Free Prescription Medication for Children and Youth

Northern Ontario Families to Benefit from New Universal Drug Program

May 11, 2017

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at One Kids Place in North Bay today to discuss how Ontario’s new OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare Program will help children and their families.

As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario announced that it is moving to make prescription medications free for everyone 24 years of age and younger, regardless of family income.

Beginning January 1, 2018, the proposed program will provide free prescription medications for more than four million children and young people, helping families who may not have access to comprehensive drug benefit plans. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.

Beyond the most common prescriptions, OHIP+ will give children and young people access to more than 4,400 drugs reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, including medications funded through the Exceptional Access Program, at no cost. Medications that will be covered include asthma inhalers, antibiotics, drugs to treat depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oral contraceptives.

Ontario’s drug funding program is already one of the country’s most generous, helping to pay for 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 young people and families is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is investing an additional $7 billion in health care over the next three years.
  • Ontario is investing an additional $10 million in the Northern Health Travel Program. It helps patients with costs associated with receiving care outside their communities.
  • As part of Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan, Ontario is investing nearly $222 million over three years — followed by sustained funding of $104.5 million annually — to address health inequities in northern Indigenous communities and across the province.
  • Prescription medications will be covered through OHIP+ if they are listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary/Comparative Drug Index or if they are funded through the Exceptional Access Program.
Additional Resources


“As more jobs move away from traditional health benefit plans, too many people are struggling to pay for the prescription medications their families need to stay healthy. As the first universal pharmacare program for children and youth in Canada, OHIP+ will give more families peace of mind and make life more affordable for them.”

Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

“Ontario is the first Canadian province to introduce universal pharmacare for children and youth. Through OHIP+, we are making health care more affordable for families and providing access to prescription medications that will help millions of young people grow healthy and strong.”

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


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