On October 1st 1998, the provincial government of Ontario under the Conservative Mike Harris unilaterally delisted transition related surgery from OHIP coverage. This meant that transgender people in Ontario could no longer get provincial funding for their surgeries. At the time, surgeries were costing the province only $122,000 a year.
No one providing transgender healthcare had been consulted or informed about the change. Patients at the Clarke were left in limbo. The fight to get surgery relisted would shape the following decade. It is important to remember that surgery was still required in order to change one’s gender, so this sudden change left many without a way to access the legal system.