CUPE was thrilled to see the NDP introduce legislation to finally bring in universal, public, single-payer pharmacare on Monday. After decades of studies, recommendations, and foot-dragging by the federal government, the NDP is showing federal leadership to make life-saving medication more affordable for Canadian working families.

“Too many working families in Canada are going broke and getting sick because they can’t afford their prescriptions,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “Canadians deserve truly universal health care that covers life-saving medication, and that’s why, as Canada’s largest union, CUPE is proud to support the NDP’s pharmacare bill. We hope all parties will work together to make it law in this Parliament.”

The NDP’s bill, introduced by MP Peter Julian, is based on the recommendations of the Liberal government’s 2019 pharmacare advisory panel chaired by Dr. Eric Hoskins. Under the NDP’s bill, the same principles that underpin Canada’s public health care model – like universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, and portability – would form the foundation for pharmacare too.

Pharmacare was one of CUPE’s top priority issues during the 2019 federal election, and the NDP, Green Party, and Liberals all promised measures to make medication more accessible over the course of the campaign. It is clear that the government has a strong mandate, and the votes in the House of Commons, to deliver pharmacare in this Parliament.

“We’ve had enough studies and we’ve had enough excuses – now is the time to make universal, public, single-payer pharmacare a reality,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “The Liberals were elected on a promise to bring in pharmacare, and the NDP has given them a practical roadmap to get there.”