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Questions and Answers

It’s Confidential! What Ages you can get Birth Control, Abortions, or other Healthcare Without your Parents

After you turn 14, you can get medical care like birth control, STI tests, and abortions without your parents finding out. It’s confidential and you don’t need their permission! This is true for…

Confidentiality means that your parents or guardians won’t find out what you talked about and they can’t see your medical file.

If you’re 13 or younger, the law says you need your guardians’ permission to see a doctor, get a prescription, or have an abortion. But there are ways for you to get some of these!

When they can tell your guardians

If you’re 14 – 17, doctors need to tell guardians if you stay in a hospital or social services institution for more than 12 hours. If it’s under 12 hours, it’s still confidential.

Longer hospital stays mostly happen after major surgeries. It’s rare to stay that long after a routine check-up or a minor procedure.

People who get abortions rarely need to stay at a hospital after. Abortions are very safe and they usually take about 10 minutes. Even if you need time to recover, there’s a very low chance that you’ll stay over 12 hours.

Some clinics might leave a voicemail about an appointment or results. If you’re worried someone will hear them, you can ask any clinic not to leave you voicemails. Some clinics also ask if it’s ok.

If you’re 18 or over, your healthcare is always confidential. It doesn’t matter how long you stay at a hospital.

When you can’t make medical decisions alone

If you’re between 14 and 17, the law says you need your guardians’ permission for….

  • Any a risky or dangerous treatment
  • Treatment that could have serious and permanent effects on your body

This means that 14-17 year old trans or non-binary people who want gender confirmation surgery need parents’ permission. But a doctor doesn’t need guardians’ permission to prescribe hormones.

What about getting drugs at a pharmacy?

If you get a prescription for a drug like birth control, STI treatment, or hormones from a doctor or nurse, you’ll need to pick up the medication at a pharmacy. You might need to pay for it too.

A lot of people use health insurance to pay less for their prescriptions or even get them for free! This insurance is different from RAMQ medicare.

If you use your guardians’ private insurance, there’s a chance they could see the charge on their bill. But if you use their Public Prescription Drug Plan, it’s confidential when you’re over 14.  If you’re not sure what you have, you can ask a pharmacy if you’re on the public plan and give them your RAMQ card.

One exception is the abortion pill, which is also called a medical abortion. You only need a RAMQ medical card to get it for free and it’s confidential if you’re over 14.

If you’re under 14, confidentiality is complicated!

If you’re under 14, you need permission from a parent or guardian to get an appointment, procedure, or prescription. Your confidentiality is not protected. That means that your parents or guardians can ask a doctor, nurse or therapist to tell them what you talked about. They can also ask to read your medical file or see the results of STI tests.

One way to protect your confidentiality is by choosing a clinic that lets you stay anonymously, This means they won’t ask for your name and it’s not attached to your record. Unfortunately, only a few clinics let you stay anonymous. The Head & Hands clinic can see you anonymously if you’re 12 or 13.

Abortions and people under 14

If you’re pregnant and you’re under 14, the law says that your parents or guardians get to decide if you can get an abortion. They still have to keep your best interest in mind and listen to what you want. This situation can be hard, and it may help to talk about it with friends or an adult you trust, like a nurse or a councilor.

If you and your guardians disagree on what’s best for you, you can ask a court to make the decision. Judges can let people get or avoid abortions if they’re under 14, even if the parents or guardians disagree.

More info:

  • Medical Decisions between 14 and 17 – Educaloi

    This page explains the rules surrounding privacy and confidentiality  for people between 14 and 17.

  • Abortion (law in Canada) – Educaloi

    Details on the law in Canadian around abortion, including ages when parents don’t need to approve.

  • Medical Decisions Under 14 – Educaloi

    This page explains the rules surrounding privacy and confidentiality  for people under 14. It talks about situations when a permission from a judge can be asked, when it’s in the best interest of the person.

  • Head & Hands Health Services

    Head & Hands is a health clinic for youth ages 12-25 near the Vendome metro station. They offer free, anonymous STD testing, even if you’re not covered by RAMQ. Head & Hands also has a lot of other services, including medical check ups, getting contraception, transitioning, and more.

    They offer a walk-in clinic on most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4:45pm. Everyone who comes in for the clinic is given a name card and entered into a draw. At 5:00pm, they draw 10 names to decide who sees the doctor.

    They recommend bringing your Medicare card if you have it, but you can still see someone if you don’t have it.