health outcomes of First Nations and Inuit, Budget 2017 will enable more timely and comprehensive access to medical care—including mental health services and harm reduction measures. “These critical investments have the potential to greatly improve health and health services for Indigenous communities. CNA heartily welcomes these commitments to address current, persistent inequalities.”
Background: Pre-budget submission