National Pharmacare must not impose new costs and taxes on small business

Toronto, June 12, 2019 – While small business owners are open to the idea of a national single-payer Pharmacare system in Canada, as recommended today by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, they strongly oppose funding it through payroll taxes or a GST increase, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Overall, 47 per cent of business owners support the introduction of a Pharmacare system, while 27 per cent are opposed.

“Prescription drug costs and insurance premiums are a major concern for small business owners, both for their employees and for themselves and their families,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “A national Pharmacare system may be a benefit for the millions of Canadians who are self-employed or for small employers who cannot afford to offer coverage as an employee benefit. But the program shouldn’t come as an additional tax burden for small business owners.”

A majority of small business owners who support the implementation of a Pharmacare plan are opposed to funding the plan through a GST increase (85 per cent), payroll taxes (72 per cent), or increases in personal income taxes (72 per cent). Business owners agree that the plan should be funded through cost savings from negotiating lower drug prices (84 per cent) and by reallocating funds by cutting existing spending (72 per cent). 

The report released by the Advisory Council estimates that the plan would come at a cost of $15.3 billion by 2027, when fully phased in.

“The money for Pharmacare has to come from somewhere,” added Kelly. “We strongly oppose adding this cost to the mounting financial pressure already placed on small business owners by the government. If the government proceeds with the plan, we urge them to work diligently with the provinces to find cost-savings elsewhere to fund the plan to avoid putting additional pressures on Canadian taxpayers.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at