Sex Reassignment Surgery

Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) also referred to as gender affirming or gender conforming surgery is an insured benefit in Nova Scotia (NS). Coverage for SRS was based on what most other Canadian provinces insure, and the process they use to provide access to care.

The funding will help those who are deemed eligible and for whom the surgery is an important part of their gender transition. Counselling/psychotherapy and hormone therapy have always been funded when provided in public institutions in NS.

SRS can be categorized into three areas:

  • Removal of the internal and external organs associated with the current sex
  • Reconstruction of the external characteristics of the desired sex
  • Procedures to enhance the appearance and more closely match the desired sex

What's Covered:

List of approved surgeries and where they are performed

Female to Male (FtM)

  • Chest Masculinization / Mastectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Oophorectomy
  • Phalloplasty
  • Metoidioplasty

Male to Female (MtF)

  • Penectomy
  • Orchiectomy
  • Vaginoplasty

Procedures for the purposes of SRS done in NS include Oophorectomy, Hysterectomy and Orchiectomy (as an isolated procedure). Procedures performed for SRS which require out of province travel include Chest Masculinization / Mastectomy, Phalloplasty, Metoidioplasty, Penectomy, Orchiectomy, and Vaginoplasty.

What`s not covered:

For a complete list of coverage exemption can be found on the Sex Reassignment Surgery Approval Request Form

Who is Eligible:

Clinical eligibility for SRS will be determined through application of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care (SoC) criteria. The patient can be assessed by their physician, specialist or a health care professional (HCP) trained in the WPATH SoC. This assessment is required by other Canadian jurisdictions that insure these surgeries.

Application Process:

Once the patient has been deemed eligible for surgery by their physician, specialist, or a HCP trained in the WPATH SoC, and approved by MSI, they will work with a medical team to develop a surgical plan.

If you are interested in accessing SRS, you are encouraged to contact your family physician, specialist or community mental health team in your area or contact prideHealth (that provides safe and accessible primary health care services for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer).

View more information and resources at transhealth (Nova Scotia Health Authority, Central Zone) website.

To be approved for public funding, patients and their physician, specialist or HCP trained in WPATH SoC must complete a Sex Reassignment Surgery Approval Request Form prior to having surgery. This is especially relevant for patients who are required to travel outside the province for surgery.

Patients seeking out of province coverage and travel require pre-approval by MSI via the Sex Reassignment Surgery Approval Request Form.

Out-of-Province surgeries will only be approved for funding if they are to be performed at the Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie , Montreal, Quebec. . For eligible individuals who travel to Montreal for SRS, many costs directly associated with the procedure are covered and also include transportation and accommodation costs as per the Nova Scotia Out-of-Province Travel and Accommodation Assistance Policy.

For questions about how to access public funding for these surgeries, please contact MSI (in Nova Scotia) toll free at 1-800-563-8880, or email at: MSI@medavie.ca

To speak to someone directly about this coverage, please contact the Department of Health and Wellness at: 1-877-449-5476 (toll free) or 902- 424-7538.