purple image of woman holding a prescription bottle.

Statement from Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress on the news about NDP/Liberal negotiations on pharmacare:

February 23, 2024

“This is a BIG deal.

We are very encouraged by the news that the Liberals and New Democrats have reached a deal on pharmacare. This achievement represents the most significant enhancement to our healthcare system since the creation of public healthcare in Canada. It’s a milestone that will profoundly impact the lives of Canadians by making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

The urgency of this victory cannot be overstated. With nearly one million Canadians forced to sacrifice basic necessities like food and heating to afford medications, and another million resorting to borrowing money, the need for change was clear and immediate.

I have personally heard from workers unable to afford their diabetes medications, and parents faced with the heart-wrenching choice between feeding their children or providing them with essential life-saving medicines. These are the struggles many Canadians face daily – not the fake outrage that Mr. Poilievre is talking about these days. The introduction of a universal single-payer pharmacare program is not just a policy change; it’s a lifeline that will bring tangible improvements to the lives of countless individuals.

This program is also a significant financial relief for ordinary Canadians. Consider the costs of essential medications like Type 2 diabetes medications and supplies, which can reach $10,000 annually per person, or the annual expense of oral contraceptives for women at around $240. This pharmacare program is a step towards making life more affordable for all.

Furthermore, this initiative will lead to significant savings. Instead of a patchwork of medication insurance, workers can have the security of a universal and single-payer program. This means that workers and employers can redirect these savings towards better wages, stronger paychecks, or enhanced retirement savings.

This achievement is a testament to the power of collective effort and advocacy. It’s a big deal, made possible by the leverage exercised by the NDP in this parliament. Canadian workers have fought tirelessly for this program for decades, and it is through the NDP’s commitment to prioritizing the needs of real people in this minority parliament that we have reached this groundbreaking moment.

Today, we celebrate this monumental victory, a testament to what we can achieve when we stand united for the health and well-being of all Canadians.”

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