Accessing Birth Control on Your Own Terms
Once you have chosen a birth control method you think will work for you, the next step is to actually get it. You may have questions such as: Can I get birth control without anyone finding out? Do I have to be a certain age? Do I need a prescription? Do I need a health card?
This page provides answers to some basic questions that should help you find and access your birth control method of choice.
Can I get birth control without anyone finding out?
- Yes. You do not need permission from a parent or guardian to get birth control. In fact, it is unethical and illegal for clinic workers or health care providers to tell your parents/guardians you were even at the clinic. The agreement to keep your visit private is called a confidentiality agreement.
Do I have to be a certain age to get birth control?
- There is no age limit for accessing any form of birth control including condoms.
- You need to have started your period to safely use hormonal methods.
Where can I get a prescription?
- You can get a prescription for birth control from your health care provider, from a sexual health clinic, or from Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services.
- Some walk-in clinics will also provide prescriptions for birth control.
- If you don’t have OHIP it is still possible for you to get a prescription from Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services.
Useful tip: Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services offers TTC tokens to clients who need help with getting to and from the clinic. They also provide birth control at a reduced cost. Just ask at the front desk!
Will I need to have an internal exam?
- Diaphragms and IUDs must be fitted by a health care provider who will also do an internal and external pelvic exam.
- Some health care providers may ask you to have a Pap test before they will prescribe hormonal birth control. For more information on the Pap test, check out Pap test 101.
How do I pay for birth control?
- If you have benefits from a drug plan (or a parent/guardian’s drug plan) that will cover some or all of the cost, you may choose to go to a drug store to fill a birth control prescription.
- Some sexual health clinics provide birth control at a lower cost than drug stores.
- Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services offers free condoms as well as birth control options at a reduced rate.
- For more information about the cost of birth control, check the page for each method.
Where can I get non-hormonal birth control?
- Drug stores and some sexual health clinics sell or provide non-hormonal birth control such as condoms and VCFs.
- Condoms: You can usually get free external male (external) condoms at clinics, community centres and schools. Female (internal) condoms are sometimes available too. You can also buy them at drug stores,, variety stores, grocery stores, and sex stores. Free female (internal) condoms are sometimes available at sexual health clinics or drug stores.
- Sponge: Only Shoppers Drug Mart carries the sponge in Ontario. You don’t need a prescription to get one.
- VCF: Vaginal contraceptive film (VCF) can be bought at a drug store. Some clinics like Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services sell it at a reduced cost. You don’t need a prescription.
- IUD: Copper IUDs (which are non-hormonal) can be bought at a drug store or at some sexual health clinics for a reduced cost. You will need a prescription and you will have to go back to a clinic to have the IUD inserted.
- Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM): It is best that you set up an appointment with a professional FAM consultant before you rely on this method. You can contact the Red Tent Sisters for a consultation or sign up for the FAM workshop waitlist at the Hassle Free Clinic.
Where can I get emergency contraception like Plan B?
- You can buy Plan B for $30-40 at a drug store without a prescription. A pharmacist may want to talk to you about how it works and how to take it.
- You can also get Plan B for $10-15 at many clinics including Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services. Before you buy it, you’ll have to speak with a health care provider, although no appointment is required.
Useful tip: Plan ahead for Plan B! Talk to your health care provider about getting Plan B in advance so that you are ready if you think you may need it in the future. Make sure you check the expiry date before you use it.