Accessing Inclusive Healthcare: Waitlisted

Updated: Apr 15

In Canada, access to healthcare is considered a human right. Here in Nova Scotia, accessing healthcare is challenging, frustrating and can be dehumanizing, due to a critical shortage in family general practitioners. This allocates transgender patients, looking for gender affirming healthcare, at a serious disadvantage and creates a fundamental barrier to the human right of gender identity and gender expression.

While not all trans patients wish to access affirming hormone therapy, those who do are often met with long wait times. For those people lucky enough to have a family physician, when their physician will not provide trans healthcare, it's harmful.

'Primary care providers such as family physicians and nurse practitioners should be able to assist you to get started on hormone therapy or refer you to someone who can.'

In 2020, we will be working with physicians and our inclusion team to breakdown these barriers and build more capacity in family doctor trans healthcare.

For Trans Patients:

  • Do you have your readiness letter but do not have a family physician or primary care provider?

  • Do you have your readiness letter and have a primary care provider but they do not provide trans affirming healthcare?

In 2020 our goal is to create a comprehensive accredited trans inclusive program for family practitioners - as well as breaking down waitlist barriers to trans inclusive healthcare. And we need your input.

You can help us advocate by filling out our Healthcare 'Waitlisted' Questionnaire:

Please take a moment to consider confidentially sharing your experience here in Nova Scotia and help us to understand the gaps in service. We will use this information to work with medical professionals and advocate for breaking these barriers:

Navigation for Patients: Hormone Pathway

PRIDE Health created a hormone pathway to help Nova Scotia patients navigate access to care:

Watch for an affirming surgery pathway to follow in 2020 from PRIDE Health.

Here is a guide to navigating trans health in Nova Scotia.

For Practitioners:

1. Information is Critical:

Working with local practitioners, SGF healthcare inclusion seminar is designed to provide Trans and Non-Binary - Gender Identity essentials supporting cultural competency and inclusive care.

2. Capacity for prescribing affirming hormones:

PRIDE Health offers information and guidance on all the info below.

I particularly love the format and ease of use in the guidelines Rainbow Health Ontario created with their comprehensive guide for trans care.

WPATH Resources:

Primary care providers interested in learning more about how to provide gender-affirming care can access the WPATH version 7 guidelines.

Certification courses happen yearly - in Halifax this is usually in the Spring. For dates to become WPATH certified please connect with the Trans Health Team at the IWK and QEII or email us at for assistance.

'The World Professional Association for Transgender Health promotes the highest standards of health care for individuals through the articulation of Standards of Care (SOC) for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People. The SOC are based on the best available science and expert professional consensus.'

Call Support

In British Columbia, doctors are able to receive support from a doctor with experience in this field by contacting the R.A.C.E. Line (Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise).

In Nova Scotia, there is a monthly support call-in available to all WPATH trained physicians. At the time of writing, I'm unsure if this is available to physicians looking to provide affirming care but are not WPATH.

Contact us for more information about this or PRIDE Health.


Also connect with PRIDE Health for a list to trans healthcare pathways.

Here is a guide to navigating trans health in Nova Scotia.

Other helpful materials to get you started include the following:

1. Guidelines and Protocols for Hormone Therapy and Primary Health Care for Trans Clients: Rainbow Health

2. Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy for Adults: Fenway Health

3. Protocols for the Initiation of Hormone Therapy for Trans and Gender Diverse Patients: Equinox

4. Gender-Affirming Care for Trans, Two-Spirit, and Gender Diverse Patients in BC: Trans Care BC

5. Interpreting and Informed Consent: The Provincial Language Service

We will be happy to update and share information as it becomes available..

Wishing health and love this holiday season an