A national, universal single-payer pharmacare plan would save lives and save Canadians billions in prescription costs. That’s the case CUPE made before the House of Commons Finance Committee this morning, as the committee makes its way through consultations for the 2019 federal budget.

“Canadian families and employers would see significant savings with national pharmacare,” said CUPE’s senior economist Angella MacEwen, who recently arrived at CUPE after six years as senior economist at the Canadian Labour Congress. “But we have to get the plan right. A program that just fills in the gaps will result in uneven coverage and won’t reduce costs.”

MacEwen also outlined CUPE’s policy proposals on child care to ensure universal, affordable child care for all Canadian families, as well as a dedicated Post-Secondary Transfer to the provinces to make post-secondary education more affordable. “We need a new paradigm for productivity, one that focuses on people,” said MacEwen. “Investment in quality public services increases productivity and quality of life for everyone.”

CUPE’s submission to the committee also includes proposals for:

  • Creating a national minimum wage of $15 per hour to reduce poverty and inequality
  • Converting the Canada Infrastructure Bank into a truly public institution that only uses low-cost public financing to build public infrastructure
  • Withdrawing Bill C-27, legislation that would allow employers to retroactively break their pension promises to Canadian workers
  • Improving tax fairness
  • Increasing productivity and competitiveness

Read CUPE’s pre-budget submission to the committee here.