Improving Access to Sex Reassignment Surgery
Ontario Reducing Wait Times for Assessments and Referrals
Ontario is proposing to expand access to referrals for sex reassignment surgery for transgender people.
Currently, patients can only receive a referral for insured surgery through the Gender Identity Clinic program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Through amendments to the Health Insurance Act, which are currently posted for consultation, Ontario is proposing to allow all qualified health care providers across the province to refer patients for this surgery. The amendments are expected to be effective in early 2016.
The referral process for the surgery will continue to be based on existing criteria that aligns with internationally recognized standards of care. Patients looking to access these services should talk to their primary health care providers about their specific needs.
Expanding access to health services for transgender people in Ontario is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that's sustainable for generations to come.
- In June 2015, the Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act was passed unanimously by the Ontario legislature, affirming the rights of Ontario's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.
- The number of Ontarians requiring access to gender identity services and support has increased in recent years.
- Ontario currently provides $1.1 million annually to Rainbow Health Ontario to help connect Ontarians in the LGBTQ community with health care services.
- Gender dysphoria refers to distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth. For some people suffering with gender dysphoria, medically necessary treatment includes sex reassignment surgery.
“Every Ontarian has the right to be who they are. Our health care system should reflect this vision, which is why we are improving access to sex-reassignment surgery. It is one way by which our government is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring high quality and equitable access to care for all Ontarians.”
“One of the most vulnerable times for trans people is when they are ready for surgery, but face a prolonged wait. This change would reduce wait times by allowing many trans clients to get surgical approvals from their own local primary care teams. We look forward to working with the Ministry to operationalize this change.”