The Federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Health has initiated a study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) health in Canada. This includes a review of the challenges LGBTQ2 communities face in accessing health services (physical, mental and sexual) across the country. As part of this, the committee invited the public to make written submissions.
With contributions from two BLG lawyers, Daniel Girlando and John McIntyre, and other lawyers across Canada, the Canadian Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Section and Health Law Section jointly made recommendations on five topics, briefly summarized below and available in full on the CBA website.
- Conversion therapy — institute clear criminal and taxation sanctions for those individuals and organizations offering conversion therapy, as the current bans on public funding for conversion therapy in Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Vancouver are not enough to protect children and vulnerable adults;
- Access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatments — study the cross-Canada public coverage of PrEP (a prophylactic drug linked to a decline in new HIV infections) as part of the federal government's impending national pharmacare plan;
- Intersex surgery on infants and children — institute criminal prohibitions on genital normalizing surgeries on children with intersex variations until the child can meaningfully participate in the decision (except where there is an immediate risk to the child's health);
- Eligibility to donate blood — immediately implement the recommendation to reduce the restriction on donations from men who have sex with men to three months after their last sexual contact (instead of one year) and continue to review based on new research and recommendations [note: the Minister of Health announced this change on May 8, 2019]; and
- Trans health — increase sensitivity and competence training in trans health care issues for providers and fund training for gender confirming surgeries.