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Improving gender designation process for people in B.C.

January 14, 2022 1:35 pm


Two-spirit, transgender and gender-diverse people in British Columbia are able to change gender designations on the BC Services Card, B.C. driver’s licence, BCID card and B.C. birth certificate without the confirmation of a physician or psychologist.

This action, which came into effect on Jan. 10, 2022, stems from initial progress made when B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to revise its legislation to remove the requirement for surgery before an individual can change the gender on their birth certificate.

“Moving to a non-medical model of gender identification will reduce a real barrier that two- spirit, transgender, non-binary and other gender-diverse people in the province face when trying to change their identification documents,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Each individual knows their own gender best, and today, I am proud that our government is recognizing this by taking landmark action.”

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Citizens’ Services and the Insurance Corporation of BC have worked together to implement this change. 

“Our government is committed to advancing equity for two-spirit, transgender and gender-diverse people,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This announcement will make it easier for people to have their true genders reflected on their B.C. identification documents. We will continue our work toward creating a health-care system that works for everyone.”

Adults wanting to change their gender designations will be required to complete an Application for Change of Gender Designation, which includes a self-declaration. People under 19 will also need to provide proof of parent and/or guardian support.

“Today’s announcement builds on the 2018 implementation of the X gender marker, where we added a third gender option for government ID,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “By removing the medical requirement for a change of gender designation, this is part of our continued commitment to making this government, its services and the province increasingly accessible for people of all genders.”

A third gender designation option, an X gender marker, on provincial government-issued identification documents came into effect on Nov. 1, 2018.


Lorraine Grieves, provincial program director, Trans Care BC –

“By making this change to allow people to self-declare their gender on identity documents, the Province is taking an important step in respecting the rights of two-spirit, transgender and gender-diverse people in B.C. Now, gender-diverse individuals will have easier access to ID documents that match their lived identities, which, for many, will have a profound impact.”

Adrienne Smith (they/them), litigation director for the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre’s All-Genders Legal Clinic –

“Trans people have a legal right to have their names and gender markers recognized. This change removes a barrier that will make the government application process easier for people. We still have lots of work to do to streamline the name and gender change application process. Our community has been calling for change for a long time. Removing this barrier to legal recognition signals that our government is listening.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since Nov. 1, 2018, people who do not identify as male or female have had the choice to display an X as a third option in the sex field of their B.C. driver’s licence, identity card, birth certificate and BC Services Card.
  • Trans Care BC defines transgender, or trans, as an umbrella term that describes a wide range of people whose gender differs from their assigned sex at birth. In B.C., an estimated 46,000 (1%) people identify as trans or gender diverse.
  • Trans Care BC defines non-binary as an umbrella term referring to diverse people whose gender identity is neither female nor male.

Two backgrounders follow.

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