Petition Calls for Free Birth Control in Canada

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Four months after free birth control became a reality in British Columbia, a new petition is calling for federal coverage of contraception.

The official House of Commons Petition (E-4516) opened for signatures on July 27 and is backed by Liberal Member of Parliament George Chahal of Alberta.

It urges the Government of Canada to take immediate action by committing to a federal policy for universal contraception coverage by World Contraception Day on September 26, 2023. This initiative is viewed as an essential and symbolic first step towards achieving a comprehensive national Pharmacare program.

At the time of writing the petition has gathered more than 3,600 signatures. According to Kelly Bowden of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, their goal is to reach over 5,000 signatures before August 26th.

The official petition to the Government of Canada is also part of the national Project EmpowHER campaign seeking federal coverage of free contraception under Pharmacare.

Why free prescription birth control?

On the House of Commons website, the petition outlines the potential benefits of universal coverage of birth control in Canada.

According to the petition, a federal policy for free prescription birth control in Canada is projected to generate significant cost savings, with studies indicating potential savings of up to $9 for each $1 invested in universal contraception. The fiscal benefits are expected to materialize quickly, achieving cost neutrality within the first year and substantial net savings within two years of implementation.

The importance of reproductive rights as human rights is underscored, emphasizing the need for a consistent approach independent of changing provincial governments. This is particularly relevant as reproductive rights are currently under threat in the United States due to systematic dismantling.

Compared to 46 European nations, Canada’s universal access to contraceptive supplies, counselling, and information ranks unfavourably. While British Columbia offers full coverage, Quebec provides 80% coverage, and other provinces have uneven or limited access programs, leading to equity issues within the country.

Given Canada’s unique position as the only country with universal healthcare lacking prescription drug coverage, the introduction of a federal policy for universal contraception coverage is critical. This move will align with the Government of Canada’s commitment to implementing a national Pharmacare program, reads the petition.

Covered Birth Control in B.C.

In April, the B.C. government became the first jurisdiction in Canada to pay for prescription birth control for all residents.

The funding plans were unveiled in the provincial budget released in late February, came into effect on April 1, 2023.

CBC’s Chad Pawson reported:

“Funding of $119 million over the next three years will allow full coverage for prescription contraception. It includes oral hormone pills, contraceptive injections, hormonal and copper intrauterine devices, subdermal implants, and Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill.

“While only representing a small portion of billions of dollars in spending for health initiatives, including nearly $1 billion for mental health and addictions treatments, Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said it was a priority for her government to help residents have control over their reproductive rights…

“The province said that for a person who pays $25 a month for hormonal pills, the new free plan could save them as much as $10,000 over their lifetime.”

For more on Canadian sex tech trends, see the 2023 LoveHoney Canada Sex Map for sex toy spending behaviour by province.

Top photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

Author: Jenna Owsianik
Jenna Owsianik is a Canadian sexual health journalist and sextech business advisor. She is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Sex For Every Body®, an adult sex ed publication that celebrate sexual and body diversity. From 2014 to 2022, she was Editor-in-Chief of, the world’s leading publication on how technology is changing human sexuality, today and tomorrow. A trained journalist with a Masters of Journalism from The University of British Columbia, Jenna’s reporting has appeared on, Al Jazeera English, CTV British Columbia online, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS 60 Minutes, Global News, and CKNW Radio in Canada and the United States.

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