Thank you for taking the time to reach out regarding the urgent need to alleviate the
medical, emotional, financial, and social costs of cancer.
New Democrats strongly agree that the federal government has an important role to play in
supporting Canadians diagnosed with cancer and their families.
Canada’s public health care system won’t be able to recover from COVID-19 without federal
leadership. It was already under stress from years of Liberal and Conservative underfunding
before the pandemic hit. New Democrats believe the federal government must step up
immediately as a full funding partner to address pandemic-related disruptions in cancer
care, as well as the coming influx of new or late-stage cancer diagnoses.
Furthermore, New Democrats believe that cancer treatment should never impose a financial
burden on patients and their families. We will work with the provinces and territories to
implement universal public pharmacare as rapidly as possible – with a target launch date of
2022. We will ensure that every patient across Canada can access the take-home cancer
drugs they need, regardless of their ability to pay. This has taken on increased urgency amid
the disruptions to in-hospital treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many Canadians who need EI when they’re dealing with an illness, the current system
falls far short and doesn’t provide the kind of help people actually need. To make sure that
Canadians can count on EI when they’re dealing with a serious illness, a New Democrat
government will extend sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks, and create a pilot project to
allow workers with episodic illnesses and disabilities to access EI sickness benefits a day at a
time, as they need them. This flexibility will help support those who want to continue to
work while providing the seriously ill with the benefits they need.
Finally, New Democrats believe that Canadian health guidelines should be set independently
by subject-matter experts, based on the best available evidence. We agree that this process
should align with international best practices and methodology standards.