Our monthly general membership meeting!
Canada’s unions are proud that we’ve won health insurance coverage for many of our members. But we believe anyone with a health card should have coverage for the medicines they need. That’s why we’re working to win a universal prescription drug plan that covers everyone in Canada, regardless of their income, age or where they work or live.
The Unfinished Business of Medicare
Today, the only place where all Canadians are covered is in the hospital. The federal government covers the cost of prescription drugs for members of the Armed Forces and the RCMP, veterans and Indigenous people.
The provinces and territories all provide different coverage. Most subsidize the cost of medications for vulnerable Canadians like those over 65 and recipients of social assistance and disability benefits. Many also provide catastrophic coverage for those with astronomical medical costs.
But that still leaves one in five Canadians paying out of pocket for their medication because they either don’t have a prescription drug plan or have plans that don’t cover the cost.
By the Numbers
- About 8.4 million working Canadians don’t have prescription drug coverage.
- The less you earn at work, the less likely you are to have prescription drug coverage.
- Women and young workers are less likely to have the coverage they need.
- Even those with drug plans are paying ever-increasing co-payments and deductibles.
Pharmacare Makes Economic Sense
Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care program that doesn’t include a universal prescription drug plan. Instead, our multiple-payer system has resulted in the second highest prescription drug costs in the world next to the United States.
Our patchwork prescription drug system is inefficient and expensive. It has left Canadians with wildly varying prescription drug coverage and access. Many are paying different rates for the same medications.
We aren’t benefitting from the current system, but pharmaceutical and private insurance companies are. Pharmaceutical companies can charge higher prices for drugs because they sell to so many buyers. Private insurance companies benefit by charging employers, unions and employees to administer private drug insurance plans.
It’s time for Canada to catch up to our peers. It’s time to complete the unfinished business of our Medicare system with a universal prescription drug plan that will save money through bulk purchasing power.
In New Zealand, where a public authority negotiates on behalf of the entire country, a year’s supply of the cholesterol-busting drug Lipitor costs just $15 a year, compared to $811 in Canada.
That’s why Canada needs to combine the purchasing power of all Canadians under one plan. An annual investment of $1 billion by the federal government will mean Canadians save $7.3 billion a year on the medications they need.
Canadians Say “YES” to Pharmacare
An overwhelming majority – 91 percent – of Canadians believe our public health care system should include a universal prescription drug plan.
Several national health care commissions have recommended the same, along with the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Health Coalition, Council of Canadians and the Canadian Labour Congress.
Provincial leaders are signaling support too. The Ontario provincial government, for example, has announced a targeted Pharmacare program that will cover full prescription drug costs for anyone under the age of 25.
But patchwork measures aren’t enough. We need this federal government to commit to the implementation of a national, publicly-administered universal prescription drug plan for every Canadian, in every province and territory.
Please register for the Make It Fair Telephone Town Hall, March 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
This is an important meeting.
The next few months will make a big difference to Ontario workers. Ontario is reviewing its labour and employment laws, with recommendations expected in the spring.
If we want MPPs to support decent work in Ontario we need to tell them what workers need, and we need to tell them now. MPPs need to know that it must be easier for workers to join and keep a union, and how to set workplace standards that will improve conditions for all workers in the province.
We look forward to seeing you there!
As you know doubt are aware, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are past the strike deadline in their negotiations with Canada Post. They are fighting for important issues, and they need our support.
Canada Post is celebrating almost two decades of profits by trying to extract more concessions from the workers who have made it profitable. The crown corporation is refusing to address the glaring discrepancy between rural and urban mail carriers (the predominantly female rural mail carriers earn 28% less than their urban counterparts, and CUPW is calling for pay equity for all their members). It is also seeking to divide present and future postal workers by proposing much lower wages and benefits for all new hires.Read more
Despite the large turnout at Friday's rally in support of custodial staff at Wilfrid Laurier University, members of CUPE 926 were left with no choice but to strike starting Sunday morning. The university continues to demand a weakening of their contracting out language that will allow them to hire custodians who are paid less than $13/hour to do the same work done by CUPE members who make a living wage with pensions and benefits.
CUPE members need your support now on the picket line! Please join them as often as you can: they welcome supporters from all walks of life.Read more
For immediate release July 6, 2016, 1pm
"The university is attacking its custodial staff by using every legal loophole to contract out their work to lower-paid contractors," said Labour Council President Marc Xuereb. "Laurier's tagline is 'Inspiring Lives.' This kind of conduct doesn't inspire lives: it inspires poverty. That's what you're doing when you replace good jobs with pensions and benefits with precarious jobs that offer no job security and pay below the living wage."
Do you have a child or grand-child attending a post-secondary school this Fall? Could they use $500 to defray the costs of their education? Help them apply for the Waterloo Regional Labour Council's Scholarship!
We give away two $500 scholarships each year: one for university students and one for college students.Read more
Cambridge MP Bryan May is chairing a House of Commons Committee which is conducting a study of Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) program. It asked for Canadians to submit its opinions on EI by March 23, 2016. The Waterloo Regional Labour Council's Political Action Committee Chair Lorne Bruce, in concert with Vice President Mark Cairns, wrote a submission for the Committee's consideration.
"In Waterloo Region there are currently approximately 17,400 unemployed while only around 4,800 are receiving EI benefits," the brief opens. "That’s only 27% of unemployed people receiving benefits here in Waterloo Region. Along with the rest of the country we need to see a change to EI that will benefit all those entitled to their benefits not currently receiving them."Read more
Federal Budget 2016: First steps towards
a fairer and more prosperous Canada
For immediate release March 22, 2016, 7pm
Kitchener – The Waterloo Regional Labour Council responded to today’s federal budget announcement with optimism, saying it begins the important work of reinvesting in Canadian communities, creating jobs, addressing children’s and seniors’ poverty, and repairing the programs and services Canadians rely on.Read more