UFCW participates in transgender health and wellness conference

Halifax – November 11, 2015 – UFCW Canada recently attended the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health’s bi-annual conference in Halifax. Dubbed Transforming the Landscape of Transgender Health and Wellness, the conference included presentations from leading health care practitioners in the area of transgender health issues. It also addressed the clinical barriers that force transgender persons in Canada to face lengthy wait times for transition-related medical care, and limited capacity in accessing a wide range of social services within the country.

At the conference, UFCW Canada National Representative Emmanuelle Lopez-Bastos presented leading research in the realm of transgender health while noting that the majority of health services covered by provinces remain subject to conditional requirements that lack transparency and uniformity in a country that prides itself on universal health care. In collaboration with CPATH executives, Sister Lopez-Bastos informed participants of the gaps that currently exist in public funding for gender conforming surgeries and medically necessary transition-related health care in Canada. Lopez-Bastos also presented a poster, entitled Publicly Funded Transition-related Medical Care in Canada, that summarizes UFCW Canada and CPATH's findings on these issues. It can be downloaded from the UFCW Canada website by clicking here.

Among many areas of concern in transgender health care, research shows that facial feminization, tracheal shaving, and laser hair removal are not publicly funded in any Canadian province or territory.  The research – which was presented at the conference through a series of info-graphics – also shows the disparity in coverage throughout Canada. Currently, there is only one province that does not fund transition-related medical services, but significant improvements are needed in all other areas of care. 

UFCW Canada is advocating for comprehensive health care coverage for transgender Canadians as part of a proud new partnership with CPATH. Our message is that we must move beyond constrictive gender norms in society, as they serve to perpetuate systemic discrimination. We must instead support gender norms that include freedom of gender expression. To learn more about this topic, as well as other issues affecting the LGBTQ community, visit www.ufcw.ca/socialjustice.