Statement: CCGSD condemns Ontario’s decision to cut virtual gender-affirming care.
Dec 5, 2022
Due to the changes made to the Physicians Service Agreement by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Connect-Clinic will no longer be able to provide virtual gender affirming care to thousands of patients in Ontario as of December 1st, 2022.
As a result of the Ministry of Health’s decisions, Connect-Clinic must cease providing services to its 1,500 existing patients, and will remove 2,000 prospective patients from its waitlist. This will severely impede trans and gender diverse individuals in Ontario from accessing safe and specialized telemedicine-based consultations, advice and treatment.
Unfortunately, these circumstances aren’t unique to Ontario. Last month, the Yukon Government paused funding for gender-affirming care as a result of conflicting legislation.
Similar restrictions remain in place in other parts of the country as well. At time of writing, all provinces and territories except PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador require patients to receive a formal diagnosis and gender dysphoria before they can receive publicly-funded gender-affirming surgeries. Across the country, 45% of trans people report having an unmet healthcare need.
Those seeking genital surgeries experience even greater limitations as these procedures are only offered at three clinics in Canada:
- Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie, a private clinic in Montreal
- A small public clinic that’s part of the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto
- The Gender Surgery Program B.C (which only treats B.C. and Yukon residents).
Outdated BMI restrictions further restrict who has access to these life affirming surgeries.
For many trans and non-binary people, this means unexpected surgery costs associated with travel and accommodations and years of sitting on waitlists. As a result, patients are cornered into taking the private route, oftentimes paying thousands out of pocket.
Gender-affirming healthcare is a human right. Government policies should not stand between 2SLGBTQI+ patients and doctors. As a national 2SLGBTQI+ youth-serving organization, we stand in solidarity with all queer and trans people impacted by these legislations.
Join us in supporting Connect-Clinic by signing their petition to protect gender affirming care in Ontario.
Check out the following resources to learn more about 2SLGBTQ+ healthcare in Canada:
- Yukon government temporarily pauses funding for some gender-affirming care (Xtra Magazine)
- 11/4/2022 Gender Affirming Care for Two-Spirit, Trans, Nonbinary, and Intersex people. (Queer Yukon)
- ‘Barely surviving’: Wait times, limited information keeping trans Albertans from health care (Calgary Herald)
- Trans and non-binary folks say health-affirming care is lacking in Manitoba (CityNews Winnipeg)
- Stop using body mass index as qualifier for gender-affirming surgery, advocate says (CBC Nova Scotia)
- Report of the Standing Committee on Health on the Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada (issued to the House of Commons in June 2019)
- Gender-affirming healthcare coverage by Canadian province, territory (Global News)
- For trans people in New Brunswick, inclusive health care isn’t guaranteed (The Pigeon)