B.C.’s free birth control program begins April 1

Starting April 1, prescription birth control will be free of charge in B.C.

A long-debated topic in the province and an election promise in 2020, the move to make prescription birth control free was announced in Budget 2023.

Premier David Eby says the program covers various contraception options, including IUDs, hormonal injections, and Plan B.

“What your physician or nurse practitioner or you and your pharmacist discuss and decide is best for you is what will be covered. And if there are areas that need to be covered, additions, we’ll always be looking at that as technology improves and options improve for people who need birth control,” Eby said Friday in Vancouver.

“It’s so straightforward: You get your prescription for birth control … you take it to the pharmacy and you get your prescription and that’s it, you don’t pay.”

The budget, unveiled in Victoria in February, sets aside $119 million over three years for the program.

Eby notes in addition to making birth control free, the province is also changing how you can get a prescription.

“One of the important initiatives related to this is that a pharmacist will be able to prescribe many of these types of contraception to you and there are very few small communities in the province that don’t have access to a pharmacist. So that’s one way that we’re making sure this service is more available,” he said.

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On Saturday, B.C. will become “the first jurisdiction in Canada to make prescription contraception free to all its residents.”

The premier says the goal is to help “bring down the cost of daily living” for British Columbians.

“This is a widely available initiative through a number of different prescribers. There are certain types of birth control that do require a physician or nurse practitioner or a nurse, things like IUDs, so we have a number of different clinics available across the province, sexual health clinics, where you can get those kind of services. You don’t need access to a family doctor — we know not everyone has a family doctor. We have an important initiative to get more British Columbians family doctors, but don’t let that stand in the way of going to a sexual health clinic in your community to access this important service,” Eby said.

-With files from OMNI News

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