In response to today’s announcement that the Canadian government is ready to discuss proposals on a waiver for intellectual property (IP) protection for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS, Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy and Campaigns said the following:
Canada’s statement released today by Minister Ng confirming their readiness to discuss the TRIPS waiver is a step in the right direction, but what the world needs is a full backing by Canada to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. This waiver will pave the way for increasing the global supply of vaccines and will fundamentally alter the trajectory for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to escape the depths of the pandemic.
Today’s statement by the Government of Canada continues their wait and see approach and downplays IP as a barrier to supply problems. Thus, Canada continues to prioritize profits over public health.
Over the past year, nurses, doctors, Nobel Laureates, former heads of state, artists, economists, public health activists and more than two million people from around the world have rallied together to call on Prime Minister Trudeau to reassert Canada’s moral and public leadership on the world stage.
Considering the US, New Zealand, France and Spain have confirmed their support, Canada must stand on the right side of history and follow suit. The Government must show leadership by supporting a waiver of intellectual property rules and insisting on the transfer of technologies through the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. The waiver must apply not just to vaccines, but to all COVID-19 related technologies.
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