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What people are saying about B.C.'s new Gender and Sex Data Standard

Aaron Devor, chair in transgender studies, University of Victoria –

“The new Gender and Sex Data Standard adopted by the Province of British Columbia is an important step forward in recognizing and protecting transgender, non-binary and other gender-diverse people’s right to be accurately and respectfully represented in government data.”

Karen Courtney, registered nurse and associate professor, school of health information science, University of Victoria –

“This standard represents an important step forward in improving services for all residents of British Columbia and can be a model for other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.”

Adrienne Smith, litigation director, transgender legal clinic, Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre –

“Keeping accurate records about Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary British Columbians means we can make evidence-based decisions about programs that serve our community. This is a good step. In these dangerous times, when our community is facing unprecedented attacks, it is good to see our government saying we literally count.”

Kelly Davison, registered nurse, certified terminology standards specialist, subject matter collaborator and co-chair, Canada Health Infoway Sex-Gender Working Group -

“This standard has been co-developed in partnership with a broad community of health-services representatives and care experts, researchers, standards development organizations and people with lived experience. This standard demonstrates clearly that B.C. is committed to human rights, dignity and respect, and to being a global leader in inclusive health care by supporting a consistent and inclusive approach to sex- and gender-related health information. We are very proud of the work that we have done so far and look forward to further engagement on this standard as we move forward with implementation.”

Karen McCredie, executive director, EducationPlannerBC –

“A more inclusive gender nomenclature is critical to the success and safety for all students. It creates a culture of diversity and inclusion in education that sets a positive model for our broader society. Promoting gender inclusivity inspires post-secondary institutions to build curriculum, classrooms, programs, residences, communications and policies that are welcoming to everyone.”

Stephen Salem, manager, integrated planning and effectiveness, Thompson Rivers University –

“These standards allow for post-secondary students to select a gender that is appropriate to their identity creating a more inclusive campus.”

New Gender and Sex Data Standard and guidelines
  • The incorporation of gender identity in federal and provincial human rights law has led to the development of a B.C. government-wide Gender and Sex Data Standard.
  • A data standard specifies what information is collected and how it is used.
  • Information about a person’s gender or sex is personal information and must only be collected if there is a need for that information.
  • The scope of the Gender and Sex Data Standard is limited to standardize definitions required for consistent gender and sex data-collection practices in provincial government administrative data.
  • The Gender and Sex Data Standard guidelines provide more information about the background and usage of the standard.
  • It ensures that government only collects the data that is needed, and only collects it when necessary for program and service delivery.


  • In July 2016, the BC Human Rights Code was amended to include gender identity or expression among the protected grounds covered by the code.
  • In July 2017, the federal government added gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, which made it necessary to distinguish the concepts of sex and gender identity.
  • Other jurisdictions and organizations in Canada (Government of Canada, Statistics Canada) introduced new, more inclusive information-management standards for the collection of gender and sex information in September 2018.
  • In 2022, the provincial government removed the need for physician or psychologist confirmation for gender-designation changes by people older than 12 to further reduce barriers.
    • These steps help ensure that government-issued identification displays a person’s correct gender, which reduces misgendering and signifies a better recognition of all people in B.C.
  • In February 2023, the new provincewide Gender and Sex Data Standard was released.
  • Provincial social-sector ministries (education and child care, social development and poverty reduction, and children and family development) have already adopted the standard by updating forms and processes.
  • Updated applications include My Family Services, My Self Serve, Online Employment Services, Adopt BC Kids, and government ministries’ Integrated Case Management System used by front-line staff to support the public.