New Brunswick has announced that it will soon fund gender-affirming surgery under provincial health insurance. As the last hold-out in Canada, the change means every province will have some sort of coverage.
Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced Friday the province will amend the Medical Services Payment Act to ensure procedures are insured.
"Transgender persons living in New Brunswick are facing challenges in life and in the health-care system," said Boudreau.
"Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition that, left untreated, can result in high levels of anxiety and depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts."
Though welcome news for transgender and gender-nonconforming New Brunswickers, it's also coming later than expected.
The province has been working with transgender advocacy groups since last year, Global News reported, with the goal of having the changes included in the spring budget. That deadline has came and went.
"Gender-affirming surgery is a crucial part of a successful transition for many transgender people," said Michelle Leard, of the New Brunswick Transgender Health Network and UBU Atlantic, in a statement.
"Today's announcement will change the lives of transgender New Brunswickers who are presently facing challenging health, mental health and social situations."
The province will also amend the Vital Statistics Act in the fall, which will allow transgender folks to change the gender on their birth certificates.
New Brunswick is the last of Canada's 10 provinces to offer coverage for gender-affirming surgeries, although details on what exactly is covered varies across the country.
Prince Edward Island was the second-last province to offer coverage, deciding in February 2015 to cover the cost of several procedures.
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
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