Making Pharmacare Part of Canada’s Universal Healthcare System is Long Overdue

“Embarrassingly, Canada (is) the only country in the world to have a “universal” healthcare system that doesn’t include pharmcare.”

Find Out Below How You Can Urge Your Members of Parliament to Approve a Pharmacare Plan for all Canadians Now

A Call-Out from the Broadbent Institute, a Canada-wide public advocacy group

Posted February 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Fulfilling Tommy Douglas’ Vision Of Medicare

A stamp issued by Canada Post in 2012 of the late federal NDP leader Tommy Douglas, known to many across the contry as the ‘Father of Medicare’. No fault to him, the Liberal government of the day, in the 1960s, passed a universal health care plan that did not include the coverage of pharmaceutical drugs and dental care. Yet countries in Europe include that coverage in their plans.

The unfinished business of medicare in Canada has resulted in a healthcare system that provides free access to primary care (doctor and hospital visits), but excludes universal access to prescription medication.

Embarrassingly, this makes Canada the only country in the world to have a “universal” healthcare system that doesn’t include pharmacare, a key component not only in keeping people healthy but also in ensuring people don’t face undue financial hardship due to a lack of benefits and high costs of prescription drugs.

The federal government’s 2020 Speech from the Throne <>, stated that the government is ready to move forward with any province who is ready and willing to implement pharmacare.


On February 24th, Bill C-213, The Enact the Canada Pharmacare Act <>, introduced by MP, Peter Julian, will have its second reading in Parliament. Here are a few ways you can take action and support it:

In a global pandemic and ongoing health crisis that has seen unprecedented job loss and an economic downturn, access to universal, single-payer prescription drug coverage is becoming the difference between life and death.

As we approach the 2021 budget, the federal government must finally take serious action.


The implementation of pharmacare must include the following government actions:

  •   – Legislation enshrining the right to pharmacare in the Canada Health Act
  •   – Upfront funding commitments outlined in the budget for provinces ready to move forward on implementation
  • – A BC/federal government inaugural funding agreement and partnership for a made in BC plan.

In line with access to our healthcare system, pharmacare must reflect the following principles: public administration by the government; comprehensive coverage of a wide range of drugs; be made universally available to everyone; and be portable and accessible to Canadians regardless of where they are in the country.


– “1.6 million Canadians … in 2016 — didn’t fill those prescriptions, skipped doses, or otherwise didn’t take the medicine because they couldn’t pay for it”, CBC News <>, 2018

  – “9 in 10 Canadians support a national pharmacare plan like Bill C-213” – Angus Reid Institute <>, 2020

  – “One-in-four Canadian households struggle to fill needed prescriptions” Angus Reid Institute <>, 2020

  – “1.31 million-1.58 million Canadians reduced spending on other areas of their budgets owing to drug costs” – Canadian Medical Association Journal <>, 2018

  • All the best, Brittany Andrew, Senior Policy and Research Analyst, Broadbent Institute

Former federal NDP leader in Canada, Ed Broadbent.

About the Broadbent Institute – The Broadbent Institute is Canada’s leading progressive, independent organization championing change through the promotion of democracy, equality, and sustainability and the training of a new generation of leaders.

We are proud of Canada’s tradition as a diverse, fair, just, and inclusive society. These values matter to us today and they matter to our future. The vast majority of Canadians share these progressive values.

At the Broadbent Institute, we believe that the progressive principles and collective efforts that have made us who we are as a country can inform new ways of thinking and new approaches to government that equip us to address the challenges facing Canadians.

For more information on the Broadbent Institute, click on – .

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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