The CCPA has joined hundreds of civil society organizations and individuals in urging WTO member governments to support a proposal from South Africa and India for a TRIPS Waiver. In October 2020, the countries jointly called for the suspension of the implementation, application and enforcement of certain WTO TRIPS obligations (regarding patents, copyright, industrial design, and protection of undisclosed information) for the treatment, prevention and containment of COVID-19. This temporary initiative would help facilitate a truly global, public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the current WTO intellectual property rights regime impedes. 

Despite enjoying widespread support from over 100 WTO member governments, no consensus on the waiver proposal has yet been reached at the WTO TRIPS Council. Canada has joined a handful of high-income countries led by the U.S. and the EU in either opposing or creating obstacles to agreement on the waiver. Talks continued on the proposal into May, when the U.S. announced it would support a WTO negotiation on the waiver. Canadian civil society groups hope to convince the Canadian government to change its position and support the waiver too.

COVID-19 waiver letter resources