Modernizing the Government of Canada's sex and gender information practices

The Government of Canada is working to improve how 2SLGBTQI+ communities access and experience federal programs and services.

In September 2018, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Department of Justice Canada presented recommendations on ways to modernize how the Government of Canada handles information on sex and gender. The resulting policy direction for the whole-of-government touches on both service delivery for people in Canada and the role of the government as Canada’s largest employer.

A small team was tasked with using a service design approach and the guidelines set out in the Government of Canada Digital Standards to support departments and agencies as they began implementing the policy direction. The support to federal organizations includes tools and resources that will help departments and agencies in their efforts.

The Government of Canada is making progress. Canadians can now choose a passport with a third gender marker. People will be able to self-identify their gender on the 2021 Census. The Government’s internal recruitment process is now more inclusive. Departments and agencies are beginning with initial steps, like building an understanding of gender and embedding gender diversity in the Government of Canada’s programs and services. Longer-term efforts for business modernization, like IT upgrades and implementation of new practices and processes will take more time.

As we continue to include diversity and inclusion in the development of programs and services, it is important to keep in mind that full implementation will be complex and, as seen in other jurisdictions, could take years. Initiating a genuine conversation about gender diversity represents a first step, not the final state.

Read more about how we’re modernizing

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