Act Now! National Union urges support for the Canada Pharmacare Act, Bill C-213

The Canada Pharmacare Act, Bill C-213, represents a critical step forward towards full universal public pharmacare. The National  Union is urging all members of parliament to vote for this private members' bill.

Ottawa (24 Feb. 2021) -- The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is encouraging all members of parliament to support Bill C-213, the Canada Pharmacare Act. This historic bill is in second reading in the House of Commons and will be voted upon on February 24, 2021. Passing this bill would provide the foundation for universal public pharmacare in Canada.

Pandemic increases urgent need for pharmacare

NUPGE is encouraging members and the concerned public to send a letter directly to members of parliament using this link that has been set-up to support the bill.

The COVID-19 crisis has again proven the need for pharmacare in Canada. Almost 3 million Canadians are reported to have lost their jobs in 2020. Since most Canadians rely on coverage through private drug plans linked to their employment, losing a job means losing prescription drug coverage just when you need it most. This is unacceptable and Canada is the only country in the world which has universal health care that does not include prescription drug coverage. It is time to implement universal public pharmacare.

Canadians suffering from lack of pharmacare

NUPGE represents almost 400,000 members, many who work in health care. Our members know the critical importance of having access to prescription medicine. The cost of allowing 1 in 10 Canadians to not fill a prescription due to cost is compounded by the current system inflating drug costs leaving Canadians to pay the third highest price in the world. Billions of dollars are needlessly being wasted because we do not have pharmacare and patients are dying because of a lack of access to the medicines they need.

Private members' bill is a next step towards full pharmacare

Tabled as a private member’s bill by NDP MP Peter Julian, Bill C-213 follows the recommendations of the commission the Liberal government struck to advise how to implement universal pharmacare. The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare recommended an act to enshrine the principles and national standards of pharmcare in federal legislation. This is what Bill C-213 accomplishes, along with following the council’s recommendation to enshrine the principles of the Canada Health Act into federal pharmacare legislation.

The legislation allows for the necessary future negotiations between the federal government and the provinces and territories, but it is critical that a framework be in place before those negotiations are struck, and Bill C-213 outlines that framework.

Pharmacare makes sense!

Canadians have been waiting decades for our governments to deliver on the promise of universal pharmacare. A policy which saves Canadians billions in prescription drug costs and also expands coverage so that all Canadians are covered is a policy which makes both fiscal and moral sense. Now is the time for pharmacare and this is why NUPGE supports Bill C-213, the Canada Pharmacare Act.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE