Canadian Federal Pharmacare Spending

December 20, 2023

As the price of prescription drugs increases and provincial healthcare systems are overflowing with patients, there have been talks of the federal government implementing a nationwide pharmacare plan. From December 15 to 17, 2023, we surveyed Canadians to explore their opinions and preferences on a possible pharmacare program and healthcare spending.

Download the report to learn more.

Some of the key highlights of our survey about pharmacare spending include…

  • If the federal government had more funding, the top three priorities for Canadians would be to reduce surgical wait times (36%), improve senior care, including more long-term care homes (32%), and expand mental health services (30%).
  • 47% of Canadians say they are familiar with the federal government’s plan to introduce a universal plan that would cover the prescription drug expenses for all Canadians, also called pharmacare. In comparison, 53% of Canadians say they are unfamiliar with pharmacare. Respondents living in British Columbia (63%), men (55%), and respondents aged 18-34 years old (52%) are more likely to be familiar with pharmacare.
  • For the majority of Canadians, the preferred approach for the new program is to have a program that will cover Canadians who are not currently covered through their employment and have a total annual income of less than $90,000 or are over 65 years old.
  • 17% of Canadians think implementing a new drug plan should not be a priority for the government. This proportion is higher among Conservative voters (23%).


This web survey was conducted from December 15 to 17, 2023, with 1,622 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, randomly recruited from LEO’s online panel. A margin of error cannot be associated with a non-probability sample in a panel survey. For comparison, a probability sample of 1,622 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.43%, 19 times out of 20.

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