VANCOUVER, Jan. 20, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor National President Jerry Dias is urging Canada's Health Ministers to come to a meaningful agreement on health care funding as they meet this week in Vancouver. He emphasized this as being a critical moment to rebuild confidence and capacity of our neglected public health system.
"Canadians spoke loud and clear in our fall election that health care remains our top shared priority," said Dias. "Harper systematically dismantled collaboration between levels of government, and as a result put at risk the entire system of health care that we hold so dear. We expect and demand a strong collaborative effort by all levels of government now to properly fund reform and progress."
The Harper government allowed the Canadian Health Accord to expire with no plans or agreement to renew. This would mean a $36 billion cut in federal transfers over the next 10 years, leaving provincial governments with the increased financial burden made worse by the growing demands of an aging population.
"The Ministers gathered here this week must understand that Canadians can see what lies ahead," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "We have an aging population, escalating drug prices, a stealthy increase in private 'fee-for-service' medicine and we also remain the only developed country with universal health care but no national Pharmacare program for prescription medication. Now is the time to work together for meaningful solutions."
Dias remarked that a bulk purchasing agreement for prescription medication—something being discussed by the provinces—would be a modest first step, but it doesn't necessarily address access to life-saving medication by those who struggle to afford it now or lack health insurance coverage.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including over 30,000 in health care. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
For further information: Please contact Unifor Communications Staff Representative Ian Boyko at [email protected] or (cell) 778.903.6549.