Rogers calls on government to improve access to gender affirming surgeries



For immediate release

March 14, 2019

Today in the House of Assembly, NDP Health Critic Gerry Rogers questioned government on its regressive policies on the assessment procedure that approves funding for gender affirming surgery.


Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says NL is the only province left in Canada making it mandatory for trans people to have their assessments for gender affirming surgery done at CAMH in Toronto. Even Ontario does not require their trans people to go to CAMH for assessment. There is no longer any medical reason for assessments to be done out of province.


“The Minister of Health and Community Services has been promising to make changes to this regulation,” said Rogers. “I ask him, why is he dragging his feet on this?”

Rogers says requiring our trans people to go to CAMH creates unnecessary wait times, extra stress, and extra cost to individuals and the province. Several health care providers here are willing to do the assessments and are qualified as per criteria of the World Professional Association for Trans Health, the world standard for this work. The Minister has known this for years.


“I ask the Minister, will he commit to making all necessary changes to the Act so trans people can have assessments done in-province before this House closes?” Rogers said.

Rogers is also presenting a petition in the House of Assembly urging the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to improve access to gender affirming surgeries, and to:


- Develop an in-province assessment process for gender affirming surgeries that would eliminate the need for an assessment by CAMH as the sole referral option;

- Increase funding and coverage for gender affirming surgeries through MCP;

- Expand the types of surgeries covered to better reflect national standards.


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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.


PETITION: IMPROVE ACCESS TO GENDER AFFIRMING SURGERIES


These are the reasons for this petition:

- Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province to still require an assessment and referral from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto;

- The wait time for an assessment at CAMH is approximately two or more years;

- In recent years, other provinces have improved their in-province assessment and referral processes in addition to increasing coverage and funding for gender affirming surgeries;

- Without adequate MCP coverage these surgeries can cost thousands of dollars;

- The Department of Health & Community Services is already engaged in investigating an in-province assessment and referral process;

- Long wait times for gender affirmation surgeries often contribute to prolonged gender dysphoria and worsened mental health;

- Among transgender youth age 14-25 in Canada, 65.2% considered suicide and 36.1% made at least one suicide attempt in the last year according to a 2014 Trans Youth Health Survey.


Therefore, we, the undersigned, call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to:


- Develop an in-province assessment process for gender affirming surgeries that would eliminate the need for an assessment by CAMH as the sole referral option;

- Increase funding and coverage for gender affirming surgeries through MCP;

- Expand the types of surgeries covered to better reflect national standards.

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