If elected, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is pledging to begin working with provinces immediately to deliver a single-payer, public pharmacare program for all Canadians.
The NDP say millions of people can’t afford to take the medications they need and must skip doses, cut their pills in half or even go without them. “We know it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Singh on the campaign trail Friday. “We know that we can actually work together to solve this problem.”
Negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies would help make prescription drugs free, saving an average family $550 a year, noted the NDP. When asked how he’d get countrywide buy-in for the plan, Singh said it would save money not just for people, but also for the provinces.
Meanwhile, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is promising to increase employment insurance benefits for ailing workers to 52 weeks from 26, a move that could help people battling life-threatening diseases like cancer.
“Canadian workers should know we have their backs if they become seriously ill,” said O’Toole while out on the federal election campaign trail on Friday. “I’m sure that we have all known someone — a friend, a relative — who has battled cancer. We all know how devastating it is. So we can all imagine if, on top of all that, you also had to worry that your EI benefits were running out and that you might not be able to put food on the table for your family.”