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Elxn 43, Cdnpoli

NDP, Greens pledge to improve access to health care and surgeries for transgender people

Meanwhile, the Liberal party said 'a lot of hard work still needs to be done — including in the realm of access to health care.'

2019-09-17 8:30:00 PM

Access to certain types of health care such as hormone treatments and surgeries can be costly and inconsistent for many transgender people in Canada. elxn43 cdnpoli

Meanwhile, the Liberal party said 'a lot of hard work still needs to be done — including in the realm of access to health care.'

Access to certain types of health care, such as hormone treatments and surgeries, can be costly and inconsistent for many transgender people depending on where they live, and experts say the situation requires support at the federal level.“There’s work to do in every jurisdiction to improve safety for trans people, on education, on gender diversity. An all-hands-on-deck approach is needed,” Lorraine Grieves, program director at TransCare BC, told Global News.

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“Certainly any role the federal government could take up in terms of making improvements would be welcomed by all.”WATCH (Sept. 16, 2019): Transgender care in Alberta at risk after lead of gender program resignsStory continues below Health experts define gender-affirming health care as an umbrella category that can include services such as counselling, hormone therapy and surgeries. Trans people may choose to access some or none of these services.

While health-care services are under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, federal parties are making specific promises related to improving health care for transgender and non-binary people.Two of the main federal parties have included pledges on this in their electoral platforms.

The NDP’s platform, released earlier this year, includes a section entitled “Upholding LGBTQI2S+ rights,” in which the party states that it would work with provinces to ensure equal access to gender-confirming surgery across the country and that these “procedures and medications are covered by public health plans.”

It also pledges to develop a national action plan to ban conversion therapy for minors in Canada and to work with provinces and territories to support “eliminating this practice in all parts of the country.”An NDP spokesperson told Global News in an email that the party’s pharmacare plan would include coverage for hormone treatments and blockers, and that “expanded access to mental health care will benefit trans youth in particular, who often lack access to mental health care.”

READ MORE: How a proposed conversion therapy ban and LGBTQ2 issues are mobilizing Canada’s Christian rightThe Green Party platform, released on Monday, mirrors the NDP commitments on supporting access to gender-affirming health care and banning conversion therapy. It says that the party would negotiate the Canada Health Accord to expand services including access to gender-affirming health services “such as hormones, blockers and surgery.”

A Green Party spokesperson said the party’s pharmacare plan would cover hormone prescriptions, but did not provide further details.The Liberals have not yet released their 2019 platform. The government signalled earlier this year that it supports national pharmacare. A Liberal spokesperson did not say whether the party had electoral commitments specifically regarding gender-affirming health care and surgeries, but said via email: “The fight to end discrimination is not over and a lot of hard work still needs to be done — including in the realm of access to health care. Liberals believe Canada’s health care system needs to be sensitive to the needs of all patients.”

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The Liberal government also said earlier this year that it wanted to explore criminalizing conversion therapy at the federal level.A spokesperson for the Conservative Party did not respond to multiple emails from Global News seeking comment on its stance on gender-affirming health care. The party’s 2015 platform did not mention LGBTQ+ health care.

WATCH (Sept. 16, 2019): Elizabeth May talks pharmacare, housing, post-secondary educationWait timesIt depends on the location, but wait times for certain types of health care for trans people can vary. For surgery, it’s often the longest. And the state of limbo can be unbearable.

In Saskatchewan, for example, only six doctors are recognized by the province to refer patients for out-of-province gender-affirming surgeries — as of last year, the wait time for one of those physicians was years-long.Until earlier this year, a private clinic in Montreal was the only place in Canada that offered gender-affirming lower surgery. And while many provinces cover patients travelling to another province for health services, patients are often left to fund their travel and accommodation costs.

In May, the transition-related surgery program opened at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, the first public hospital in Canada to offer gender-affirming lower surgery. A similar program is expected to launch in Vancouver this fall, for people covered by B.C.’s provincial health plan.

