Ministers Fast and Ambrose Hear from Patient Groups on Benefits of Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Historic agreement will create jobs, boost research and innovation and ensure that Canadians continue to have access to the affordable drugs they need, say Ministers

November 7, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today met in Ottawa with representatives of some of Canada’s most prominent patient groups to discuss the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

“The Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is in full support of the provisions of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, which deal with intellectual property (IP),” said Phil Upshall, MDSC National Executive Director. “As a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from mental illnesses, particularly depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and other related mood disorders, it is our firm belief that with stronger IP protection as contained in CETA, medical research, in particular that concerned with depression and bipolar disorder, will increase and new treatments, including new pharmaceutical therapies, will be discovered and the benefits of these discoveries will be translated into better care for Canadians suffering from mental illness.”

“Cystic Fibrosis Canada supports the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement specific to IP safeguards,” said Ken Chan, Vice President, Advocacy, Research and Healthcare. “By bringing Canada’s IP protection to international standards, the Government of Canada has created an environment that can attract investment in research and development of new medicines that benefit cystic fibrosis patients and those who live with other rare diseases.”

In a competitive global environment, effective IP rights play an important role in attracting and retaining investments that support high-paying jobs in Canada. As a 21st-century agreement, the Canada-EU trade agreement supports innovative industries with provisions on IP rights, better market access terms for information and communications technologies and related services, and a framework to encourage further cooperation on scientific and technological activities. 

“Our government is committed to creating new jobs and opportunities, and we know that throughout our history, Canadians have played a key role in developing world-changing scientific breakthroughs,” said Minister Fast. “That’s why through this historic agreement, our government has struck a balance between promoting innovation and job creation in our knowledge-based economy and ensuring that Canadians continue to have access to the affordable drugs they need.”

With respect to patents and pharmaceuticals within the agreement, additional protection provided to new drugs aligns Canada with other countries seeking to provide competitive environments for innovative and high-paying jobs.

“With more research and innovation, it is our hope that new treatments will be developed right here in Canada that will benefit patients, seniors and families,” said Minister Ambrose. “In order to ensure that Canadians in every region of our country benefit from this agreement, we will continue to work closely with our provincial and territorial partners as well as with patient groups and all stakeholders.”

On October 18, 2013, Canada and the European Union announced an agreement-in-principle on a landmark trade deal. The 28-country EU represents a market of more than 500 million consumers and economic activity worth $17 trillion a year. It has been estimated that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement could boost the Canadian economy by $12 billion annually, equivalent to creating 80,000 jobs or boosting the average Canadian family’s income by $1,000 a year.

For more information on the vast benefits of this agreement to every region of Canada, please visit actionplan.gc.ca/CETA.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332
rudy.husny@international.gc.ca

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
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