With our history deeply routed in feminism, reproductive rights, and access to sexual health services, we have a lot to be proud of as an organization!
- Options for Sexual Health (Options) has its origins in the Society for Population Planning, founded in 1961 by a group of eight dedicated individuals (that same year, the first Planned Parenthood Association in Canada was started in Toronto).
- On the 24th of January, 1963 the Society for Population Planning received charitable status.
- The Society officially became the Family Planning Association of BC in December, 1964.
- The Association opened the first family planning clinic in the province on February 4, 1965, in a building owned by the Canadian Arthritis Society.
- At that time, the average age of our patients was 30 and 40% of them had previously used no method of birth control. The clinic received United Community Services funding for the first time in 1968.
- In February 1969, the Family Planning Association of BC received a grant from the Government of BC. Birth control was legalized six months later. More clinics were held in Public Health Units starting in 1969.
- In 1969 the Family Planning Association of BC became a founding member of the Family Planning Federation of Canada (FPFC).
- In 1971 we received our first grants to provide school based education in the Lower Mainland. This was initially delivered by nurses, then trained educators.
- 1973 saw the first sessional payments for physicians who were volunteering in the clinics and the provision of sexually transmitted infection supplies via the Province’s VD Control program.
- The FPFC in turn became the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada in 1976, affiliated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation. At that time we became the Planned Parenthood Association of BC (PPABC).
- In 1996 funding allowed us to start the Facts of Life Line, an information and referral line about all things sexual and reproductive health related.
- In 2003 we changed our name to Options for Sexual Health. This was to reflect the broader understanding, meaning and importance of sexual health and reproductive choice that the organization has helped to foster through 40 years of care and service.
- In 2005, the Ministry of Health for the Yukon requested access to our Facts of Life line.
- In 2006 we shifted the name of our Facts of Life line to Sex Sense, in part to better reflect that this was an all age’s line. At this time we also incorporated responses to emails as a part of the service.
- In 2009, in a response to an RFP through the Ministry of Health, Options took on the development of two Advanced Certified Practice courses for nurses; one related to contraception and another focused on Sexually Transmitted Infections. This began an on-going partnership with BCIT.
- In 2013 we launched our first annual Heart Your Parts Breakfast, honouring Dan Savage as our first Sexual Health Champion.
- In 2018 we were the successful proponents of an RFP to impact how women who were HIV/HCV+ or at risk of becoming so access services and know where to find them.
- In 2019 we launched our updated branding, and launched an updated and interactive website.
The Journey Continues…
We look forward to our next 50 years, honouring our mission and vision. We invite you to join us as we continue to make sexual and reproductive health a priority for years to come!