The Canadian Labour Congress’ wish list for the upcoming 2019 federal budget includes universal national pharmacare and pensions and retirement security.
For pharmacare, the group is calling on the federal government to implement a national plan.
“Budget 2019 must outline the federal government’s plan and budget future expenditures to implement a universal, single-payer pharmacare program in Canada,” the statement read. “The interim report from the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare called on the government to create a new, arms-length, national drug agency to develop and manage a comprehensive national drug formulary and conduct negotiations with drug manufacturers. Budget 2019 should allocate money for this purpose.”
Where pensions are concerned, the organization highlighted the high-profile cases of bankruptcy, such as Sears Canada Inc., which have left pension members wondering about their retirement plans. “The federal government must take steps to ensure workers who have paid for pensions throughout their working lifetime are not penalized if their employer enters insolvency,” noted the statement.
The congress suggested the budget includes reforms to current bankruptcy proceedings to ensure the protected status of retirees, as well as introducing mandatory pension insurance and upping monitoring and regulation of companies with underfunded defined benefit plans.
Also on the wish list was a call to prioritize high-quality public child care with a view towards addressing the wage gap. “Budget 2017 committed $7.5 billion over 11 years to create more child-care spaces, but the government can and should expand this investment,” said the organization.