UFCW Canada supports federal advisory council’s call for universal pharmacare system

Toronto – June 14, 2019 – UFCW Canada, the country’s leading private sector union, welcomes the recommendations of the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare calling for a universal, single-payer pharmacare program that would make prescription drug coverage part of Canada’s publicly-funded health care system.

The advisory council was created by the federal government in Budget 2018 and was tasked with advising the government on how best to implement national pharmacare.

In its report, the council recommends that the federal government establish a new national drug agency that would create a list of approved medicines to be covered under Canada’s universal pharmacare program. The federal and provincial governments would then invest up to $15 billion annually to pay for approved drugs and ensure that co-pays are limited to $2 for essential medicines and $5 for other drugs, with exemptions for low-income Canadians.

“UFCW Canada strongly supports the advisory council’s call for a universal, single-payer, publicly-funded pharmacare program, as our union believes that pharmacare is essential to strengthening our public health care system,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada.

“For too long, Canadian workers and their families have struggled to pay for their medicines, and today Canada is one of the most expensive places to purchase prescription drugs. We need a universal pharmacare system to bring down the cost of drugs and ensure that all Canadians have access to their medicines,” the UFCW leader adds.

“That is why our union will be calling on the government to follow through on the advisory council’s recommendations and make publicly-funded prescription drug coverage part of the Canadian health care system.”

Representing over 250,000 members across Canada, UFCW has long advocated for universal public pharmacare through various campaigns, lobbying activities, and advocacy efforts.