Simplifying and streamlining our family-building benefits

At the start of 2023, UBC introduced a range of new family-building benefits to help support eligible faculty and staff with the costs incurred when accessing fertility, surrogacy, and adoption services. 

Already these additional benefits have made it possible for people to access these important health-care services. We have received feedback in the last 12 months and have worked with our benefits provider – Sun Life – to make changes to streamline the processes and ensure we can deliver these services sustainably. 

Some of these changes have come into effect on February 1, 2024, and there are more changes scheduled for April 1, 2024. 

Changes to fertility benefit: February 1, 2024 

One of the changes implemented is a shift in the fertility treatment maximum from a “per member per lifetime maximum” to a “per family per lifetime maximum” to provide the same level of support regardless of how many people are in the family and to align with the other family building benefit provisions (e.g., adoption; surrogacy). In addition, this approach aligns with fertility clinics' ability to bill by family.   

As of February 1, the maximum for fertility treatments is $50,000 per family per lifetime. 

Changes to surrogacy and adoption benefits: April 1, 2024 

EDIT: A previous version of this story included information about a new process and form for fertility-related expenses. We have removed this information as we clarifying the details of this change with Sun Life. We will update this story when the information is made available. 

Surrogacy medical expenses 

Surrogacy medical services have moved to the Extended Health Plan. Meaning, eligible faculty and staff can now submit claims using the same Extended Health Plan number – 025205 – as we use for other extended health claims. In addition, the process for enrolling the surrogate has been simplified. Instead of two forms (a form for enrolling the surrogate and another to make a claim), Sun Life will use the information provided on the claim form to add the surrogate to the plan.  

Under this provision, you will be reimbursed for the costs you and/or your eligible spouse paid on behalf of your surrogate for surrogacy medical expenses up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000 per family. These services include physician and lab services; expenses related to the egg, embryo and sperm; genetic testing; and insemination & fertilization services.   

Now that surrogacy medical expenses are reimbursed under the extended health plan, they will no longer be considered a taxable benefit. Previously, medical expenses for a surrogate were reimbursed separately under a different plan and were considered a taxable benefit. 

These changes and the necessary forms will be added to the UBC HR website on April 1, 2024.  

Surrogacy non-medical expenses  

This benefit has now been renamed as the “Supplemental Surrogacy Benefit”.  Under this plan, you can be reimbursed for the costs you and/or your eligible spouse paid on behalf of your surrogate for the surrogacy non-medical expenses up to a lifetime maximum of $2,000 per family.  

These expenses include midwives and doulas, vitamins and nutrition counselling From April 1, 2024, eligible faculty and staff will be able to claim reimbursements for working with a lactation consultant and educational courses and materials related to surrogacy.   

Similar to the Surrogacy medical expenses, referenced earlier, these latest changes mean that surrogates will not need to be enrolled separately. Sun Life will collect this information when the first claim is made.    

Expenses under the Supplemental Surrogacy Benefit are a taxable benefit and subject to Canada Pension Plan and Income tax deductions. 

Adoption expenses

Under this benefit, you will be reimbursed for the costs you and/or your eligible spouse paid for expenses related to the adoption process up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000 per family. Adoption expenses currently include post-placement visits, legal fees (inside or outside Canada), home studies fees, document translation fees, and criminal record checks.   

Effective April 1, 2024, we are adding two new expense categories:   

  • Transportation and accommodation expenses for adopting parent and/or child if travel is required for the adoption process.   
  • Educational courses and materials related to adoption.  

We are also making some clarifying changes to two expenses:   

  • Previously, we referred to “in country consultations”, these expenses will now specifically cover registration fees from local, provincial, or national governmental agencies.   
  • Agency fees will change to an Adoption agency or consulting fees from an established commercial organization or agency with a valid business license that provides adoption services (within or outside Canada).  

Expenses under the Adoption Benefit are a taxable benefit and subject to Canada Pension Plan and Income tax deductions. 

For more information 

For more information on the Adoption, Surrogacy medical, and Supplemental surrogacy expenses, please review the Family-building benefits page – this will be updated on April 1, 2024, with the new details. You can also learn more by reviewing your employee group’s Extended Health and Dental booklet. 

We also have three new flyers from Sun Life. If you would like a quick reference for the details of the Adoption, Surrogacy Medical, and Supplemental Surrogacy Expenses. You are also encouraged to print these and display them in your workplace if appropriate.   

If you have any questions about your UBC benefits, including eligibility, what’s covered, and how to make claims, please contact the Benefits team. 


  • HR
  • Benefits FYI

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