Government unlikely to fulfill promise for Pharmacare Act by year’s end
There are fewer than four weeks of sitting days left in the Parliamentary Calendar – this means time has run out for the government to introduce and pass the Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of the year as promised in the deal with the NDP.
As reported by CTV, Health Minister Mark Holland acknowledged the tight timeline last week to meet the deadline, but still hopes to introduce the Canada Pharmacare Act before the end of the year, if not pass it.
“We have confidence there is going to be some agreement, but let’s not rush to failure… Let’s take the time and make sure we get a good deal, a good arrangement for pharmacare now so that we can move forward into the future. If we make mistakes by trying to rush it, it will be much more difficult to make changes in the future.”Steven Staples, National Director of Policy and Advocacy of the Canadian Health Coalition, on CTV News, November 15, 2023
The NDP seems willing to compromise on the end-of-the-year deadline, as long as there is progress being made in the negotiations of the Act.
“I don’t think we’re gonna get to the point where we need to get on pharmacare by next week, so that’s going to be an ongoing negotiation,” Singh said of the pharmacare timeline. “We’ve seen a first draft [of the Act] and we made it very clear that first job was insufficient for our support,” Singh said. “And so the government’s taking that back and are working on some amendments.”
Despite the initial misfire by the Liberals, both sides are sounding positive about the ongoing talks about the text of the Canada Pharmacare Act.
The Canadian Health Coalition met with Minister Holland’s senior staff this week, and their message was positive and hopeful they can find a solution acceptable to the NDP.
Despite the delay, groups supporting national universal pharmacare continue to take action. Health Coalition member group the Council of Canadians organized an action outside of Minister Holland’s constituency office in Ajax on Friday, where I joined with Council chapter members to present a pharmacare petition signed by over 1,500 Canadian Health Coalition supporters, in addition to more than 10,000 signatures collected by the Council of Canadians.
One of our newest health coalition members, Citizens for Public Justice, has organized a special Parliamentarian Breakfast in Ottawa this week which will be attended by over a dozen MPs and senators. I will be speaking about the perils of health care privatization, and how a national universal pharmacare program can help Canadians address the growing challenges of affordability in these challenging times.