The recent news on Pharmacare is a victory years in the making. Last Thursday, on Leap Year Day, federal Health Minister Mark Holland presented in the House of Commons Bill C-64: An Act Respecting Pharmacare, which outlines the “foundational principles” of a national universal drug coverage plan that will begin with contraceptives and diabetes medications. This was done to satisfy a core commitment to the NDP in the two parties’ supply-and-confidence deal.

This proposed legislation follows nurse and health care worker recommendations to implement a single-payer, universal and public pharmacare program. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) has been a staunch advocate for equal access to necessary pharmaceuticals since 1985 and was part of the coalition lobbying for it.

“Our governments are finally getting the prescription right. I commend the Liberals and New Democrats for listening to nurses and establishing the framework we need to ensure everyone in Canada has access to the medication they need,” said CFNU President Linda Silas.

“A universal and public approach to pharmacare is an approach that puts people over profits. Shortfalls in prescription drug coverage result in daily deaths and illness among people with treatable conditions – a grim fact we learned in CFNU’s 2018 study, Body Count. If implemented correctly, the foundation laid today will save countless lives.” 

There was also healthcare-related news here in Manitoba concerning nurses.

MNU President Darlene Jackson attended a press conference with Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara and the leaders of our province’s three nursing colleges to announce regulatory changes that will make it easier for nurses who retired or quit in the last five years to return to our healthcare system by having their licenses reinstated.

In her remarks during the press conference, Darlene made it clear that every nurse in our province should feel supported, valued and safe, because without these conditions in place, without strong leadership to uphold these workplace values, we will simply continue to lose ground and to lose nurses.

If you know of someone who might be interested in returning, please encourage them to contact their regulatory body, as stated in this CBC news article

Darlene and Vice President Val Wotton visited the picket line of MGEU Local 143 members in the Seine River School Division who were on strike for three weeks before voting in favour of a tentative agreement on February 27. 

Darlene presented a cheque from MNU in support of Local 143 to Dwayne Ammeter, a member of their bargaining committee. Also pictured in the photograph are picket captains John Pinter (centre) and Marc Verrier (first from left).

The Winnipeg Free Press covered a strike of our lone member at a care home on Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (Nelson House). Since everyone else has quit, our member has been unable to walk a picket line. MNU is continuing to do all we can to resolve this strike. 

Finally, International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8 and this year’s theme is #InspireInclusion, which imagines a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

This campaign theme also calls for the inclusion of women at all levels of society when it comes to decision-making. To truly include women means to openly embrace their diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image, and how they identify. Worldwide, women must be included in all fields of endeavour.

At the IWD’s website, it states:

When women aren't present, we must ask: "If not, why not?"

When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practice.

When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action.

And we must do this each time, every time.

The IWD is also encouraging donations to charities that work towards the advancement of women and girls. Visit their Fundraising page to learn more.