British Columbia

B.C. NDP promises free contraception, B.C. Liberals promise to waive medical exam fee for senior drivers

The two parties released election promises Sunday on what was an otherwise quiet day on the campaign trail.

Two parties released election promises Sunday on otherwise quiet day on campaign trail

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan, right, announces his party’s election platform in Vancouver on Oct. 6. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C.'s New Democrats are promising free prescription contraception if elected, saying the move will help residents save money.

NDP candidate Katrina Chen says the issue is about equality for women.

Chen says condoms can be found for little or no cost, and vasectomies are covered under the B.C. medical services plan, but prescription contraception is not covered.

The party says the program to provide, for example, oral contraceptive pills or intrauterine devices, will cost the government $60 million a year.

Chen says the move to make prescription contraception free is a continuation of the effort the government made to have free menstrual products in the bathrooms of all public schools.

The NDP also plans on creating a "period poverty'' task force to develop solutions for further improving access to menstrual products.

B.C. Liberals promise to waive medical exam fee for senior drivers    

The B.C. Liberals also made an announcement Sunday aimed at reducing the financial burden of British Columbians, in this case for older drivers. 

If elected, the party says it will waive the cost of the driver medical examination report, which seniors must complete at age 80 and every two years thereafter in order to keep driving. 

In a release, the Liberals said the report can cost seniors up to $200 to have it completed by a physician or nurse practitioner.

"We support the efforts to keep our roads safe but we've heard from many seniors about the added stress that comes with being forced to pay for the exams," said B.C. Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell.

"The superintendent of motor vehicles is responsible for deciding who is tested and the province should, and will cover the cost of those exams."

Currently, physicians and nurse practitioners can bill the Ministry of Health $75 for completing the report. Any cost above that is the responsibility of patients. 

With files from CBC News

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