This federal election, let's vote for a universal Pharmacare program

President's Report: This federal election, let's vote for a universal Pharmacare program
By HSA President Val Avery


It’s official. The federal election has been called and Canadians will head to the polls on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 to elect a new government.

In the coming weeks we can expect to see and hear a lot from the various political parties and where they stand on the issues that matter to you, your family, and your community. Our country is facing many challenges around climate change, public health care, Pharmacare, housing, transportation and more.

Election time is when we – as voters – must engage candidates and political parties to ensure that the issues we care about are on their radar and part of the national dialogue.

As health care and community social service professionals, we know first-hand the impact of poor government policy. We see the impacts of poverty, discrimination, and hardship on the health of our patients and clients. And we are well-versed on the solutions.

This election, HSA will be putting our focus on the need for a universal Pharmacare program.

Canada is the only country in the world with a universal healthcare plan that doesn’t include universal coverage for prescription drugs. In fact, in the early years of public healthcare in Canada, prescription drugs were intended to be added as part of a universal plan. Report after report dating back to the 1960s point to the need for a universal Pharmacare system for Canadians. After prolonged investigations, we can decisively say it’s time to act.   

The current landscape of prescription drug coverage is expensive and inefficient.  Canadians pay different rates for identical prescriptions, and the conditions of access and affordability vary across Canada.  Everyone, regardless of ability to pay, deserves access to prescription medicines.  

Simply put – elections matter. And if we want to see investments in the public interest, like a universal Pharmacare program, your vote matters.

The health of our democracy is dependent on people like you and me getting informed, getting involved, and voting. I encourage you to get to know your local candidates, ask questions at public candidate forums, and volunteer for those candidates who best represent your issues. Elections are a short window of opportunity to make change, so don’t miss this chance. It will be another four years before we have this opportunity again.

Make sure you are registered to vote and watch for your voter information card in the mail. This card will tell you where to vote on Election Day. And remember, you can also vote during advanced polls and at any Elections Canada office. You can get all the information you need on how to vote from Elections Canada at

This is our chance to shape the future of our country and ensure the priorities of government meet the needs of everyone who calls Canada home.

Happy Voting!

This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of The Report Magazine. Click here to view the full issue.