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Free Prescription Medications for Children and Youth through OHIP

Ontario to Provide the First Universal Drug Program of its Kind in Canada in 2018

RICHMOND HILL – York Region MPPs Michael Chan, Steven Del Duca, Dr. Helena Jaczek, Reza Moridi and Chris Ballard are pleased to announce that as part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is giving children and youth a better start in life by moving to make prescription medications free through the new OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare Program.

Beginning January 1, 2018, all children and youth 24 years of age or younger will be able to get their prescription medications for free by simply showing their Ontario health card number and a prescription. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.

The proposed new program will improve access to prescription medications for more than four million children and young people, and will help many families to afford the medications their children need to stay healthy.

Beyond the most common prescriptions, OHIP+ will give young people access to more than 4,400 drugs reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, including medications listed under the Exceptional Access Program, at no cost. These include drugs to treat cancer and rare diseases.

Ontario’s drug funding program is already one of the country’s most generous, helping to pay for needed prescription medications for seniors, people with high drug costs, and other vulnerable populations. Ontario is investing $465 million to expand coverage through OHIP+.

Making prescription medications more affordable for families is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


“This is a watershed moment for healthcare in Ontario. As the first Canadian province or territory to introduce universal pharmacare for children and youth, we are making sure that every young person across the province has access to the medications they need to stay healthy, feel better and live full lives. We are easing parents’ worries, while making life more affordable for them.”

–– Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

“The OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare program – the first of its kind in Canada – will make a significant difference for Ontarians. By providing free prescription medications to everyone 24 and under, we are easing financial burden for families and ensuring our province’s youth will always be able to afford the prescriptions they need.”

–– Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill

“Ontario is the first province in Canada to provide free prescription medication for children and youth. The new OHIP+: Pharmacare Program will help alleviate the financial burden families face when dealing with their health care needs.”

–– Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan

“There is nothing in the world more important to us as parents than our kids. And there’s nothing that worries us more than trying to keep them safe. Ontario’s new OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare program ensures that, even in tough times, parents can have the peace of mind of knowing their kids will always be covered – no matter the cost.”

–– Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora

“Once again, our government is leading the way and inspiring other provinces with innovative programs that help people in their everyday lives.  I am so proud of our new OHIP+ initiative and the relief it will bring to families in Markham-Unionville and across Ontario who are coping with the health concerns of their youngest loved ones.”

— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

“Ontario is witnessing a transformative time in our province’s health care system.  The new OHIP+: Pharmacare Program will lift the burden and financial stress many families go through when trying to access affordable prescription drugs for their children.”  

Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham

“The Children and Youth Pharmacare program is the first universal drug program in Canada for youth 24 and under, providing access to prescription drugs to over four million young people. By eliminating financial barriers to prescribed drugs, it will improve access, lead to healthier lives for our children and youth, and is a major step forward towards universal pharmacare.”

— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“With a growing economy and a balanced budget, we have the flexibility to make investments in key services that matter most to people. Providing universal pharmacare to Ontario children and youth is an important investment in our future and it’s the right thing to do.”

— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance


  • Once this program is implemented, Ontario will be the first province to provide universal prescription medication coverage for children and youth 24 and under.
  • To ensure a smooth transition to public drug coverage, the province will work with Ontario Works administrators, the federal government and Indigenous leaders.
  • Ontario will also work with representatives from the private insurance industry to ensure that any savings are passed on to employees and employers.
  • Prescription medications will be covered if they are listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit formulary or if they are funded through the Exceptional Access Program formulary and requested by a doctor.
  • Ontario is investing an additional $7 billion in health care over the next three years. With these new investments, growth in health spending will now average 3.3 per cent over the medium term.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville  905-305-1935

Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham  905-294-4931

Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill  905-884-8080

Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan  905-893-4428

Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora  905-750-0019

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