To Minister of Health Tony Clement on Sex Reassignment Surgery, July 18, 2003

July 18, 2003

July 18, 2003

The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health
10th Floor Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2C4

Dear Minister:

Our union has a strong history of 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 proper steps and ensure that SRS is re-listed as medically necessary and is therefore fully funded.

Yours truly,
Buzz Hargrove


cc: Jim O'Neil, National Executive Board, Assistants, Raj Dhaliwal, Lisa Kelly, Sandra Pupatello (Liberal health critic), Shelley Martel (NDP health critic), Dalton McGuinty (Liberal health critic)

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