Skip to main content
//empty //empty

Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding announces more than $150 million maintenance and repair to the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg Friday, March 15, 2019. The Manitoba government has been ordered to start offering non-binary sex designations on its birth certificates.

The Canadian Press

The Manitoba government has been ordered to start offering non-binary sex designations on its birth certificates.

A human rights adjudicator has also ordered the province to pay $50,000 to a transgender individual who wanted the sex designation on their birth certificate replaced with an “X” and was denied.

The complainant, who is identified as T.A. because of a publication ban, filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission after the request was turned down in 2014.

Story continues below advertisement

Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Agency said all birth certificates have two options – male or female – under provincial law and no other option is allowed.

The independent adjudicator who heard the case ruled that the government’s position is discriminatory and there is nothing under the law that would prevent a third designation from being offered.

Adjudicator Dan Manning also said the seriousness of the province’s actions toward the complainant was on “the high end.”

“Gender identity is a part of our concept of selfhood. The (vital statistics) director’s practice to not allow non-binary designations of sex designation and only permit male or female designations was effectively the government refusing to acknowledge T.A.’s agency and personhood,” Manning wrote in his ruling released Tuesday.

“The difficulties faced by trans and non-binary individuals in our society are many. Human rights tribunals have long recognized the disadvantages faced by trans people and non-binary individuals in society.”

Manning gave the province 180 days to start offering non-binary sex designations on birth certificates and 60 days to pay T.A. compensation. He rejected a request for a further $25,000 in exemplary damages, saying he found no evidence of malice or recklessness in the government’s behaviour.

A one-sentence written statement from the office of Finance Minister Scott Fielding, who is responsible for the Vital Statistics Agency, said the government received the decision and “will now carefully review it to determine next steps.”

Story continues below advertisement

The complainant’s lawyer said T.A. is happy with the ruling.

“It is an important step forward for the trans community both in Manitoba and across Canada … so T.A. is feeling very pleased with the result,” Susan Ursel said.

“I think the Manitoba decision actually is keeping pace with where the rest of Canada and the world are moving.”

Some other provinces have already adopted gender-neutral identity documents.

Since last summer, Nova Scotians can choose “X” as a gender indicator – or choose not to display a gender – on birth certificates, drivers’ licences and other documents.

Other provinces including Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador also offer an “X” option.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies