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Pharmacare: A generational step forward in Canadian health care

June 20, 2024

The historic agreement on pharmacare between the federal Liberal government and the New Democrats marks a monumental step forward in Canadian health care. The introduction of pharmacare legislation (Bill C-64 – An Act respecting pharmacare) in the House of Commons gives a beacon of hope to millions of people across the country.

“This is an important step in delivering real help to people who need it,” said Marty Warren, USW National Director “For too long, too many Canadians have been forced to make the heartbreaking choice between access to essential medicines and meeting other basic needs, like food, shelter and heat. No one should have to choose between their health and their financial stability.”

The alarming number of people who have to make major sacrifices or borrow money to be able to afford their medication testifies to the pressing need for such a program. Canadians are currently saddled with the exorbitant costs associated with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or the recurring expense of essential drugs. A pharmacare program promises to eliminate these barriers, making health care truly accessible to the entire population.

The benefits of this program extend beyond individual households and will have positive repercussions on a wider scale. By consolidating drug coverage under a universal, single-payer program, both workers and employers will benefit from its establishment.

“As we celebrate this historic moment, let’s recognize the collective efforts that have brought us here,” said Warren. “The implementation of a pharmacare program is well on its way to becoming a generational change and a means of improving the quality of life for the population as a whole.”

This article appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of USW@Work magazine.

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