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Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with reporters on May 1, 2024. Image: CPAC video capture

Federal pharmacare bill passes House, now heading to Senate

By Caitlin Snow Jun 4, 2024 | 1:21 PM

Another step was made to get closer to free birth control and diabetes medication if you do not have medical coverage.

The Canadian Pharmacare bill passed the House of Commons, Monday.

Federal NDP Leader Jaghmeet Singh says it was a ‘historic’ day, adding that his party who has long fought for the bill, did not give up.

“This legislation will create the foundation for pharmacare in our country. This legislation today creates a foundation to move forward for universal pharmacare for all Canadians.”

Singh says pharmacare will not only save Canadians money but also, their lives.

Once the bill is passed, federal Health Minister Mark Holland will have discussions with provinces and territories to formally negotiate how to deliver the program.

Ultimately, the plan is for Canadians to only have to show their health card to get contraceptives and diabetes meds, whether they have insurance or not.

The NDP and the Liberals reached a deal on national pharmacare earlier this year, which was tabled in February.

It means, the New Democrats will now continue to support the Liberals until 2025.

The feds then launched the pharmacare plan in May, which they say should save millions of people thousands of dollars every year.

Union applauds move

Unifor says they welcome the plan.

The union is the largest in the private sector representing 320,000 workers.

President Lana Payne says they are glad to see the plan come to fruition, as so many Canadians need it.

“With this bill, we are paving the way for a health care system where no Canadian has to worry about affording their medications.”

Payne adds that it’s not just about medication but justice and fairness for all.

Now that the bill has passed the House, it goes on to the Senate.

The program is expected to cost $1.5 billion over five years.