The reality is that Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians have very specific medical needs but face significant obstacles to receiving sufficient healthcare reflective of their circumstances. Despite the fact that any doctor can prescribe Hormone Replacement Therapy, they are neither trained nor encouraged to treat members of the Transgender community, most of them ultimately declining to take them on as patients. There continues to be a lack of significant research into Transgender and Gender-Variant health issues in Canada, and what research there is often shows a clear negative bias.
Provincial funding for healthcare programs specifically serving the Transgender and Gender-Variant communities is minimal and continues to come under threat from budget cuts, even when programs continue for the larger LGBTQ2+ community. In British Columbia, there only one doctor able to assess Transgender and Gender-Variant individuals for permission to receive transitional surgeries covered by MSP. The list of surgeries covered by MSP is small; for trans masculine individuals, only mastectomy is covered. For trans feminine individuals, MSP will only cover Orchiectomy performed within British Columbia, or full gender confirmation surgery available in Quebec (without covering associated expenses). While breast augmentation, vaginoplasty and phallopasty are all performed by doctors in B.C., none of those surgeries is covered by MSP.
Extended health coverage varies from province to province, with many group medical plans refusing to cover treatments and surgeries, or providing barriers to access services when they are offered.
Within Vancouver, Transgender and Gender-Variant health services are largely provided by the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre, a volunteer-run organization created in wake of funding cuts to Vancouver General Hospital Gender Clinic. Because the CWHWC is perceived as filling a gap in healthcare on an entirely volunteer basis, provincial funding has not been restored. People wishing to support medical programs that service the specific needs of the Transgender and Gender-Variant communities of Vancouver are encouraged to donate to the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre and contact their elected representatives to advocate for more provincial funding.