Government highlights next step to universal access to free contraceptives

March 30, 2024 – Toronto, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Today, at Snowdon Pharmacy in downtown Toronto, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, highlighted the government’s plan to rollout the first phase of national universal pharmacare—an initiative that will be a part of the upcoming Budget 2024. This plan will break down the barriers to access most prescription contraceptives and diabetes medication, while taking one step closer to achieving fairness for everyone.

With the tabling of the Pharmacare Act last month, the federal government is in the first phase of delivering a national pharmacare plan. This legislation paves the way to build a Canada that is not only equitable but more affordable for all. A national pharmacare plan means that every woman will have the right to choose if or when they would like to start a family.

The federal government recognizes that the financial cost of contraceptives, and medications for those who are diabetic, is one of the largest barriers to access. A universal pharmacare plan aims to diminish the divide between cost and need, while reducing financial barriers. It will allow for over nine million women to have better access to contraceptives, whether that is for family planning or medical treatment. This means every woman will have the ability to choose a contraceptive that is best for her, regardless of her ability to pay. In addition, improving access will help over 3.7 million Canadians who rely on diabetic medication, such as insulin, as a life-saving measure. 

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