Health Coalition members demand progress on pharmacare in Fiscal Update and Budget 2022
Canadian Health Coalition members, along with twenty allied organizations and public health care experts, have written to Prime Minister Trudeau and his key ministers, including Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, seeking urgent financing for a universal, single-payer public pharmacare program in the upcoming Fiscal Update and Budget 2022.
“Time is running out for the Liberal government to meet its commitment to lower drug costs for Canadians,” said Pauline Worsfold, RN, Chairperson of the Canadian Health Coalition. “We are merely weeks away from the target date of January 1, 2022 when the government was to launch pharmacare, as prescribed by the 2019 Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, also known as the Hoskins Report.”
The letter states, “The Economic and Fiscal Update and Budget 2022 are opportunities to demonstrate in a concrete way that the Liberal government will keep its promise on pharmacare. Canadians hope to see a firm financial commitment of – at a minimum – $3.5 billion towards essential medicines coverage as recommended by the Advisory Council.”
In sending the letter on December 7, 2021, signatories expressed concerns that the government’s delay in meeting its commitment is putting the needs of Canadians behind the interests of profitable corporations.
“We have experienced too many missed opportunities and are witnessing too many people being left behind. With family budgets stretched so thin, more and more Canadians are being forced to make impossible choices between buying groceries or paying for their medication,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske.
“It’s time for the federal government to stop putting the profits of big pharma and insurance companies before the millions of Canadians who struggle to afford the drugs they need,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
Pauline Worsfold, RN, Chairperson, Canadian Health Coalition
Beatrice Bruske, President, Canadian Labour Congress
Jerry Dias, President, Unifor
Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
Mark Hancock, National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Christina Warner, Co-Executive Director, Council of Canadians
Larry Brown, President, The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, USW
Dr. Melanie Bechard, Chair, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Anita Patil Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade
Diane Wood, President, BC Federation of Retired Union Members (BC FORUM)
Bill Chedore, National President, Congress of Union Retirees of Canada
Jen Hassum, Executive Director, Broadbent Institute
Scott Wolfe, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres
Sandra Azocar, Executive Director, Friends of Medicare (Alberta)
Thomas Linner, Provincial Director, Manitoba Health Coalition
Juliet Bushi, Provincial Director, Saskatchewan Health Coalition
Sophie Verdon, Director, Coalition solidarité santé (Québec)
Joel Lexchin, Professor Emeritus, York University
Marc-André Gagnon, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University
Steve Morgan, PhD, Professor, School of Population and Public Health Founder, Pharmacare 2020 University of British Columbia