Improved access to fertility services for military members

July 9, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – The Canadian Armed Forces (“CAF”) and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (“CHRC”) are pleased to announce that changes have been made to the CAF’s Spectrum of Care policy (“policy”) to expand eligibility for coverage of expenses related to fertility services. In keeping with one of the principles of the policy - to be in alignment with the provinces - the CAF has aligned with the province of Ontario in removing the definition of medical infertility as it relates to the provision of fertility services. The CAF Spectrum of Care now provides coverage for fertility consultation, testing, and services to all eligible CAF members. Fertility procedures, including intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) and in-vitro fertilization (“IVF”), are provided to eligible CAF members to mirror those provided through the Ontario provincial health care system. These changes have been communicated to all CAF members through a communication tool (CANFORGEN) which has been sent CAF-wide.

This announcement follows a deliberate review of fertility-related coverage by the CAF Spectrum of Care Committee, in addition to a confidential mediated settlement of a complaint brought by a CAF member (“Complainant”) under the Canadian Human Rights Act which dealt with coverage of fertility expenses for a same-sex couple.

Quote from the CAF

Major-General Marc Bilodeau, Surgeon General, Canadian Armed Forces: “Diversity and inclusion are core institutional values of the CAF and we are committed to improving the health and resilience of our members. The CAF recognizes the importance of maintaining a health care policy which ensures comparability with the provinces and additionally meets the unique needs of our members. We are pleased with the collaboration that occurred to achieve this positive outcome.”

CHRC statement

Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry: “This is a great thing for families and hopeful parents across the Canadian Armed Forces. The Canadian Human Rights Commission applauds the Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment to accessible health care for its members, including coverage related to fertility testing and treatment of infertility. We also want to recognize the courage of the complainant in raising these issues. Her perseverance will benefit other CAF members for years to come.”

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