NPF working in coalition with other like minded groups raises the bar for accomplishing what is possible. Keep on keeping stronger together to get the job done… Super Priority for pensions.:

Advocacy groups say 2019 federal budget fails to safeguard employer pensions

TORONTO — Bill Morneau’s fourth federal budget since the Liberals came to power in 2015 contained a variety of pre-election goodies, including many directed at seniors, when it was tabled last week in a raucous House of Commons.

But a number of advocacy groups say Budget 2019 doesn’t go far enough to safeguard members of private-sector pensions and they’re lobbying all federal parties to include more retirement income protections in their election platforms.

The big item is a new national employer-funded insurance program that would make up for shortfalls of any underfunded pension plans in the event the sponsoring employer goes extinct or can’t pay its retirement benefits in full.

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Join us in responding to the national crisis in rising drug costs and controls for pharmaceutical deals

Dear Minister Petipas Taylor:   

Re: Pharmaceutical Corporations Secret Kickbacks to Pharmacies

Members of the National Pensioners Federation, which represents some 800,000 Canadian seniors, were shocked to learn from a recent CBC Fifth Estate program that many if not all pharmaceutical corporations in Ontario are driving up the costs of generic drugs by paying pharmacists kickbacks of 50% to 70% over the actual cost of a drug. The new inflated cost of the drug is then passed on to us, older adults and taxpayers. 

The CBC investigation, which secretly filmed several pharmacy owners requesting a “rebate” from a CBC representative that they believed was representing a drug company, is irrefutable. And although the practice is illegal in Ontario, it is thriving and likely flourishing unchecked across Canada. The 2019 conviction of COSTCO and the payment of a fine of $7.25 million for demanding rebates for their 29 Ontario Pharmacies may be a partial deterrent but it is very unusual.  

We know that 10 percent or more of Canadians cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they need to keep well. By demanding and accepting kickbacks that increase the cost of drugs, pharmacists as well as pharmaceutical corporations contribute to ill-health and the cost of health care in general. 

We wonder why the Ontario College of Pharmacists, the mandate of which is “to serve and protect the public” has so clearly failed to protect the public from such widespread, illegal and harmful practices. These secret dealings are fraudulent and also undermine the trust that many seniors have in their pharmacists’ integrity and in any advice they provide.

We wonder why, the federal regulatory agency, the Competition Bureau of Canada conducted an investigation into kickbacks to pharmacists and then cancelled it. 

In July 2018, as two provinces prepared to force more transparency, ten of the largest Canadian pharmaceutical companies disclosed that they paid almost $75 million to doctors and health care organizations in the previous year. That they “incentivize” doctors is not new but now we are finding out that these companies are also providing operational funding and other incentives to orphan disease patient groups and also to other non-profit health associations, including seniors organizations, so they will promote these companies’ drugs and as well as lobby with governments for the addition of their drugs to provincial formularies. 

As Minister of Health, you are responsible for the health and well being of all Canadians. These drug companies’ practices that drive up health care costs and succeed in corrupting pharmacists, doctors, and non-profit citizen groups in order to increase profits need to be stopped immediately.  

We therefore request that you act immediately to establish a public Inquiry into these drug company practices that add to health care costs and that are debasing many health professionals and otherwise decent members of our society. 

On behalf of our membership we await your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Trish McAuliffe

President,

National Pensioners Federation

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Kickbacks: Caught on Camera

It’s illegal in Ontario and drives up the price of generic drugs across Canada. So why are pharmacists engaging in it? They’re taking what are called rebates, which are like kickbacks, from some of the the largest drug suppliers in the world. We went undercover to find out: How much more are you paying for your generic prescription drugs than you should be?

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CUPE members take action on pensions and Pharmacare

The National Pensioners Federation salutes all those who fight for a National Pharma Care Plan across Canada.

Today may mark the largest support yet, to outweigh the big pharma interests.

Congrats to the 350 activists from the Canadian Labour Congress who eagerly participated in a lobby day in Ottawa.

“The group met with over 192 parliamentarians throughout the day to support the creation of a Pharmacare program that provides coverage for all residents regardless of their income, age, or where they live. Any Pharmacare program must be patient-centred, integrated with our health system, and sustainable.”

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CRTC Report on Telecom Sales Practices Vindicates Consumer Concerns

OTTAWA, February 20, 2019 – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released its Telecom Sales Practices Report to the Federal Cabinet, vindicating the public’s concerns that too many Canadians have suffered misleading, aggressive and unsuitable telecom sales practices at the hands of major telecommunications providers and firmly stating that such practices are unacceptable and must change.

The Fair Communications Sales Coalition, whose members include the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), ACORN Canada (ACORN), National Pensioners Federation (NPF) and Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) today heralded the Report as a milestone for consumer protection in Internet, home phone, television and wireless sales that should improve Canadians interactions with companies

“Consumers told us that they were being misled, oversold and treated aggressively when they interacted with their telecom and TV service providers, whether at the door, on the phone, in a store or online,” said John Lawford, Co-Counsel to the FCSC. “We are extremely pleased that the CRTC believed those consumers and mapped out how to help,” he added.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) had earlier requested for a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of telecommunications and related services. An inquiry was eventually conducted as a result of the intervention of the Federal Cabinet. The CRTC issued a “Notice of consultation – Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers” over the summer of 2018, asking for public’s input on their experiences with telecom sales. An online survey was also conducted, followed by a public hearing in October 2018.
Wanda Morris, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer of CARP, already looks forward to the promise for seniors of improved interactions with telecommunications and TV providers: “It will take some work to implement the CRTC’s suggestions but we urge the Federal Government to endorse this report and to ask the CRTC to finish the job of restoring the public’s trust in how they are sold these essential services.”

For more information, please contact:

John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ×25

jlawford@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

Wanda Morris
Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer of CARP
(778) 838-7998
wanda@carp.ca

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Vibrant Voices Election 2019 Priorities

National Pensioners Federation Trish McAuliffe, President and Mike Kaminski, 1st VP joined with 9+ national organizations to secure seniors top priorities in Federal Election 2019

Included NAFR, National Association of Federal Retirees; ACER-CART, RTO, Retired Teachers of Ontario; CFP, Canadian Federation of Pensioners; CURAC, College and University Retiree Association of Canada; CARP, Canadian Advocacy for Retired Persons; NORPW, National Organization of Retired Postal Workers; and the CHC, Canadian Health Coalition. View more >

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Town hall sheds light on the need for public long-term care solution in Grenfell, SK

On January 24, 2019, CUPE Local 5430 organized a standing room only town hall meeting in Grenfell, SK, to talk about the closure of Grenfell Pioneer Home and the impact the loss of jobs and residents has had on the community. Speakers included NDP MLA and health critic Vicki Mowat, NDP seniors’ critic Danielle Chartier, CUPE 5430 President Sandra Seitz and community residents Lois Warner and Joyce Maier. The event was emceed by Region 3 General Vice President Scott McDonald.

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