BUDGET 2023: Free prescription birth control in BC begins in April

Feb 28 2023, 9:52 pm

Starting on April 1, 2023, British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide free prescription contraception.

BC Finance Minister Katrine Conroy announced the launch of this service today in her 2023 provincial budget speech.

She says this will result in $300 in savings annually for people who pay $25 per month in birth control pills, and as much as $10,000 in savings over their lifetime.

It will fully cover prescription products, copper IUDs, and Plan B.

“As the mother of two daughters and five granddaughters, I know the effect this is going to have on people’s lives in our province,” said Conroy during her speech.

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

The provincial budget sets aside about $119 million over the next three fiscal years for the free prescription contraception program, including $39 million in 2023/2024, $46 million in 2024/2025, and $33 million in 2025/2026.

To better ensure the program can be accessed with ease, the provincial government is working with regulators to expand the ability of pharmacists to prescribe medications, including contraception, by this spring.

The provincial government’s new cost coverage program for free prescription contraception follows growing calls for such a program in recent years.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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