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British Columbia Becomes First Province to Make Prescription Contraception Free

A range of contraceptive methods: contraceptive pills, emergency contraception, IUD, vaginal ring, implant

British Columbia is set to become the first province in Canada to offer free prescription contraception to all of its residents, as Global News reports. To quote Lizzo, it’s about damn time!

According to Finance Minister Katrine Conroy, the program will offer free prescription contraception to women, transgender and non-binary people as of April 1, 2023. Through the new program, B.C. will fully cover prescription contraception options like contraceptive injections, most oral hormone pills, Plan B (AKA the morning-after pill), subdermal implants and both copper and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Related: What you need to know about every contraception method available in Canada.

Although the program is anticipated to cost $119 million over three years, it will make a huge impact for individuals that use prescription contraception.

“We know cost varies, but it really adds up for someone who pays $25 a month for birth control pills,” Conroy reportedly told the British Columbia legislature.

In fact, Conroy estimates that the program would add up to approximately $300 a year in savings per person, meaning it could reach as much as $10,000 in savings over a lifetime for just one person.

“Mr. Speaker, as a mom of two daughters and five granddaughters, I know the effect this is going to have on people’s lives in our province,” Conroy said.

“This is a win for health and it’s a win for gender equity in our province,” Conroy adds. “And it’s about time. The days of passing down these costs to women, trans and non-binary people are coming to an end.”

Chair of the AccessBC campaign for free prescription contraception Teale Phelps Bondaroff told The Canadian Press that free prescription contraception not only makes life more affordable, but it also results in better health outcomes for children and mothers. Plus, Bondaroff anticipates that it will save the government millions of dollars annually.

While there are still a lot of moves to be made to improve access to sexual and reproductive health care, Bondaroff hopes that British Columbia “will become a beacon of hope for reproductive justice across Canada and North America.”


You may also like: Period poverty: Everything you need to know about menstrual equity.

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