Millions of families cannot afford to take the medications they need because they have no employer-provided drug coverage.
- The number of uninsured people forced to skip their medications is growing as more people work on contract, are self-employed, or in jobs that just don’t come with health benefits.
- Too many seniors are putting their health at risk because they don’t have drug coverage and can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket.
- Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t cover medication. And even though experts say we could have better health care, lower costs, and savings for families, pharmacare has been stalled for years.
- Pharmacare for all will save families more than $500 a year – whether they have insurance or not – and make sure every Canadian can fill their prescription with no cost and no worry.
We will begin working with the provinces right away to target a late 2020 start date, with an annual federal investment of $10 billion.
- That means access to necessary medicines in the same way that we have access to medical and hospital care – free at the point of care, financed by a public insurance system that covers everyone.
- It means that you’ll need your health card – not your credit card – at the pharmacy till. And it puts an end to costly co-payments, deductibles, and premiums that cost families hundreds and even thousands a year. Our plan will guarantee that every Canadian can get the medication they need.
- It will mean big savings for employers who currently pay for employee benefits, helping to reward good employers and boost economic growth. It will also cost our system less overall, as a result of pooling the purchasing power of the entire country.
- Most importantly, our pharmacare plan will mean a healthier Canada where no one has to make the impossible choice between the medicine they need and other essentials, like rent and food.
More information on our universal pharmacare commitment can be found on page 12
Head to Toe Health Coverage
Canada's health care system today reflects the health care needs of the 1950s.
- One in three Canadians has no dental insurance, over six million people don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to.
- Too many people are forced to go without the care they need, until the pain is so severe that they are forced to seek relief in hospital emergency rooms.
New Democrats believe that over the next decade, Canadians need a historic expansion of the services covered under our national healthcare system.
- A New Democrat government will work together with provincial partners, health professionals and dentists to develop a roadmap to including dental care in the Canada Health Act.
- Mental health support is an enormous unmet need across the country; a third of Canadians struggling with mental health challenges who have expressed a need for counselling weren’t able to get it.
- Eye check-ups are important for preventing vision loss and identifying other health issues – yet many, particularly children and seniors, don’t get regular eye care, or struggle to pay for the glasses that they need to function.
- Mental health care should be available at no cost for people who need it, and everyone should be able to get eye care and hearing care.
- The long-term path to providing public coverage for these services will require strong federal re-investment in our health system, with the knowledge that investing in preventative health services will ultimately save money and give Canadians the care they need to live healthy, full lives.
More information on our expanding medicare commitment can be found on page 58
The Opioid Crisis
Across the country, eleven Canadians die every day from opioid-related causes.
- Tens of thousands of families have tragically lost parents, partners, siblings, and children to the out-of-control opioid crisis.
- New Democrats believe that there is much more we can do to save lives and support those struggling with opioids.
In government, we will declare a public health emergency and commit to working with all levels of government, experts and Canadians to end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction, so that people struggling with addiction can get the help they need without fear of arrest, while getting tough on the real criminals - those who traffic in and profit from illegal drugs.
- We’ll work with the provinces to support overdose prevention sites and expand access to treatment on demand for people struggling with addiction.
- We will also launch an investigation into the role drug companies may have played in fuelling the opioid crisis, and seek meaningful financial compensation from them for the public costs of this crisis.
More information on our opioid commitment can be found on page 60
Long Term Care
Seniors are spending years without the long-term care they need now.
- Family caregivers feel overwhelmed as they carry an enormous amount of work on their shoulders.
- People are stuck waiting for home care.
It’s time to work with the provinces and territories to take a new approach to addressing the complex health care needs of our aging population.
- New Democrats believe that families need access to quality home care and long-term care no matter where they live.
- We will work collaboratively with patients, caregivers, and provincial and territorial governments to develop national care standards for home care and long-term care that will be amended into the Canada Health Act.
- By doing so, a New Democrat government would legally protect access to home care and long-term care services, and ensure a consistent quality of care across the country.
- This process will include determining a core basket of home care services that will be available and covered by provincial insurance plans, and setting minimum national care standards for long-term care residents.
- We will also work with the provinces to develop and support violence prevention strategies to protect front-line staff and ensure a safe working environment.
More information on our long term care commitment can be found on page 62
A recent UNICEF report ranked Canada 37th out of 41 countries in terms of access to nutritious food for children – and despite the urgency, the Liberal government has failed to improve access to healthy food for kids.
New Democrats will partner with provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to work towards a national school nutrition program that will give every child in Canada access to healthy food, and the food literacy skills to make healthy choices for life.
- We know that supporting our local food systems is essential to ensuring that Canadians have access to healthy, affordable food. We’ll work to connect Canadians to farmers with initiatives like local food hubs, community supported agriculture, and networks to increase the amount of food that is sold, processed, and consumed in local and regional markets.
- New Democrats will also work together with farmers and food producers to develop a National Food Policy, making our food systems stronger all across the country – including food labelling and traceability, so that Canadians can be confident in what they’re purchasing to put on their family’s plate.
- We’ll also work to put in place a food waste strategy to reduce the huge amounts of food that currently go to waste in Canada.
More information on our healthy food commitment can be found on page 61