February 19, 2019

Canadians overwhelmingly support universal pharmacare: new poll

February 19, 2019 (OTTAWA, ON) – A national poll released today reveals that Canadians support a national universal prescription drug program, and they believe it is worthy of public investment. The poll comes as the federal government’s advisory council on the subject is due to release its final report in the coming weeks.

“This poll sends a clear message to Prime Minister Trudeau that Canadians want a universal prescription drug program, not a patchwork, ‘fill in the gaps’ approach,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Canadians, including those with existing coverage, overwhelmingly support a single public pharmacare program for everyone.”

The representative online poll of more than 1,000 Canadians, commissioned by the CFNU and conducted by Environics Research, found that:

  • 88% agree it is better to have a simple cost-effective prescription drug coverage program that covers everyone in the country than to have a patchwork program.
  • 85% agree it is worth investing public money for prescription drug coverage.
  • 84% think prescription drugs should be covered as part of our public health care system.

Canadians overwhelmingly say the top health care priority for governments should be ensuring access to quality care. They are much less likely to prioritize the interests of pharmaceutical and insurance companies, who are viewed as the least-trusted sources for accurate advice on our health care system.

“Big pharma and the insurance industryprofit from our current system, and Canadians don’t trust them to look out for our interests or think they should influence our public health care policy,” said Silas.

The views reflected in this poll support the same model of pharmacare that nurses have long advocated for, based on decades of peer-reviewed research and studies. More than 80 national and provincial/territorial organizations have also endorsed this model by signing onto a set of Pharmacare Consensus Principles.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to complete our medicare,” said Silas. “Prime Minister Trudeau should do the right thing and listen to Canadians.”

The poll was conducted online by Environics between January 9 and 21, 2019. An overview of the results is available here.

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The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement In the future of public health care.

For more information, please contact:
Lauren Snowball,
CFNU Communications Officer, 613-868-5702,