Janet MacBeth, 40, says wait times for surgery and other specialized health care services can have detrimental mental health impacts.MacBeth came out as transgender in 2017, after her wife became pregnant with their second child. She met with a health-care provider to start transitioning with hormones and was eventually referred to a health centre in Chatham, about two hours from her home.

“It’s still hard for individuals to actually get the initial basic hormones before any surgery,” MacBeth told Global News.Her medical benefits plan through work covered the prescriptions, otherwise she would have had to pay out of pocket because they are not covered by the province.

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READ MORE: Toronto home to first public hospital in Canada that offers transition-related surgeryMacBeth had planned to undergo vaginoplasty surgery at the Montreal clinic, which was still the only place to get it in Canada, but a spot opened up for the procedure at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital. This would mean that she wouldn’t have to travel so far and would be closer to the facility for follow-up appointments.

A 2017 survey of 337 trans and non-binary people in British Columbia conducted by UBC who had undergone assessment or surgery in the last five years touched on the scope of this.“Even when their surgery was covered, most people still had to cover a number of costs out of pocket, including travel costs, accommodation, aftercare facilities, and aftercare supplies,” the survey states.

Some people reported spending none of their own money while some people reported paying as much as $58,000.The survey also found that some people in B.C. waited for as little as one day and as long as 1,825 days for an initial referral and assessment. Wait times for surgery ranged from one month to 108 months. More than 60 per cent of the respondents had to travel two hours or more for their surgery appointments.

In May, MacBeth became one of the first patients to undergo the surgery there. “I just feel so much better,” she said. “My life is better.”The demand for the surgeries in Toronto alone is high. “We know there are hundreds of people waiting,” the program’s lead Dr. Yonah Krakowsky told Global News in June.

READ MORE: Head of program’s resignation raises questions about accessibility to transgender care in AlbertaPrimary careHélène Frohard-Dourlent, a researcher in sexual orientation and gender identity at the University of British Colombia, said that the federal government could also encourage more consistency when it comes to primary care.

A 2019 study based on a survey of the experiences of trans people in primary care in the Canadian Family Physician journal found that participants reported that physician knowledge of trans identities and health care needs was lacking.“Physicians had limited understanding of appropriate interactions with trans patients, including correct use of gender pronouns,” the authors wrote.

Frohard-Dourlent, who uses they/them pronouns, told Global News that it is important to discuss primary care for trans people in addition to things like hormone treatment and surgeries.“Trans people are people who have specialized health care needs in some areas. But they also just need good access to good primary care just like any other Canadian,” Frohard-Dourlent said. “I would love to see a specific mandate rate for provincial health authorities to make sure that the people that they’re accrediting have some competence in this area.”

Read more: Globalnews.ca »

How about paying for herbs & supplements for autoimmune diseases instead of health care paying for chemical pills & antibiotics by large pharamacy companies that are making us sicker for those that have lupus & Lyme disease. So the rest of us have equal access to these surgeries Ie) breast enhancement? My crooked teeth? Thinning hair? These things make up how I or others feel about themselves to. Equality for all right?

More tax dollars being wasted! My mother just died waiting for hospital and doctor care .... but since she wasn’t a headline trigger word story Liberals NDP or Green Party don’t focus there All elective, shouldn't be funded by the taxpayer. Should not be funded by taxpayers neither should IVF to conceive babies

Don't modify the Canadian flag. Either use the flag or the LGBTQ flag but not a combination of the 2. TheWestBlock ElizabethMay theJagmeetSingh How about improving access to health care for the general public! That’ll be great Justin. You’ll finally be able to get that gender reassignment surgery you’ve been wanting.

This is totally insane!! The govt did not cover my penis reduction surgery! 😉 Does this mean all the surgery paid for privately in the past would be refunded if now covered? Sex change reparations!! I can see it happening. Only 2 genders unless your physically deformed. Someone wants to change who they are pay for it yourself.

