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Health insurer unveils new benefit to assist members in transitioning journey

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November 11, 2021
By Talent Canada

As part of its ongoing efforts to support a diverse Canadian workforce, Medavie Blue Cross announced Nov. 10 that it will be expanding its benefits offering to include a Gender Affirmation Benefit.

“Supporting members and their families in their gender transition is one example of the actions we are taking to update our benefit plans to better reflect the people we serve,” said Marc Avaria, Vice President, product and disability management at Medavie Blue Cross.

“Adding the Gender Affirmation Benefit to our offering allows plans to increase access and provide financial support to plan members throughout their transitioning process.”

Qualifying Medavie Blue Cross members of groups that offer the benefit will have access to coverage across a wide range of potential procedures that are supplemental to government-funded programs.


The benefit builds on the organization’s recent work to adopt more inclusive language, a process that includes a review of all member tools and communications to ensure materials, conversations with clients, communications and its private business forms are inclusive.

“We are always working to identify opportunities where we can become a more inclusive health solutions partner,” said Avaria. “The Gender Affirmation Benefit and the updating of our language are great examples of this, as we ultimately want to ensure we provide members with inclusive choices and inclusive language for accessing their benefits. We also want to foster a culture where our employees feel they can bring their true selves to work.”

In recent years, as a society, our understanding and acceptance of the differences between gender (how an individual identifies) and sex (how an individual is biologically identified at birth) has evolved.

Given this, Medavie Blue Cross has begun updating its business forms and letters to use more inclusive language and options. Among the updates made to the forms is to remove all references to gender and adopt the use of more gender-neutral language. Employees also received the necessary training and tools to ensure all client and member communications reflect a more inclusive approach.

To help guide its DEI journey, Medavie has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion — a progressive social organization that helps its partners to be more inclusive, free of prejudice and discrimination, and recognize diversity as an asset and not an obstacle.

“Progressive employer partners, like Medavie, play an important role in creating a more inclusive society,” said Michael Bach, founder of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. “We applaud any organization that is always searching to adopt forward-looking initiatives to meet the diverse needs of its employees and clients.”

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