News / Ottawa

Canada's public servants now able to pick birth control of their choice

Civil servants' health plan will cover all types of prescribed contraceptives.

The government's drug plan currently only covers the birth control pill.

Kelsey Snell / For Torstar News Service

The government's drug plan currently only covers the birth control pill.

Women in the public services will be able to pick the contraceptive of their choice after Treasury Board President Scott Brison announced a change in government rules Thursday.

Public Service Alliance of Canada president Robyn Benson raised the issue this week, highlighting that the government only covers one type of birth control, the pill.

Its employee drug plan does not currently cover intrauterine device or patches.  

In a response to a planned question about the issue from local Liberal MP Mona Fortier, Brison announced the government would look to change the issue.

“Empowering women and respecting their reproductive health rights is what we do as a government, women should have their choice of contraceptives,” he said in the house.  

Outside the house Brison said the government felt it was the right thing to do, but did not address why his office had said it would have to be handled in broader negotiations earlier this week.  

“As a government we stand behind women’s reproductive rights and it’s consistent with that, that I have asked our department to reach out,” said Brison. “It’s the right thing to do and we are going to work with the public service unions to make it so.”

In a prepared statement, Benson said the change was a significant, if overdue, one.

“All women have the right to choose the method that works best for them, instead of simply what they can afford.”

She said they view this is a basic requirement and she hopes it is not something the government is hoping to grant in exchange for some other concession.

“It is absurd that our government does not already cover any contraceptives other than the pill for federal public service workers.”

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