Canadian Labour Congress
The Canadian Labour Congress and its 2.5 million affiliated members believe that the attainment of the highest standard of health is a fundamental human right. In order to achieve that right, Canadian citizens must have equitable access to health care services along with other initiatives which promote good health. Included in the factors necessary for good health are access to decently paid jobs, safe and healthy workplaces, a clean environment, freedom from discrimination, and a variety of public programs which broadly promote economic and social security.
Commissioner Roy Romanow called Medicare a ‘magnificent creation of citizens and governments,’ a characterization with which the CLC agrees. The labour movement played a role in supporting the establishment of Medicare because labour leaders of the day recognized the immense contribution good health and equal access to health care services would make to the living standards of working people, indeed, of all Canadians. Labour leaders today affirm the labour movement’s commitment to a national system of public health care, governed by the Canada Health Act, with services delivered on a nonprofit basis within the broad public sector.
The labour movement strongly believes that health care is a public good, not a commodity, making access to health care a right of citizenship, not merely an entitlement. Therefore, for-profit health care is completely incompatible with these principles, and with core values historically held by Canadians – compassion, sharing, dignity, fairness, equality, and honesty.
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