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Canada must support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all

| Political action, Social Justice

Canada must support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all

As Canadians scramble for COVID-19 booster shots, we must turn our attention to the vaccine inequity abroad that is at the centre of this latest variant. Now is the time for Canada to help make vaccines affordable and accessible to all.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) is urging the Canadian Government to support waiving vaccine intellectual property rights to make COVID-19 vaccines affordable and accessible to all.

With emerging COVID variants at home and abroad, support for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver on COVID-19 vaccines will allow for generic vaccine production around the world.

So far, more than 100 countries, including the United States, have signed onto the waiver. Canada is not one of them.

As an affiliate of Education International (EI), which represents more than 32.5 million educators, the CTF/FCE has joined the global call for the WTO TRIPS Waiver.

The CTF/FCE believes strongly in doing what is best for all members of society and preventing COVID-19 spread in the Global South through increased vaccine access does just that. As strong proponents of public resources and public ownership when it comes to education and educational materials, we feel the same way about something as vitally important to the health and wellbeing of everyone – the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CTF/FCE applauds Canada’s strong commitments to ensure the COVAX program reflects equity of distribution, but it is now abundantly clear that more must be done to vaccinate the world. Now Canada can take the next step by creating the more important and logistically feasible equity of patent access. Procuring and distributing vaccines globally should only be one small part of our global approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government of Canada has the opportunity to sign onto the TRIPS Waiver and do what is right and ethical by allowing more producers to make these life-saving vaccines.

We should be leaders in vaccine equity domestically and globally and with the TRIPS Waiver we can be.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation

Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession. As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 365,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. 

Media contact

Andrew King,
Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE)
Mobile: 819-213-7847