CUPE is happy to see the introduction of the Pharmacare Act in parliament, which creates the framework for a universal single-payer pharmacare plan. This is the result of decades of activism by unions, New Democrats, and healthcare advocates alike. The legislation creates a path to expand coverage to everyone in Canada, for all types of essential medications, but truly universal coverage depends on ensuring the federal government commits to adequate funding.

We applaud the immediate coverage of diabetes and contraceptive medications, which will make a big difference for people who use those prescriptions. 1 in 10 Canadians aged 20 years and older has been diagnosed with diabetes and three quarters of them use medication to manage their condition. Type 2 diabetes medications and supplies can reach $10,000 annually per person. Public coverage of diabetes treatments will put thousands of dollars back in people’s pockets.  

Universal coverage and access to contraceptives is an important victory for bodily autonomy and sexual health, and will also save working families money.

The next step in guaranteeing universal access is ensuring the development of a national formulary and bulk purchasing plan that provides universal coverage and access. CUPE will continue to press the federal government as the Pharmacare Act develops to ensure this happens.