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September 23, 2019

Liberals get universal pharmacare right, say nurses

Media Release

Liberals get universal pharmacare right, say nurses

September 23, 2019 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s nurses applaud today’s announcement by Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau that, if elected on October 21, his party will work with provinces and territories to implement a national universal prescription drug program that provides public coverage for everyone in Canada. Trudeau’s announcement, made this morning in Hamilton, Ontario, committed to the principles laid out in the final report of the expert federal pharmacare council, chaired by Dr. Eric Hoskins.

“Nurses are pleased to hear Trudeau and the Liberals have gotten pharmacare right,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. “Trudeau’s support of a universal, rather than limited, pharmacare program reveals he understands that this is the only way to save Canadians billions of dollars every year while saving lives every day.”

Trudeau’s announcement included a $6 billion funding commitment over four years to support national pharmacare, national standards on mental health and enhancing access to primary care.

“As nurses, we’ve been advocating for universal pharmacare for decades, because we see first-hand how our patients are suffering and how our system is squandering precious resources that could be reinvested in home care, long-term care, primary care, mental health and acute care,” said Silas. “Study after study has confirmed universal drug coverage is the most efficient, economical, and equitable option for Canada.”

The Liberals’ announcement endorsed the recommendations made by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, and sees it as a roadmap to negotiate with provinces and territories. The report was based on a year of study, national consultations and deliberation; and it called for an end to the current inefficient and inequitable patchwork of private and public coverage in favour of a single streamlined program for all.

“Access to prescription medications is a life-and-death issue – it should be guaranteed just like hospitals and doctors,” said Silas. “Nurses hope all voters will seize this historic opportunity and take pharmacare to the polls on October 21.”


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Ben René, CFNU Communications Officer,, 613-406-5962