The Liberal Party of Canada is set to form a minority government after Tuesday’s federal election when it won 157 out of 338 seats.

While the party made few health-care and pension promises in its election platform, the win puts a spotlight on the Liberals’ 2019 budget promises.

Most notably, following the release of the final expert panel’s report on pharmacare in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was committed to implementing a national program. The report recommended that the federal government begin working with the provinces and territories to develop a single-payer public system. 

Read: Industry responds to expert panel’s pharmacare report

It also suggested the introduction of a new drug agency to develop a national formulary. The formulary would include essential medicines by Jan. 1, 2022 and expand to be “fully comprehensive” by Jan. 1, 2027. The panel estimated the system would cost $15.3 billion per year once fully implemented in 2027.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said it looks forward to working with the government, as well as with provincial and territorial governments, on ways to improve prescription drug coverage, reduce costs and increase access for Canadians.

“We are very supportive of the changes the federal government announced before the election to better control patented drug costs through the PMPRB,” said Stephen Frank, the CLHIA’s president and CEO, in an email to Benefits Canada. “We see this initiative as key to a sustainable system. We have also advocated for public and private plans to jointly negotiate through the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to reduce costs. We continue to believe strongly that any reform should use government resources wisely and build on what works well today.”

During the election campaign, Trudeau also said the party would remove federal taxes from maternity and parental leave employment insurance cheques. He also promised to introduce a new leave for adoptive parents, which would make LGBTQ couples eligible for parental leave EI benefits.

The Liberals have also made promises around pension solvency. In September, the party said it would reform the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act on Nov. 1 to strengthen retirement security and protect pension plans, which followed its budget 2019 promises.

Read: Budget 2019: Proposed changes to pension legislation, annuities, CPP

The budget also committed to making changes to tax laws that would make it possible to implement advanced life deferred annuities, which delay the annuity’s start until the recipient reaches age 85. Currently, tax rules dictate that annuities bought with registered funds must begin when the annuitant reaches age 71. The budget also proposed that variable payment life annuities be permitted for registered defined contribution plans and pooled registered pension plans.

In its platform, the Liberals promised to increase old-age security benefits by 10 per cent once seniors turn 75, with further raises in line with inflation. It also said it would work with the provinces and territories to increase the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefits by 25 per cent.

Editor’s note: The statement from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association was added at 3:50pm on Oct. 22.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

Join us on Twitter

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required