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November 30, 2020

Nurses respond to fall economic update: too many Canadian families still without vital medicines

Nurses welcome investments in long-term care, but too many Canadian families still without access to vital medicines

November 30, 2020 (OTTAWA, ON)With today’s fall economic update, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) welcomed the federal government’s announcement of new funding for long-term care, housing and pandemic response measures, along with supports for vulnerable communities and families with young children.

However, we were deeply disappointed that the Trudeau government once again failed to deliver on its commitment to implement a national, single-payer pharmacare program to help all Canadians access vital medicines. The government has repeatedly stated that it remains committed to pharmacare, while delivering little more than promises.

The fall economic update announced income supports to help individuals, families and businesses get back on their feet, but critically these efforts to strengthen our nation’s social safety don’t include equally necessary investments in pharmacare. The federal government’s own Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare concluded that a universal, single-payer pharmacare program is both a sound fiscal investment and a bulwark against future crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

As our overburdened health care system continues to grapple with a global pandemic, Canadians must be able to access the medicines they rely on to stay healthy, and provinces and territories need immediate financial assistance from the federal government in the form of increased Canada Health Transfer payments.

With these critical realities in mind, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions once again appeals to the federal government to act immediately to implement the first phase of pharmacare by providing $3.5 billion in funding for the development of an essential medicines list.

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