Canada’s unions applaud important step forward on universal pharmacare

October 20, 2017

Canada’s unions are applauding an important commitment made today by federal, provincial and territorial health ministers to work together on developing a universal prescription drug plan for all Canadians.

“Today’s commitment by Canada’s health ministers is an important step for pharmacare, and we look forward to working with all governments and stakeholders to develop a plan for Canadians as soon as possible,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

The commitment from health ministers came in a communiqué issued by the ministers at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Edmonton.

Yussuff was in Edmonton for a breakfast meeting for stakeholders hosted by the Alberta and Ontario health ministers and attended by Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. Other stakeholders included Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, and the Canadian Health Coalition.

Canada’s unions have always made negotiating health insurance for their members a priority, but believe anyone with a health card should have prescription drug coverage. This past Labour Day, the CLC launched a campaign calling for a national pharmacare plan.

Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care program that doesn’t include a universal prescription drug plan. Instead, our multiple-payer system has resulted in the second highest prescription drug costs in the world next to the United States. That’s left 3.5 million Canadians unable to afford their prescriptions.