Is Birth Control Free in Canada?

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on 7 August 2023

British Columbia recently became the first province in Canada to make birth control free for its residents. However, not all Canadian provinces offer access to free birth control.

So do you know what your provincial health insurance coverage is for birth control? Do you know how and where you can buy it? Are you eligible to buy it? We've got your covered.

In this definitive guide, you will find everything you need to know about birth control in Canada, the coverage provided by public healthcare programs, where to buy birth control pills, and more.

5 Key takeaways on Birth Control in Canada

  1. Birth control in Canada varies from one province to another.
  2. British Columbia offers free contraception for many prescription methods.
  3. Ontario provides free birth control through OHIP+ and ODB for those under 25, while others may need private coverage.
  4. Alberta's birth control is not generally covered, requiring out-of-pocket payments.
  5. Private health insurance is recommended for comprehensive coverage.

How much is birth control in Canada?

Certain forms of birth control are available for free or at low cost in Canada through various programs and initiatives. However, it's essential to note that the availability and coverage of free birth control may vary depending on the province or territory, as well as the specific type of contraceptive method.

In some provinces, like Ontario, there are public drug benefit programs that provide subsidised or fully covered birth control for eligible individuals. Additionally, some provinces have expanded access to free prescription contraceptives through pharmacies, allowing individuals with a valid health card to access certain birth control methods at no cost.

How much is birth control without insurance in Canada?

The cost of birth control without insurance in Canada can vary depending on the specific type of contraceptive method. Here are some approximate price ranges for common birth control options:

Birth Control MethodApproximate Cost without Insurance (Per Month/Per Unit)
Oral Contraceptives (Pills)
$20 to $50
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
$50 to $400
Birth Control Patches
$20 to $50
Birth Control Injections
$30 to $150
$1 to $2
Birth Control in Canada

Good to know

Please note that these are approximate price ranges and may vary based on factors such as the specific brand, pharmacy, and location. It's always best to check with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.

Now that you know private health insurance is important, you don't have to look further than our comparator below that gives you information on prices, coverage, and also gets you quotes from the best health insurances in Canada.

Compare The Best Health Insurance Plans in Seconds


Is birth control free in Ontario?

There are many birth control options in Ontario, but for most people, they are not free. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not pay for prescriptions or medication outside of clinical or hospital settings. However, there is free birth control available in Ontario through OHIP+ and the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB). These programs cover pills, IUDs and injectables as forms of contraception.

To qualify for OHIP+, you need to be under 25 years old, have OHIP coverage and not be covered by private health insurance.

Good to know

You don’t need to apply, enroll or register to benefit from OHIP+. You will be automatically covered if you meet the eligibility conditions.

To be covered under the ODB, you’ll need OHIP coverage and fit one of the following circumstances:

  • Have OHIP+ eligibility
  • Be 65 years old or older
  • Live in a long-term care home or a home for special care
  • Receive professional home and community care services
  • Be enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program
  • Benefit from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program

If you are not covered by OHIP+ or ODB, you will probably not have access to free birth control in Ontario. Also OHIP+ coverage will stop on your 25th birthday, or if you become covered by a private plan. When the time comes, you will be left potentially having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, unless your health insurance plan provides coverage.

Is birth control covered by OHIP?

If you live in Ontario and decide to start taking birth control, you might ask yourself, does OHIP cover birth control? and the answer might disappoint you. No, there is no such thing as OHIP birth control coverage. However, in Ontario, your birth control needs might be covered under OHIP+ or the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB).

For many Ontarians, birth control is free when they start taking it because birth control in Ontario is covered by OHIP+ for those aged under 25. However, after your 25th birthday, contraception becomes an out-of-pocket expense if you don’t benefit from a drug plan. The idea is that, at that age, most people have secured private insurance and drug coverage through their employment. In today’s economy, though, that is not the case for many.

The ODB’s list of requirements is slightly more extensive. It’s for those over the age of 65, living in long-term care or a home for special care, receiving professional care services or enrolled in one of the following:

  • Trillium Drug Program
  • Ontario Works (OW)
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

For everyone else, the Ontario government does not pay for birth control.

Good to know

OHIP+ and ODB only cover pills, IUDs and injectables as forms of birth control. It does not cover other products, such as implants, contraceptive rings and patches.

Are IUDs covered by OHIP?

IUDs, or hormonal intra-uterine contraception devices, are part of the birth control options in Ontario that are covered by OHIP+ and the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB).

The (IUD) is an option many Ontarians desire. It is 99.8% effective at preventing pregnancy and remains effective for 5 years. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. At $410, that’s a lot of money to pay upfront for contraception.

Luckily, IUD brands Kyleena and Mirena are covered in Ontario. You will need a prescription from your clinician, and then all you need is to secure your IUD at a pharmacy or sexual health clinic and schedule an appointment to get it inserted.

Are birth control pills covered by OHIP?

