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.