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Press Release - April 15, 2024

AccessBC Campaign Awarded Jack Layton Progress Prize!


The AccessBC Campaign has been awarded the Jack Layton Progress Prize at the Broadbent Institute’s 2024 Progress Summit, held in Ottawa, April 10-12. The grassroots campaign and its co-founders, Devon Black and Teale Phelps Bondaroff, were recognized for their work successfully advocating for free prescription contraception in BC.

The prize is named for the late Jack Layton, who served as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada from 2003 to 2011, and it is awarded annually to an individual or organization who has run a particularly noteworthy political or issue campaign reflecting the ideals exemplified by Layton, including justice, sustainability and democracy.


“AccessBC is truly an example of the best of what we can be. They are the Layton legacy — the legacy of how a community can come together, how we can organize to support each other. How we can lift up new leaders, and how they can guide all of us, working together to fight for a better Canada for everyone. How we can move forward. How we can build power. And that was Jack’s call to action and our shared project to build together,” said Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, who presented the award.

Black and Phelps Bondaroff co-founded the AccessBC Campaign in 2017. The campaign started out as a conversation between friends at a kitchen table, and together, the two grew AccessBC into a team of over 80 volunteers across the province. Over the course of 6 years, AccessBC launched numerous letter writing campaigns, lobbied politicians, put up billboards, and secured endorsements from 36 BC municipalities, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), as well as numerous civil society groups and organizations.

In April 2023, British Columbia became the first province to make prescription contraception free. This policy covered a wide range of contraceptives, including pills, injections, implants, IUDs, and emergency contraception. In March 2024, Manitoba adopted a similar policy, and the recently-announced national pharmacare plan will begin with universal coverage for prescription contraception, as well as diabetes medication. 

AccessBC has helped spur a national movement. There are active campaigns advocating for free prescription contraception in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. 

Watch full video of award presentation here.

Phelps Bondaroff and Black with Jack Layton Progress Prize at Progress Summit - Credit Acc

“In British Columbia we've seen how impactful free contraception has been, with more than 188,000 people able to access this basic healthcare since the policy was implemented,” said Devon Black. “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.”

“At a time when we see reproductive rights being eroded around the world, it is inspiring to see BC, and soon Canada, become beacons of hope for reproductive justice,” said Phelps Bondaroff, AccessBC co-founder and campaign chair. “I am so grateful to all of our amazing AccessBC volunteers for their tireless work and dedication, and I am proud to see this work recognized through the Jack Layton Progress Prize.”

Black and Phelps Bondaroff on Parliament Hill, with giant outreach IUDs - Credit AccessBC.
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