Canada’s finance minister says pharmacare deal no fiscal threat, Globe and Mail reports

By Thomson Reuters Feb 25, 2024 | 6:48 PM

(Reuters) – A “pharmacare” deal between Canada’s ruling Liberals and the New Democrats (NDP) will not threaten the country’s fiscal standing, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference on Sunday, The Globe and Mail reported.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh told a Canadian public broadcaster on Friday that the two parties had now reached a deal on “pharmacare” which a Reuters’ government source confirmed.

“It is very, very important to invest in supporting Canadians and to do so in a fiscally responsible way,” said Freeland, the report added.

The Globe and Mail previously reported that the pharmacare plan would cost more than C$1 billion ($740.41 million) a year once it was implemented, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Freeland’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

A government source said on Friday that terms of an agreement had been reached with the NDP and that details would be made public next week.

In late 2021, the left-leaning NDP agreed to back Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberals in return for legislation to set up a nationwide system to help people pay for medication.

NDP leader Singh had in recent weeks complained the Liberals were dragging their feet and mused about withdrawing his automatic support for Trudeau.

The pharmacare agreement would suggest the chances of Trudeau staying in office until an election next year appear more certain.

($1 = 1.3506 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Angela Christy in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)