Liberals Must Enforce Canada Health Act Across Country

To protect the principle of accessibility, New Democrats are calling on the federal Health Minister to intervene and enforce the Canada Health Act, which is being undermined in Quebec’s Bill 20.

“The new government’s inaction is worrying – universal and accessible healthcare are part of our country’s identity. The Liberals cannot afford to sit by and do nothing,” said NDP Quebec Lieutenant Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite Patrie).  “The NDP will continue to fight this battle. We’ll defend our public health care – it’s in our DNA.”

Last year, the Quebec Liberal government made major changes to healthcare services with Bill 20 – which legalizes accessory fees for services previously covered under the public system. The NDP says the bill is in direct contravention of the Canada Health Act’s principle of accessibility of care.

In November, Boulerice sent a letter to the Health Minister calling on the Liberals to enforce the Act – but did not receive a reply from the government. He has now followed up with a new letter and questions in the House of Commons.

Many stakeholders in Quebec have said this law is another a step towards a two-tier healthcare system.

“Accessory fees create further inequality – inequality of access to care based on the size of your wallet. The federal government must not let this happen,” said Simon-Pierre Landry from the Regroupement des médecins omnipraticiens pour une médecine engagée.

The federal Canada Health Act exists to guarantee universal and equal healthcare services. New Democrats believe it is the government’s responsibility to enforce it across the country without further delay.