Transgender and gender-diverse Nova Scotians will receive more supportive healthcare under the new, comprehensive Gender-Affirming Care Policy that takes effect today, July 28.
“We know that transgender and gender-diverse Nova Scotians have experienced challenges receiving appropriate and timely healthcare services that meet their needs. That wasn’t acceptable and had to change,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We must meet Nova Scotians where they are in their care journey, not the other way around. This policy will help us do that and it is only a start. We’ll continue to listen and improve.”
The policy aims to ensure high-quality, timely, comprehensive, equitable, culturally appropriate and safe services are provided to transgender and gender-diverse Nova Scotians. It outlines the following for gender-affirming care and procedures:
- eligibility criteria
- covered services
- standards of care
- assessment, referral and approval processes
- roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals.
Changes through the policy include simplifying processes and removing barriers to support access to gender-affirming healthcare and establishing a fee code for physicians delivering gender-affirming healthcare services.
The policy was developed following research and analysis from across Canada and consultation with healthcare and community partners. It is aligned with the standards of care established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
This policy is a welcome change because we often hear from the community that equitable access to gender-affirming care and the inconsistent interpretation of processes by healthcare professionals is a concern. I am hopeful these changes will come into effect at the point of care sooner, rather than later. Nova Scotia is leading the way in Canada on this issue, and I encourage other provinces to follow our lead.Veronica Merryfield, founder, Cape Breton Transgender Network
- in 2022, the Province removed the gender requirement for physician billing and replaced it with “patient” to make the health system more inclusive
- the 2023-2024 provincial budget included more than $2 million in funding for gender-affirming procedures and prideHealth
Gender-Affirming Care Policy: https://novascotia.ca/dhw/gender-affirming-care/gender-affirming-care-policy.pdf
More information on gender-affirming care: https://novascotia.ca/dhw/gender-affirming-care/
News release – Improving Care for Transgender, Gender-Diverse and Intersex Nova Scotians: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20230331002
News release – Province Reduces Barriers for Nova Scotians Seeking Gender-Affirming Surgery: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20220720002