Federal employees can claim $75,000 in expenses for ‘gender-affirming procedures’

'Gender-affirming care' includes hormone therapy, hair removal procedures, top and bottom surgery and facial reconstruction.

Federal employees can claim $75,000 in expenses for ‘gender-affirming procedures’
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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As of July 1, more than 1.7 million federal workers, dependents and retirees can receive upwards of $75,000 for "gender-affirming procedures."

Gender-affirming care commonly refers to health-care procedures transgenders undergo to change their gender. These include hormone therapy, hair removal procedures, top and bottom surgery or facial reconstruction.

"For the first time, coverage would be available for gender affirmation, placing the Government of Canada as a leader in modernized employee health care benefits," reads a government release last August.

"Our current and former employees will benefit from one of the most modern public sector health care plans in the world, with support for mental health services and gender affirmation, in keeping with our commitment to stand up for diversity and inclusion in the public service."

True North first reported that the Public Service Health Care Plan capped coverage at 80% for procedures performed in Canada.

To become eligible, federal workers must be over 18, receive physician care for gender affirmation, do not have other coverage options, prove they're receiving a medically necessary procedure and have pre-approval. 

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier took to social media to condemn giving employees $75k to "butcher their breasts and genitals."

"We live in a new dark age," he said. "Canadian taxpayers should not be paying for this."

According to the CBC, at least one federal worker plans to receive a taxpayer-funded phalloplasty — getting an artificial penis using tissue from the forearm. 

"If more and more employers have [this coverage], it gives you the power to talk to the provinces and territories and ask them to have equitable coverage for everyone," said Gabriel Lanthier, who began transitioning six years ago.

Having already completed his chest surgery (top) and a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, the next step in the gender transition involves getting a penis. But first, he must undergo more electrolysis to remove his arm and leg hair to avoid surgical complications.

Lanthier said he's already paid about $4,000 out of pocket for the electrolysis but expects to have the remaining work covered.

"I would have liked it to happen a little earlier, but I am happy there is progress," he said.

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