Birth control pills in Ontario can be covered by a government plan, depending on your circumstances. Two types of birth control pills are called the pill. The first is a combination of estrogen and progestin, and the second is progestin-only. Regardless of which type you take, you must take one pill every day at the same time, and this method is 91% effective against pregnancy.

Depending on which particular brand you take, the pill will cost around $21 to $45 per pill or $252 to $540 per year. For people with a valid Ontario Health Card who are also under the age of 25, the cost of birth control pills in Ontario is covered by the provincial government.

In addition, if you are enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program or benefit from Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the pill will also be covered, even after the age of 25.

Emergency oral contraception, known as the morning-after pill can be used after unprotected intercourse as a contraceptive method for emergencies. The most popular brands in Canada are Plan B® and Ella®, which reduce pregnancy risk by about 75% if taken properly. Plan B® is covered by OHIP+, and you can get it over-the-counter, or without a prescription.

How much is birth control in Ontario?

The birth control cost in Ontario will vary significantly from method to method.

Here is a table with the most common birth control options and their cost in Ontario:

Birth control typePriceAnnual costFive-year cost
$21 - $45/month$252 - $540$1,260 - $2,700
Hormonal IUD
Copper IUD
Price birth control Ontario

How to get birth control pills in Ontario?

In Ontario, the first step to getting birth control pills is getting a prescription. To get a prescription, you’ll need a valid Ontario health card. You can get a prescription from:

  • Your family doctor
  • A sexual health clinic
  • A walk-in clinic
  • An online doctor’s appointment

Expert advice

Only a healthcare provider will have the knowledge to choose the right pill for you. They will also monitor you to make sure you aren’t experiencing any harmful side effects.

Can I get birth control from a walk-in clinic in Ontario?

Yes, you can, but it’ll depend on the clinic. You’ll need your Ontario Health Card, and any walk-in clinic will be equipped to provide a prescription for birth control. Many walk-in clinics even carry birth control options in Ontario. Some may have condoms, emergency oral contraception and more. If they don’t offer the birth control method itself, all you’ll need to do is go to any pharmacy with your prescription, and you’re good to go.

Expert advice

Sexual health clinics might be even better equipped for the one-stop birth control experience. Many provide prescriptions and offer the method themselves. Some sexual health clinics don’t even require the Ontario Health Card.

Is birth control free in BC?

Since April 1, 2023, there has been free birth control in BC for dozens of prescription contraceptive methods readily available to British Columbia residents.

Birth control methodCovered?
Copper IUDs
Hormonal IUDs
Hormone implant
Hormone injection
Oral contraceptives (the pill)
Emergency oral contraceptives (the morning-after pill)
Cervical caps
Birth control diaphragm
Birth control sponge
BC birth control, what is covered

You do not have to register or fill out any forms to be covered. All you need to do is take your prescription and BC Services Card to any pharmacy. Note that emergency oral contraceptives (the morning-after pill) do not require a prescription.

Expert advice

Condoms are often available for free at sexual health clinics. These clinics also offer valuable information and counselling on sexual health topics and answer any questions you may have, making them an essential resource.

Does MSP cover birth control?

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services but doesn’t really apply to medication. PharmaCare is BC’s publicly funded program that supports BC residents by paying for many prescription drugs, medical supplies and pharmacy services.

PharmaCare covers many birth control options such as birth control pills and the implant in BC. Coverage is universal, which means any British Columbia resident enrolled in MSP who needs birth control gets a prescription and the contraceptive for free (even for non-contraceptive reasons like preventing osteoporosis).

How much is birth control in BC?

The cost of contraception varies significantly, depending on which method you choose. However, in British Columbia, you can expect to pay around $240 a year for oral contraceptives (the pill) —the most popular contraceptive in BC— and about $180 a year for hormone injections. Longer-lasting methods such as IUDs last about 5 years and can cost from $75 to $500, though the cheaper ones are made of copper which carries additional risks.

For BC residents, many birth control options are free. All you need is a birth control prescription and your BC Services Card, and any pharmacy can fulfill your needs.

Expert advice

You can even secure a prescription for birth control online in BC. Look for an online sexual health clinic or doctor’s office, and they should be able to help you.

How to get birth control pills in BC?

Getting birth control pills in BC is simple. If you want your birth control to be free, you must be a BC resident and have a BC Services Card, but regardless of your coverage, you’ll need a birth control prescription to get the pill in BC.

You can get a prescription for a contraceptive from any doctor, nurse practitioner or midwife, and soon pharmacists will also be able to prescribe contraceptives. Make sure to ask for a prescription that PharmaCare covers fully.

At the pharmacy, you can ask them to dispense as much as 3 months' worth of birth control pills.

Expert advice

If your prescription is for a contraceptive that is not covered by PharmaCare, ask the pharmacist if they can change it to an equivalent prescription that is free. This shouldn’t be an issue.

Is birth control free in Alberta?

Unfortunately for most people, birth control options in Alberta are not free. Birth control cost in Alberta is largely covered by private health insurance, and the provincial government offers limited coverage for young people unable to afford birth control. However, eligibility is restrictive and you might still have to pay a portion of the contraceptive, around 30%.

