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March 5th Weekly Update

Message From Tony

Canadian Labour Code Bill C-58

On February 27th we were proud to see Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board Regulations, supported at second reading with support from all parties for the Bill.

This historic legislation aims to eliminate the use of replacement workers in federally regulated sectors, a Liberal Party platform commitment from the 2021 election and a key component of the Supply and Confidence Agreement with the NDP.

Bill C-58 will now be studied by Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. I am fortunate to be a member of this committee and am looking forward to studying this important piece of legislation. 

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

On Monday, I was pleased to welcome, the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O’Regan, to our riding for a discussion on NORCs – Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities.  The meeting included members of CHATS – Community & Home Assistance to Seniors.  Ageing in place for seniors is a project I am deeply committed to, and I appreciated the opportunity to discuss how NORC programming could impact better health outcomes for seniors and in particular the positive impact it could have on social isolation experienced by seniors. 

International Women's Day 2024

This Thursday, we mark International Women’s Day (IWD) and celebrate the many contributions of women and girls in Newmarket-Aurora and throughout Canada. IWD also serves as a reminder of the prevalent issues that women and girls face every day.

This year, we’re celebrating IWD with the theme: Invest in women: Accelerate progress, reminding us that gender equality is one of the most effective ways to build healthier, more prosperous, and more inclusive communities.

Throughout history, women have been pioneers in advocating for gender equality. Women like Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the House of Commons, Roberta Jamieson, the first Indigenous woman in Canada to earn a law degree, and Mary Simon, the first Indigenous person ever to hold the position of Governor General, have persevered in the face of gender-based discrimination and other obstacles.

I am proud of the work our government has done to promote inclusivity, including:

  • the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $7 billion investment to provide women entrepreneurs and their businesses with access to the financing, networks, and expertise they need to start up, scale up, and access new markets.
  • the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, which contains bilateral agreements with all 13 provinces and territories in Canada to bring awareness to the factors and behaviours that contribute to Gender-Based Violence, support survivors, and ensure all Canadians have access to culturally appropriate and accessible protection and services.
  • standing strong on our position to ensure all women and girls can decide what to do with their bodies, their lives, and their futures, including the recently tabled Pharmacare Act, which proposes universal access to contraception.

We know there is more work to do. We will continue to take action to protect women and girls in Canada and work toward building an equitable, more inclusive society.

By investing in empowering women and girls, we help families, communities, and societies. Let’s continue to listen to the stories of women and girls and stand up against gender-based discrimination, because their success is everyone’s success.

Bill C-64, the Pharmacare Act

Last week, our government tabled Bill C-64, An Act respecting pharmacare, which proposes the foundation principles for the first phase of national universal pharmacare in Canada. Through this Bill, we’re proposing to work with the provinces and territories to provide universal, single-payer coverage for a number of contraception and diabetes medications.

This is a historic piece of legislation that proposes a significant change to Canada’s health care landscape and is part of our plan to ensure all Canadians can access the medications they need.

Diabetes Medications

In Canada, around 3.7 million people live with diagnosed diabetes, with this number expected to continue to increase. In 2015, 25% of Canadians living with diabetes indicated that their treatments were affected by high costs of medications.

Through Bill C-64, our government is proposing to provide universal access to diabetes medications, which would improve the health of Canadians living with this disease and reduce the risk of serious life-changing health complications such as blindness or amputations. These medications would include:

  • Insulin, which is used by patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes;
  • Metformin, which is used by patients with type 2 diabetes; and
  • Other medications used in combination with insulin and metformin, including Sulfonylureas, and SGLT-2 inhibitors.

Separate from Bill C-64, our government has announced its intention to establish a fund to support access to diabetes devices and supplies.

Contraception

Ensuring that all Canadians have affordable access to contraception is crucial in letting people have control of their own bodies, health, and future. Through Bill C-64, we’re proposing universal access to contraception and putting the choice back in Canadians’ hands.

Studies have demonstrated that publicly funded, no-cost, universal contraception can result in public cost savings. This Bill proposes to give Canadians universal access to:

  • oral contraceptives;
  • copper and hormonal IUDs;
  • injections;
  • implants;
  • rings; and
  • morning-after pills.

Our government will continue to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, and other partners and stakeholders to improve the accessibility, affordability, and appropriate use of pharmaceutical products, by reducing financial barriers and contributing to physical and mental well-being.

No Canadian should have to sacrifice their health in the name of affordability.

Supporting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

Everyone in Canada deserves to fully participate in all spheres of society, regardless of gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation. Yet too often, 2SLGBTQI+ communities still face discrimination, harassment, and hate.

That’s why our government has launched a call for proposal under the 2SLGBTQI+ Projects Fund. Through this, up to $25 million is available to help 2SLGBTQI+ organizations support community-informed initiatives that address barriers to equality, including projects that facilitate systemic change as well as the development of knowledge, tools, and support for the community.

Organizations can apply until April 10, 2024 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with projects that aim to protect the rights of and improve equality for 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

Through the first-ever Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, our government is taking action to address the systemic barriers that 2SLGBTQI+ people face every day and promote a fairer, more inclusive society.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for
Newmarket—Aurora

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