To Minister of Health Anne McLellan on Sex Reassignment Surgery, July 18, 2003

July 18, 2003

July 18, 2003

The Honourable Anne A. McLellan
Minister of Health
Health Canada
Ministers Office
Brooke Claxton Building
By Fax (613) 952-1154
16th Floor
Tunney's Pasture
Address Locator: 096A
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9

Dear Minister:

Our union has a strong commitment to universal health care in Canada. Universality must include accessibility of the health care system to transsexuals in our country.

The Canada Health Act was passed in order to guarantee comprehensive medical coverage to all Canadians. The delisting of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) by Ontario's cabinet ministers, without consulting any medical boards or professionals in the field of transsexual health is unacceptable. When this type of medical consultation is missing, the change appears to be aimed at scoring political points by targeting a small community that is already ostracized and marginalized by society, causing needless harm and suffering.

Not all transsexual individuals choose sex reassignment surgery. However, for those who do make that choice, SRS is recognized as an appropriate treatment and should be considered medically necessary.

I understand that transsexual individuals who have been through SRS feel far more centred and at peace than before their surgery. It has been, literally, a life-saving procedure for each of them.

We don't know the true cost of withholding sex reassignment surgery from individuals who need it. However, it is undoubtedly greater than providing the appropriate treatment of SRS.

I urge you to take the leadership necessary and ensure that SRS is properly categorized by the provinces as medically necessary and is therefore fully funded.

Yours truly,
Buzz Hargrove


cc: Jim O'Neil, National Executive Board, Assistants, Raj Dhaliwal, Lisa Kelly, Svend Robinson (NDP health critic), Rob Merrifield (Canadian Alliance health critic), Gregory Francis Thompson (PC health critic), Réal Ménard (Bloc Quebecois health critic)

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