Employment and Social Development Canada settlement agreement on gender information collection

News Release

January 25, 2017                Ottawa, Ontario                Employment and Social Development Canada

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has reached an important settlement agreement resolving a complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission filed in 2012 by Christin Milloy with respect to its practice of collecting sex and gender information for the Social Insurance Number (SIN) program and the Social Insurance Register.

The terms of the settlement were approved by the Canadian Human Rights Commission on January 18, 2017.

In 2015 ESDC ceased requesting supporting documentation for anyone who requests a change to their gender designation in the Social Insurance Register.  The department will amend its SIN client-facing documents and procedures to indicate that providing sex/gender information is optional, and allow at least three options (male/female/3rd option) for completion of any sex/gender question.

ESDC recognizes that personally-identifiable sex or gender data can only be collected if there are legitimate purposes, for example to inform gender based analysis and policy and program development, and will review the collection of sex/gender data in all its programming and benefits.


“Our government is committed to protecting trans and other gender-diverse persons from discrimination, hate propaganda, and hate crimes. That is why we tabled Bill C-16 to enshrine protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression into law. We will continue to work with and listen to the trans and other gender-diverse community about how to best address their needs, protect their rights and affirm their equal status in our society.”
Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues

“As a government, we feel that this settlement is a step in the right direction. My department is committed to reviewing its data collection to determine when it is justifiable to ask an individual for their gender as a condition of receiving a government service or for other legitimate purposes.  As well, I’ve asked that the department continue to participate in government-wide discussions on gender designation issues and support the work of the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, MP Randy Boissonnault.”
– The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Mathieu Filion
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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