An agreement reached between the federal Liberals and New Democrats this week will prioritize work on a dental-care program, national pharmacare and paid leave.
The deal will see the NDP support the Liberals on matters of confidence until 2025. The dental-care program and national pharmacare, which the NDP have long championed, had to get Liberal buy-in for the deal to work. The Liberals had also talked about pharmacare but it wasn’t in their most recent election platform. Plans to implement both were released in the details of the confidence and supply agreement.
It said the new dental-care program for low-income Canadians would start with those under age 12 this year, then expand to those under age 18, seniors and persons living with a disability in 2023, then full implementation by 2025. The program would be restricted to families with an income of less than $90,000 annually, with no co-pays for anyone under $70,000 annually in income.
The agreement also outlined that the two federal parties will continue progress toward a universal national pharmacare program by passing a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of 2023 and then tasking the National Drug Agency to develop a national formulary of essential medicines and bulk purchasing plan by the end of the agreement.
And finally, the Liberals and NDP intend to ensure that 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers — which were promised in August 2021 — begins as soon as possible in 2022.