You may be able to secure free birth control in Alberta through some sexual health clinics that offer free condoms.

Is birth control covered by Alberta Health?

The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, or AHCIP, is the publicly administered and funded health care system run by Alberta Health Services (AHS), an integrated health system that is responsible for delivering health services to Alberta residents.

AHCIP provides a number of essential health services to Albertans, but many still choose to get private health coverage to supplement it. For example, birth control is not covered for the majority of Albertans.

How much does birth control cost in Alberta?

The cost of birth control in Alberta is largely the same as in other Canadian provinces. Oral contraceptives (the pill) cost about $240 a year and hormone injections are $180 a year. Some methods are cheaper in the long run. For example, the IUD cost in Alberta ranges from $75 to $500 but lasts for about 5 years. The birth control implant in Alberta costs $300 to 350.

The IUD and the pill are the most common forms of birth control in Alberta.

How to get birth control pills in Alberta?

The procedure for getting birth control pills in Alberta is similar to other provinces. You’ll need to get a prescription, either from your doctor or a walk-in clinic or a sexual health clinic. With your prescription, go to any pharmacy, and they will be able to fill your order. For most people, birth control pills will not be covered by a provincial health plan.

Good to know

You can get condoms, sponges, and spermicides in drugstores without a prescription. The emergency morning-after pill does not require a prescription either and is readily available in pharmacies or sexual health clinics.

What are the various birth control pills in Canada?

Here are a few popular birth control pill brands in Canada. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other birth control pill brands available in Canada.

  • Alesse
  • Apri
  • Aviane
  • Diane-35
  • Estrostep Fe
  • Jolessa
  • Loestrin Fe
  • Lo Loestrin Fe
  • Micronor
  • Minastrin 24 Fe
  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen
  • Seasonale
  • Seasonique
  • Tri-Cyclen
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz

While Canadian provincial insurances cover birth control partially or completely, having a private health insurance plan will give you a significant cover with added benefits for a host of other ailments and treatments.

While choosing the right health insurance plan may not be easy, you could use our tool to get quick quotes and info on prices, coverage, from the best health insurance providers in Canada. You won't have to reveal sensitive personal details either. All you need to do is put in basic information on what you're looking for and you get quotes in no time.

Compare The Best Health Insurance Plans in Seconds


What are the FAQs on birth control in Canada?

How to get birth control pills in Canada?

You can obtain birth control pills by visiting a healthcare provider, family planning or sexual health clinics, or utilising telemedicine services. Once prescribed, you can purchase the pills at pharmacies. Some public health clinics and university health services also offer birth control consultations and prescriptions.

Access to birth control may vary by province, and some regions may provide free or subsidized options based on income or age. Remember to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable birth control method for you.

When was birth control legalised in Canada?

Birth control was legalised in Canada in 1969. The government amended the Criminal Code on May 14, 1969, to permit the use of contraceptives. Prior to that, contraception was considered illegal, and the sale and distribution of contraceptives were restricted. The legalisation of birth control marked a significant milestone in women's reproductive rights in Canada.

How old do you have to be to get birth control in Canada?

There is no specific legal age requirement for obtaining birth control in Canada. Access to birth control varies depending on the province or territory and the specific type of contraceptive method. In most provinces and territories, individuals can typically access birth control without parental consent at any age.

In some cases, minors (those under 18) may require a prescription from a healthcare provider to access certain forms of birth control, such as oral contraceptives. However, there are also over-the-counter options, such as condoms, that do not require a prescription and can be obtained without any age restrictions.

How much is implant birth control in Canada?

There is arm implant birth control available in Canada. The contraceptive implant, known as Nexplanon, is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It provides effective birth control for up to three years.

Nexplanon is not covered by AHCIP, OHIP, and MSP although coverage might be available for specific conditions or circumstances. Without insurance, the cost of the contraceptive implant can range from approximately $300 to $500.

Is there male birth control in Canada?

The male birth control Canada options include condoms and vasectomy. Vasectomy is generally covered by most provincial health insurance plans in Canada, including OHIP, MSP, and AHCIP. Male hormonal birth control options (such as male contraceptive pills or injections) are still undergoing research and development and not yet widely available in Canada.

Can I get over the counter birth control pills in Canada?

There are no over-the-counter birth control pills in Canada. In Canada, all oral contraceptive pills require a prescription from a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner. To obtain birth control pills in Canada, you will need to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider, who will assess your medical history and determine if oral contraceptives are a suitable option for you.

What are options for non hormonal birth control in Canada?

Non-hormonal birth control options in Canada include barrier methods like condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, along with the copper intrauterine device (IUD). Fertility awareness-based methods, withdrawal, tubal ligation, and vasectomy are other non-hormonal options.

These methods offer choices for individuals who prefer contraception without synthetic hormones, providing varying levels of effectiveness and considerations. OHIP, MSP, and AHCIP do not provide coverage for non-hormonal birth control methods like condoms, diaphragms, or copper IUDs for general contraceptive purposes.

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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.