Skip to content

Saanich councillor wins award in Ottawa for B.C.’s free contraception campaign

Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff and Devon Black won the Jack Layton Progress Prize award for AccessBC
Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff and Devon Black won the Jack Layton Progress Prize for their work spearheading the AccessBC campaign, which successfully lobbied the provincial government to provide free prescription contraception.

A group founded by a Saanich councillor and a local sexual health advocate is being recognized at the national level for the work done by the organization to bring free prescription contraception to B.C.

Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff and AccessBC co-founder Devon Black were jointly awarded the Jack Layton Progress Prize at the Broadbent Institute’s summit in Ottawa held last week between April 10 and 12 for the organization’s successful campaign.

“AccessBC is truly an example of the best of what we can be,” said Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, who presented the award. “They are the Layton legacy — the legacy of how a community can come together, how we can organize to support each other.”

The prize is given annually to an individual or organization for running a noteworthy political or issue campaign. The work must reflect the ideals exemplified by Layton — leader of the federal NDP between 2003 and 2011 — including justice, sustainability and democracy.

AccessBC was founded in 2017, and according to a news release from the organization, it began with a conversation around a kitchen table between friends. It then grew into an organized movement with 80 volunteers orchestrating letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts and advertising drives.

The group found success in April of 2023 when the B.C. government moved to become the first province to make contraception free. This includes pills, injections, implants, IUDs and emergency contraception.

A news release from AccessBC says this has now spurred a national movement, and there are now active campaigns in six other provinces.

“With the recent federal Pharmacare announcement, we are closer than ever to making access to contraception a right for everyone in Canada, instead of just a privilege reserved for those who can pay for it,” Black said through the news release.

READ MORE: How a free contraception campaign turned into a national movement

About the Author: Mark Page

Read more