Faith organizations, rights advocacy groups urge PM Trudeau to actively support global vaccine equity

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The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Love My Neighbour (LMN) is a Canadian grassroots project founded by Millennium Kids and diverse faith communities to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed quickly and equitably in lower income countries. LMN has brought together Canadians of diverse faiths from across the country, united in our desire to see all people regardless of nationality, enjoy equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. We encourage the Canadian government to join us in care for our neighbours through working for increased access to vaccines globally.

We recognize the efforts of the government to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for priority populations in Canada, as well as international financial support for COVAX. We also believe that Canada can play a greater leadership role to ensure vaccine equity, especially when it comes to prioritizing vaccine access for essential workers and the most vulnerable, around the world and here in Canada.

Canada has currently purchased enough vaccines to vaccinate Canada’s population many times over. Vaccine inequality will only prolong the global pandemic.

We urge the creation and rapid implementation of a re-distribution and donation plan of Canada’s purchased and committed vaccine doses, including doses purchased from COVAX, to COVAX. Following the example of countries like Norway, we urge an immediate minimum 5% donation of Canada’s vaccines to COVAX. The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic must be timely and equitable if it is to be successful.

We also encourage Canadian support for the temporary Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, presented to the World Trade Organization. This waiver will ensure that trade regulations and licensing do not impede the timely manufacture, distribution, and affordability of vaccines. Canada has maintained that it has not rejected this proposal, and it is studying the impacts of intellectual property regulations on vaccine manufacturing. While we affirm the importance of careful deliberation, we also urge a rapid response. Without the TRIPS waiver, many low- and middle-income countries may not have access to anywhere near sufficient vaccines before 2023, to say nothing of testing or medications for supportive care.

We also encourage Canada to continue to support global health systems strengthening through an increased Official Development Assistance budget, with funding specially designated for community-based health organizations, including those run by women.

Canada can lead the way in ensuring fair access, distribution and administration of the vaccine around the world. We would like to request a meeting with you or your designate to discuss how we can work together towards achieving the goals outlined in this letter, including the development of a matching fund for any donations made towards the purchase of global vaccines, global vaccine delivery and health support systems.

Signed:

Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
Canadian Baptist Ministries
Canadian Council of Imams
Canadian Multi-faith Federation
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
Congrégation de Notre-Dame
Human Concern International
International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF)
Intriciti
Islamic Relief Canada
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
La fondation Anne Sophie Musique
Mennonite Central Committee
Millennium Kids
National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee
Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada / Emergency Relief and Development Overseas The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Primates Fund for World Relief and Development
Reform Jewish Community of Canada
Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations- Canada
The United Church of Canada

Cc:

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Karina Gould, Minister of International Cooperation
Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade
Hon. Patty Hadju, Minister of Health
Hon. Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Hon. Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
Hon. Erin O’Toole, Leader of the Official Opposition
Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
M. Yves-François Blanchet, Chef du Bloc Québécois
Ms. Annamie Paul, Leader, Green Party of Canada
Michael Chong, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs Conservative Party of Canada Heather McPherson, New Democratic Party Critic for International Development
Jack Harris, Critic for Foreign Affairs New Democratic Party
Stephane Bergeron, Critic for Foreign Affairs Bloc Quebecois
Hon. Raquel Dancho, Official Opposition Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Conservative Party of Canada
Christine Normandin, Bloc Critic for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
Jenny Kwan, NPD Critic for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
Tracy Gray, Official Opposition Critic, Export Promotion and Trade, Conservative Party of Canada
Garnett Genuis, Official Opposition Critic, International Development and Human Rights, Conservative Party of Canada
Stéphane Bergeron, Bloc Critic for Foreign Affairs
Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, Bloc Critic for International Trade
Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Bloc Critic for Francophonie and International Cooperation Daniel Blaikie, NDP Critic for Export Promotion and International Trade


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