“X” gender designation in Canadian passports, other IRCC documents to support LGBTQ2 rights

Ahmed Hussen
Ahmed Hussen

AHMED Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on Thursday announced that the Government of Canada will be working to implement an “X” gender designation in Canadian passports, as well as other documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to support LGBTQ2 rights and advance the government’s agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

An “X” will make it easier for people who do not identify as female (“F”) or male (“M”) to acquire passports and other government-issued documents that better reflect their gender identity.

Starting August 31, IRCC will be the first Government of Canada department to introduce interim measures, which include allowing individuals to add an observation to their passport stating their sex should be identified as “X,” indicating that it is unspecified. Interim measures will be available until IRCC is able to print documents with an “X.”

The government said this announcement follows steps to protect Canadians in their right to the gender identity of their choice, and freedom of gender expression. Earlier this summer, Bill C-16 amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and added gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

In the coming months, the government said it will continue this important work in developing a consistent federal approach to how its programs and services collect, use and display sex and gender information so Canadians can have their gender more accurately reflected in government documents while also protecting their privacy. It said it is committed to better reflecting the gender identity and gender diversity of Canadians.

Hussen said: “All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose. By introducing an “X” gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.”

On November 15, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, appointed Randy Boissonnault, MP for Edmonton Centre, as Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues. Boissonnault’s principal role is to advise the Prime Minister on the development and coordination of the Government of Canada’s LGBTQ2 agenda.