Where to Find Support and Resources for Transgender Residents
Saskatchewan is committed to meeting the health needs of all residents. Information on support and resources in the province for transgender residents is available through a variety of sources:
HealthLine 811 - Saskatchewan's confidential 24/7 phone line staffed by registered nurses, client navigators, registered psychiatric nurses and social workers. HealthLine can provide information on resources within the province.
HealthLine online (search Gender Identity) - Find answers to your health questions with HealthLine online.
Gender Reassignment Surgery
Several surgeries may be required as part of the gender reassignment process. The most common procedures, such as hysterectomy and mastectomy, are provided in Saskatchewan. More complex procedures may require sub-specialized training which may not be available within the province.
If residents wish to go outside of Saskatchewan for gender reassignment surgery, the Ministry of Health may cover up to 100 per cent of physician costs associated with some procedures, on the recommendation of a recognized authority. Travel and accommodation costs are not covered.
Prior approval is required from the Ministry for coverage of specialized surgical services or therapies that are only available outside Saskatchewan. A small number of procedures, mostly considered experimental or non-functional, are not covered.
Process for Accessing Gender Reassignment Surgery
- Saskatchewan residents interested in accessing services should begin by discussing their options with their physician or primary care provider [general practitioner (GP) or nurse practitioner (NP)].
- The treating family physician or specialty physician may order hormone therapy.
- The treating family physician or specialty physician can make a referral to an in-province psychiatrist for advice, counselling and determination of next steps.
- Surgical interventions may be considered once the treating psychiatrist determines that a patient has reached a point in the transition journey where they are ready to contemplate and request surgical changes. At this point, the treating psychiatrist will contact one of the recognized authorities regarding the patient's case and follow the process outlined below:
- Surgeries completed outside Saskatchewan require prior approval from the Ministry of Health, due to the variation between provinces regarding cost coverage for gender reassignment surgeries. A recognized authority needs to recommend an out-of-province surgery before the Ministry can consider coverage for it.
- Saskatchewan recognizes the following health/psychiatric authorities' recommendations for out-of-province gender reassignment procedures:
- Dr. Sara Dungavell, Saskatoon, SK;
- Ontario's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH);
- Dr. Jane Gainer, Hanna, AB;
- Dr. Joe Raiche, Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, AB; and
- Dr. Warneke at Edmonton's Grey Nuns Community Hospital (retired summer 2017).
- If the recognized authority recommends out-of-province gender reassignment surgery, the Saskatchewan psychiatrist will forward the recommendation to the Ministry, and outline the request for surgical coverage.
- The Saskatchewan psychiatrist will also forward the recommendation from the recognized authority with the referral to the out-of-province physician/surgeon in order for the development of an individualized treatment plan.
- The Ministry adjudicates cost coverage for each out-of-province surgical request based on medical necessity. As part of the prior approval process, the Ministry requires the out-of-province physician/surgeon to provide a breakdown of the services to be performed and a cost estimate per service.
- A small number of procedures, mostly considered experimental or non-functional, are not covered.
- After receiving the cost estimate from the out-of-province surgeon, the Ministry completes the adjudication of the request and:
- notifies the treating out-of-province physician of the surgical/cost approvals;
- notifies the patient of the outcome of the decision; and
- copies the Saskatchewan treating psychiatrist on the letter.
5. Patients can be referred to an in-province specialist for surgeries, such as hysterectomy or mastectomy, which are covered and insured in Saskatchewan.
The cost of travel, accommodation and meals to access health services is not covered. In certain circumstances, Canada Revenue Agency may consider these expenses as tax deductions.
For more information about medical coverage, contact the Ministry of Health's Medical Services Branch at 1-800-667-7523 or 306-787-3475 (Regina).
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Residents who have an active Saskatchewan health card would be eligible for coverage of certain hormone replacement therapy listed on the Saskatchewan Formulary. Individuals would pay according to their approved co-payment. Inquiries about hormone therapy coverage can be directed to the Ministry of Health's Drug Plan and Extended Benefits Branch at 1-800-667-7581 or 306-787-3317.
For help in resolving concerns or accessing services, contact a Quality of Care Coordinator in your area.