Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Cabinet,
RE: Universal Pharmacare program and Childcare Subsidies
We are writing to you today on behalf of our membership to encourage the federal government to implement a Universal Pharmacare program and a Universal Childcare Subsidy across Canada.
These programs will have an enormous positive impact, particularly among women who have been the most hard-hit by the economic effects of the pandemic. Rural women experience disproportionate economic disadvantages due to more precarious employment in jobs with no health benefits. This leaves them particularly vulnerable to price impacts of medications, which in many cases are required to keep their families healthy.
Additionally, the enormous cost of childcare keeps many women out of the paid workforce because it devours so much of their income that it makes more economic sense for them to stay home with their children. A guaranteed, reliable source of funding for childcare spaces is needed to incentivize creation of more rural child care options. Farm women experience considerable stress scrambling to perform at least many vital roles simultaneously with responsibilities operating their farms, parenting and working at an off-farm job. The quality of life, mental health and income impacts of this triple burden on rural women can be lightened by ensuring they have access to quality, affordable childcare when they need it. Whether rural or urban, and in every province, children deserve to grow up with programs that put everyone on an equal footing so their parents can earn a living.
The Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered glaring weak spots in our social safety net. Our wonderful universal health care system cannot function to its full potential without Universal Pharmacare. Women have been unfairly burdened with covering the gaps in the safety net with their unpaid labour. Ensuring women with children have access to the workforce is a key element of a just society. This government has an opportunity to implement programs to build our society back up better than before. The National Farmers Union would be pleased to support your government’s implementation of a Universal Pharmacare program and a Universal Childcare subsidy.
Katie Ward, NFU President and Coral Sproule, NFU Women’s President