Squamish council unanimously supported a motion asking the province to provide free contraception prescription under the BC Medical Services Plan.
The motion was passed on Tuesday, September 1, after AccessBC members appeared before the council to seek support for the plan.
This makes Squamish the fifth municipality to endorse universal, no cost coverage of prescription contraception in the province, following similar motions in Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, and most recently, Kimberley.
A second motion to consider wider availability of menstrual products in public washrooms as part of the budget for 2021 also passed unanimously.
“I am elated to see Squamish council pass this motion,” said Lisa Jensen, a local teacher and member of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception.
“I am proud that the Squamish municipality has not only endorsed AccessBC’s policy, but also encouraged and passed a second motion to discuss increasing access to menstrual products in the 2021 budget,” she said.
Acting Mayor Chris Pettingill said the council is encouraged to see the Province speaking to equity as a key principle in its allocation of recovery funding.
“We join other municipal voices to urge them to support this important issue that women unequally bear,” he said.
Currently, an intrauterine device (IUD) can cost $75 to $380, oral contraceptive pills can cost $20 per month, and hormone injections as much as $180 per year.
These costs are a significant barrier in accessing contraception for many people in BC, and makes it much harder for B.C. residents to freely make their own reproductive choices, AccessBC said.