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MEDIA RELEASE: As clock ticks on pharmacare deadline, advocates rally outside Health Minister’s office


The Council of Canadians will deliver petitions signed by more than ten thousand Canadians calling for a national public drug plan

(Photos from the event will be uploaded here as of 4 PM ET)

Petition delivery outside of Holland's office


Ajax, Ontario – With time running out for the Liberals to pass pharmacare legislation before the end of the fall sitting, Canadians are urging the government not to abandon its promise. Members of the Council of Canadians and supporting organizations are gathering outside the constituency office of Health Minister Mark Holland at 3PM today to deliver more than ten thousand petition signatures calling for universal public pharmacare.

The rally, which is also supported by the Canadian Health Coalition and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, features a giant 6-foot-tall inflatable medicine bottle with a prescription for public pharmacare.

“Our message to Minister Holland is clear: Canadians want universal single-payer pharmacare, so that everyone can access the medication they need regardless of their ability to pay. Poll after poll has shown that a strong majority of people in Canada support this idea, and we’re here with thousands of petitions to drive that message home,” says Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

“It’s been six years since the Liberals first promised pharmacare, and now they’re likely to miss yet another deadline. These delays are frankly inexcusable. They’ve had a clear roadmap for how to implement pharmacare sitting on their desks for four years now. And meanwhile the cost-of-living crisis has kept medications out of reach for more and more people,” Barry-Shaw adds.

There are only four weeks left for the Liberals to meet this key deadline in their agreement with the NDP. But pharmacare legislation is still in draft form, and the latest draft has failed to lay the foundation for a specifically single-payer program.

“We’re concerned that the government is caving to industry lobbyists who want to keep a mixed private-public program in place. We know from our investigations that Health Canada has basically had an open door for lobbyists from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, while denying similar access to citizen groups,” says Donya Ziaee, a researcher with the Council of Canadians.

“If the government fails to deliver on a public pharmacare plan, we’ll know it’s because they’re more concerned with appeasing pharmaceutical giants than taking care of the people they’re supposed to represent,” Ziaee says.


For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Robin Tress, Director of Communications, The Council of Canadians
rtress@canadians.org, 902-223-8526