Oh yeah? Well I want my hormones paid for as well. Mine aren’t covered by my drug plan. It would help Trudeau when he does his transition. Then you should cover breast implants, plastic surgery for all. While at it, how about animals? they are human too and deserve better treatments. Good when are they going to offer free plastic surgeries for everyone else Mommy needs some new boobs and Botox. I feel like a 20 year old but unfortunately am twice that.

You want it , you pay for it ! Now that children in public school can choose if they want to change their sexual orientation it is going to get a lot more expensive. Wtf?seriously there’s ppl with ❤️ problems and there’s a waiting list that never ends due 2 shortages..dnt u guys think it’s priority to find drs to people with health issues that wasn’t a decision they made instead of something a person wanted knowing the circumstances 😡😡😡!

The World Heath Organisation has ruled that it's transphobic to say that being trans is an illness. It therefore doesn't require subsidised healthcare in the same way someone suffering from cancer does. You can't have it both ways I'm afraid This is like government funded plastic surgery. I'm all for a trans person doing whatever they please in life but making the public fund this kind of thing is extreme and over the top.

But if they're not ill, why do they need 'health care'? Being transgender is not an illness according to trans rights advocates. There is no reason then that public healthcare money should be used to pay for such “treatment”. Can’t have it both ways. Absolutely no! This is horrible. This must be fake news.

Kinda torn on this issue, smoking and overindulged drinking/drugs have links to cancer and those are also personal choices people make. Should we stop paying for that treatment? Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I should be paying for someone’s boob job but It’s a slippery slope. The government should not be paying for this, this is an optional surgery.

With the cost of diabetes meds and the condition of cancer treatment in this country trans hormones should be the last thing on the list! I won't be paying for that this surgery and hormone treatments, cosmetic surgery for transgender persons should be covered under private insurances not OHIP and other provincially paid and tax payer funded ones.

Canada needs more full time front line healthcare workers. Canada need to address “Hallway medicine “. Well, this country doesn’t fork over a dime for fertility costs and many other health related issues so until that happens, I don’t think anyone should be having their boobs paid for. So, I broke my back, and couldn’t get physiotherapy after discharge.... I would prefer to look after the injured and people who NEED it. That community is over entitled, and needs to relax. We had a gay mayor in Wpg 20 years ago, we accept you. letsmoveon

How about we put money towards access to health care , physio , dental , hearing aids ? Make the pensions better for those who have worked all they’re lives and then be able to live Hmmmm pandering much? DNA and body parts do not lie. The brain is the item telling the individual that they are in the wrong body. Therefore it is a mental disorder and should be treated as such. When a person suffers from depression, they don't change body parts, they treat the brain.

no way.. this is a personal journey involving choice to change ones gender.. this journey should in no way be funded by tax payers...it is wrong. Because that's not health care, its cosmetic surgery. Seriously? Surgeries for transgendered people? That why we need MaximeBernier in to put a stop to this non sense crap. What a waste of money. What about the vets who are asking for to much?

Politicans are favoriting the 1%? Wow lots of buying votes not 🤣😂 I don’t CARE taxpayers money should not be used for these choices. 770CHQR DIY i dont think tax payers should be paying for transgender surgeries and millions of dollars in treatments , hormones and cosmetic for one to change ones gender.. tax payers are presently funding such items under the liberals..

What about our wounded veterans and senior citizens? This is 100% an elective surgery and taxpayers should not be putting a dime towards it Elective medicine shouldn’t be taxpayer dime. That’s not “healthcare”, it’s a choice. Meanwhile seniors that require hip and knee replacements can go fuck themselves and wait in line.

Let Provinces decide. Stay in your lane. Who would have thought removing your penis would have been costly and inconvenient GlobalNational Government Health care shouldn't include this type of personal choice surgery.... only need health procedures and medicine should be included. LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder TrudeauMustGo WelfareMedia PPC2019

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