Unifor celebrates advancement towards universal pharmacare

A group of people stand in front of Parliament Hill holding signs calling for pharmacare

February 29, 2024


OTTAWA – Unifor welcomes the federal government’s tabling of new pharmacare legislation that lays the groundwork towards the realization of a universal pharmacare program in Canada.

“Today’s historic victory is important for many reasons and especially during these challenging

economic times. Too many Canadians fall through the cracks and are not getting the medicine they need,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “We expect governments to step up and work actively to improve the lives of people, and this deal does just that – by expanding Canada’s universal public health care system.”

The Liberal/NDP pharmacare plan will cover specific contraception and diabetes prescription drugs and related medical equipment.

Unifor calls on federal and provincial governments to put politics aside and for the provinces of Alberta and Quebec to commit to dedicating any federal funds received towards pharmacare.

“This first step towards universal pharmacare will make a real difference in the lives of working people and their families,” said Payne. “We can’t forget that an expanded public health care will also contribute to Canada’s economic competitive advantage. We see the benefits of that routinely at the bargaining table.”

Since the Liberal Party’s 2019 campaign promise to establish pharmacare, there has been a significant journey toward its realization.

“This win was carved out through the tireless work of activists, coalition partners, labour unions and working people across the country. By championing a universal pharmacare plan, we are not just closing the gap in care but also ensuring that access to health care is a right for all Canadians,” said Payne.

Unifor has been advocating for a universal pharmacare plan through its Pharmacare Now campaign where thousands of Unifor members signed petitions demanding universal pharmacare . The union has also continuously met with members of parliament and sent a letter to the Prime Minister demanding he keep his promise to universal pharmacare. The union worked closely with the Canadian Health Coalition and its partners to pressure the federal government to deliver on its promise.

Unifor members have been actively engaged in the union’s Reproductive Justice Now campaign to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care.