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Alberta’s Gender Reaffirming Program*

Gender Transition

Gender transition is a lifelong process. Although gender identity and gender expression are often similar, they do not always match. A person may express gender in a way that is different from how they feel.

There are several steps in the gender surgical transition process. Treatment is individualized. When considering a surgical option, discuss your needs with your psychologist or primary care provider (PCP) such as a family physician or nurse practitioner. Based on your specific circumstances and your health, your physician or PCP may prescribe medication and/or refer you to specific specialists to match the surgical approach to your needs.

Your physician/PCP will likely refer you to a psychiatrist who is registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Your psychiatrist will guide you through the transition process and the steps required.

Alberta’s Gender Reaffirming Program

Gender surgery, also known as gender-affirming surgery, changes primary sex characteristics so they correspond with a person’s gender identity.

Funding for Alberta's Gender Reaffirming Program

Alberta’s Gender Surgery Program provides funding for Alberta residents to obtain gender affirming surgeries such as phalloplasty, metoidioplasty or vaginoplasty. Funding is available to eligible Albertans diagnosed with gender dysphoria who meet the established program criteria. As of January 21, 2019, breast augmentation and mastectomy is an insured service under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan that requires prior approval for patients who meet eligibility criteria under Alberta's Gender Reaffirming Program (GRP).

The surgeon or primary care provider (PCP) must validate a patient’s eligibility under the GRP using the Request for Breast Surgery form. Before the surgery can be performed, the applying surgeon must submit the prior approval form to Alberta Health. Download the approved form.

For more information regarding insured services, please see Health care services covered in Alberta, update to breast augmentation bulletin and billing codes bulletin.

What is not funded?

Some medical services are not covered by the province. Uninsured services include the following (but not limited to):

  • Procedures that are cosmetic in nature, such as facial feminization, tracheal shave and voice pitch surgery;
  • Non-medical interventions such as massage therapy and laser hair removal or electrolysis; and
  • Take-home medications and equipment.

Personal expenses, such as meals and accommodation, are also the patient’s responsibility.

Who qualifies?

The Gender Reaffirming Program is available to Albertans who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a psychiatrist and who meet program criteria, which are based on internationally recognized standards.

Where is it provided?

This surgical expertise is provided at the Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie in Montreal.

Who Can Apply?

A PCP or psychiatrist must apply for this funding on your behalf.

Any Alberta licensed and registered PCP (e.g. a family physician or nurse practitioner) or Alberta licensed and registered psychiatrist can complete and submit the funding application for genital surgery on their patient’s behalf.

Patients are not required to see a psychiatrist with a practice interest in transgender health. Any Alberta psychiatrist can make the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

Two mental health consultation reports are still required for patients to be eligible for the Gender Reaffirming Program. One of these reports can come from any licensed and register Alberta psychiatrist. The second report can also come from an Alberta psychiatrist or it can completed by registered Alberta psychologist who is competent in transgendered health.

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