In addition to our work at the bargaining table, unions and the labour movement also advocate politically at all levels of government to help make life better for workers and families across Ontario.
This year, we achieved tremendous gains for workers in Ontario. The Minimum wage increased to $14 on January 1 and will again increase to $15 on January 1, 2019. Workers now have two paid sick days, and the brand new OHIP+ was implemented.
While you may have already heard of the minimum wage increases, OHIP+ is among the biggest changes also achieved.
OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharamacare means Ontario residents, 24 or younger, with a health card and valid prescription will no longer have to pay for many medications. More than 4,400 drug products will be free and no registration is needed.
Covered medication include: antibiotics, asthma inhalers, insulin, oral diabetic medications and diabetes test strips, Epipens, drugs to treat arthritis, epilepsy and other chronic conditions, antidepressants, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs and medication for some childhood cancers and other rare conditions. Click here for a detailed list.
“Building a fairer society for all means ensuring workers’ voices are heard not just at the bargaining table but at all levels of government,” said President Wayne Hanley. “While our members and their families have drug coverage, that is not the reality for many non-union workers across Ontario. OHIP+ will provide a huge relief to families who are struggling to make ends meet as those under 24 will not have to go without much needed medication. The next step is for the federal government to implement a universal prescription drug plan so all Canadians have access to vital medication.”
Currently, an estimated 3.5 million Canadians go without the medication they need. One in five working Canadians are paying out of pocket for much-needed medication because they do not have drug coverage or their plans do not cover it, according to the Canadian Labour Congress. The labour movement has launched a campaign for universal prescription drug coverage in Canada. To find out more, click here.