Skip to main content

Ontario needs more details before deciding to opt in to national pharmacare, health minister says


Ontario’s health minister says she has to wait and see the details of the federal government’s new pharmacare deal before committing to it.

Speaking at the legislature on Tuesday, Sylvia Jones said all she knows about the deal is what she’s read in the news.

“I’ve had no conversations, no feedback, no memos, nothing directly from the federal minister,” Jones said. “We are waiting for that so I know exactly what we are looking at in terms of our responsibilities and the federal responsibilities.”

Until then, the minister could not say whether Ontario would be opting in or out of the pharmacare deal.

“I need the details.”

Alberta’s health minister has already said their province will be opting out of the national pharmacare program. Instead, the province hopes to receive a per capita share of that funding that can go into its own provincial health-care system.

They argue it should be up to provincial governments, who are responsible for health care, to decide how to run their programs.

We are not going to allow Ottawa to pick and choose what coverage should be available to Albertans based on issues they find politically palatable,” Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said.

“Much like previous national programs the Liberal government has announced, including the dental program, there was no consultation done with provinces or service providers.”

The Liberal government reached the deal with the New Democratic Party last week following months of negotiations. Few details have been released, but NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh confirmed to CTV News the plan for universal, single-payer pharmacare will include a commitment to delivering diabetes medication and contraceptives,

The Ontario Liberal health critic told reporters the province should not walk away from the funding.

“Doug Ford and Sylvia Jones would be strongly cautioned against not participating in this,” Adil Shamji told reporters Monday. “To walk away from this funding that is on the table would be catastrophic. Would it surprise me if they tried to walk away from it? No.”

Full details of the pharmacare program are expected when the legislation is introduced later this week.

With files from CTV News Calgary's Brendon Ellis and Jordan Kanygin Top Stories

Stay Connected