NDP MP Bill Siksay tabled today (June 3) a motion in the House of Commons which calls on the federal government to take action to ensure that sex reassignment surgery is covered by Canada’s health system.
“Sex Reassignment Surgery is a medically necessary procedure that must be available to members of the transgender and transsexual community,” Siksay, the MP for Burnaby-Douglas and his party’s critic for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, stated in a press release today. “SRS is not a frill nor is it an elective process but rather it’s a necessity for the health, happiness and well-being of some Canadians. As a medically necessary procedure, it and its related therapies must be fully covered under the provisions of the Canada Health Act.”
Siksay’s motion reads: “That, in the opinion of the House, the de-listing of medicare coverage for medically necessary sex reassignment surgery (SRS), and related therapies, violates the accessibility and comprehensiveness criteria of the Canada Health Act, and the government should take immediate steps to ensure appropriate health care is accessible across Canada to transsexual and transgender persons.”
On May 15, Siksay introduced Bill C-389, a private member’s bill that would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. It was the third time he’d tabled such legislation.
On its Web site, Vancouver Coastal Health defines the term transgender as referring to “a person with a gender identity that is different from their birth sex or who expresses their gender in ways that contravene societal expectations of the range of possibilities for men and women”.
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