A trans rights activist at the heart of a recently settled human rights complaint says it is now only a matter of time before the federal government drops any mention of gender from government−issued identification.
Christin Milloy and the federal government settled a long−running human rights complaint earlier this month after the Liberals agreed the federal government doesn’t always need to know someone’s sex or gender before handing out a social insurance number.
Milloy’s human rights complaint argued the department’s policy of using the sex designation at birth discriminated against transgender persons. She also noted that the information was not necessary to identify a number’s holder.
Social Development Minister Jean−Yves Duclos said in a statement this week that his department will only collect the information if needed to receive a benefit or for legitimate purposes, such as policy and program development.
The government will no longer make it mandatory to provide sex or gender information for a social insurance number and provide a third option for those who want to provide the detail but don’t identify as male or female. ESDC also no longer requires supporting documents to change the gender designation in the registry.
Milloy said other trans activists will likely refer to her settlement in pushing governments to adopt gender−neutral identification.
"It is an acknowledgment that they’ve made which sets the stage for the removal of sex and gender everywhere," she said.
Next up may be passports, which have been under government review for almost two years.
Seven countries allow a third sex designation on their passports and passport standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization, which Canada adheres to, allow governments to allow a third sex or gender category, usually marked with an ‘X.’
Federal immigration officials first started looking into the issue in 2015, but have yet to come to any decision. A spokesman for the department said officials are still considering offering a third−sex option on department−issued documents, including passports, "as not all people identify with the choices of either female or male."
The review at the immigration department and a similar one that Employment and Social Development Canada went through with the social insurance program, is part of a government−wide review of how sex and gender information is used in all manner of government programs.