This politician wants to overhaul Ontario’s trans health care system

A new bill proposes creating a gender-affirming health care advisory committee in the province

Ontario’s health care system could soon get an overhaul in order to better serve trans people. 

That’s the goal of Toronto Centre NDP MPP Suze Morrison, who today introduced a new bill that, if passed, would give trans and non-binary people a seat at the table when it comes to accessing gender-affirming health care in the province. 

“There are currently a lot of barriers in place that make [access] incredibly challenging for folks,” Morrison says. “We have a lot of changes that we need to make to our health system to make sure that it’s a safe and affirming experience for folks that are transitioning.”

Under the Gender Affirming Health Care Advisory Committee Act, Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott would have 60 days to establish an advisory committee composed of folks from a variety of backgrounds to draft suggestions on improving gender-affirming health care in the province. 

The committee would be made up of trans, intersex, Two-Spirit and non-binary people, as well as healtch care providers with demonstrated experience working with trans and gender-diverse communities. It would also aim to include Black and Indigneous people and people of colour, seniors and youth, sex workers and unhoused people. The committee would then submit a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Health.

Morrison says the goal is to reform Ontario’s system to better serve intersex, trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary people.

“We know that gender-affirming care is absolutely lifesaving and we need to start treating it that way.”

“When you can’t access these procedures, it can lead to immense gender dysphoria for folks, putting them at significant risk for death by suicide,” she says. “We know that gender-affirming care is absolutely lifesaving and we need to start treating it that way.”

There are already several areas in which the province could improve. Unlike the majority of major provinces, the full procedure for top surgery is not covered under Ontario’s public medical plan (OHIP), meaning many trans and non-binary folks must pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for the procedure. Facial feminization and electrolysis are also not currently covered by OHIP.

Morrison says her team looked to other provinces and territories, notably the Yukon, for a model Ontario could follow. This March, the Yukon introduced arguably the most comprehensive trans-inclusive health plan in Canada, including full coverage of procedures like facial feminization and hair removal. 

“The lack of access to gender-affirming health services, including surgery, represented a significant unmet health care need within the transgender community, often preventing transgender individuals from leading happy and healthy lives in our territory,” Pauline Frost, Yukon’s minister of health and social services, said at the time. 


Morrison says the advisory committee in Ontario would aim to not only improve trans peoples’ experience accessing transition-related medical care, but also their experience navigating the system in general.

“As it stands right now, there’s constant misgendering and constant deadnaming,” Morrison says. “And so we certainly have a lot of work to do to make that a safe place for trans folks.”

The bill will be tabled in the Ontario Legislature this week.

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

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