Skip to main content

Insights | Blog

Federal Pharmacare Legislation Tabled

Minister Holland tables pharmacare legislation and several provinces table health-focused provincial budgets. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

On the Hill

  • The Standing Committee on Health continued its study of the opioid epidemic and toxic drug crisis in Canada. This spring, the committee will host hearings across Canada on this study. They will also travel to Iceland, Portugal, and Germany for meetings as part of the study.

Around Government 

  • Health Minister Mark Holland tabled the long-awaited legislation to introduce pharmacare, framing it as “the first phase of national, universal pharmacare.” The legislation will offer provinces and territories the opportunity to opt in to a program that would provide federally funded coverage for diabetes and contraception medications under a universal, single-payer model and authorizes the Canadian Drug Agency to work toward the development of a new national formulary. Interestingly, the Minister regularly referenced the P.E.I. pilot program as one that could inform future developments of national pharmacare. Under that model, the federal government has provided support to access the provincial formulary for vulnerable groups including low-income individuals, those on welfare, and seniors without insurance (for certain conditions).
  • Minister Holland also announced this week an investment of $20 million over five years to support the Maternal Infant Child and Youth Research Network (MICYRN) team, to create RareKids-CAN: Pediatric Rare Disease Clinical Trials and Treatment Network. The network will increase collaboration, streamline clinical research, and support national and international clinical trials to improve health outcomes for children and adolescents affected by rare diseases.

Around the Dominion

  • The Government of PEI tabled its provincial budget this week, highlighting a continued focus on healthcare, housing, and affordability. On health, the budget will build more patient medical homes, continue with the controversial implementation of a medical school at UPEI, recruit more healthcare professionals, improve wage parity within long-term care, integrate associate physicians and physician assistants, and add more residency doctors and residency seats.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia tabled its provincial budget this week, which included more resources for healthcare. Supports include over $180 million to help move patients through the system more quickly and improve access to surgeries, over $36 million to move the province toward universal mental health and addictions care, improved cancer care, and improvements on digital health records.
  • The Govenrment of Ontario announced an investment of over $1.6 billion to support the design and construction of two new buildings at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health campus in Toronto to connect more Ontario families with convenient healthcare and help provide enhanced mental health and addictions services to patients from across the province.
  • The Government of Alberta tabled its provincial budget this week. The budget includes over $26 billion in operating dollars, a 4.4 per cent increase over previous forecasts. Also in Alberta, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange was quick to get ahead of the tabling of federal pharmacare legislation, remarking ahead of its tabling that the province wants the ability to opt out of a national pharmacare plan. Minister LaGrange cited Alberta’s existing programs to cover prescription medications when reinforcing the province would not allow the federal government to pick and choose which medications are covered in a way that is politically expedient.
Return to top