NDP fighting for universal public pharmacare for all

OTTAWA – MPs Peter Julian, Jenny Kwan & Don Davies held a national virtual e-rally on Bill C-213, the Canada Pharmacare Act. Over 600 participants attended the e-rally, which featured NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Linda Silas, President of Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Marie Clarke Walker, Vice -Chair of Canadian Health Coalition & Secretary-Treasurer of Canadian Labour Congress & Dr. Nima Machouf, Lecturer at École de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal.

Dozens of Canadian cities, towns and organizations representing millions of Canadians have endorsed this bill as momentum grows. Universal public drug coverage has been recommended by commissions, committees, and advisory councils dating as far back as the 1940s.

“Families are having to make the difficult decision between paying for their medication or paying for their food. People should be able to get their medication with their health card, not their credit card," said Singh. “The Liberals have been promising action on pharmacare for over 20 years. Families can’t afford to wait. It’s time for universal drug coverage now.”

Before the pandemic, one in every five Canadians wasn’t taking the medicine they needed because they couldn’t afford to pay for it. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, now millions of Canadians have lost their jobs and their workplace drug coverage. Meaning nowadays, one in every four Canadians are forced to skip their medications, and we’re seeing more and more that people are working contracts, are self-employed, or have jobs that just don't come with health benefits.

“Many Canadians are putting their health at risk because they don't have drug coverage and can't afford to pay out-of-pocket. No one should have to face the impossible choice between paying rent or taking the essential medication that their doctor has prescribed,” said MP Julian. “Bill C-213 will guarantee that every Canadian can get the medication they need.”

The Canada Pharmacare Act is reaching a crucial period in the legislative process. The second hour of debate and the first vote will be held in February 2021. This is an opportunity for the Trudeau government to work with the NDP to deliver the universal pharmacare plan people need by spring 2021.

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Canadians who want to obtain more information about Bill C-213 and to express their support, please visit https://www.peterjulian.ca/pharmacare 

Key Facts on the NDP’s Canada Pharmacare Act:
• The Canada Pharmacare Act is based on the recommendations of the Hoskins Advisory Council (along with other expert reports) and modelled on the Canada Health Act (CHA).
• Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act specifies the conditions that provincial and territorial prescription drug insurance programs must meet to receive federal funding. This includes tying federal funding to the core principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility.
• Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act doesn’t prescribe a specific fiscal arrangement between provincial, territorial and federal governments. Rather, it lets the federal government negotiate with the provinces and territories.
• Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act gives power to the Governor-in-Council to reduce or withhold contributions to provinces if they don’t respect the conditions of funding.
• The Canada Pharmacare Act also asks the Minister to establish, in collaboration with provinces, an independent drug agency.

Key Facts on the Hoskins Report:
• Recommends that the federal government enshrine the principles and national standards of pharmacare in federal legislation, separate and distinct from the Canada Health Act.
• Recommends that the five fundamental principles of Medicare, embodied in the Canada Health Act, also be enshrined in federal pharmacare legislation: universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability, and public administration.
• Proposes that this legislation come into force no later than January 1, 2022.

For more information, please contact:
NDP Media Centre: 613-222-2351 or [email protected]

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