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Gender-inclusive “X” option for ID documents

The Alberta government is taking an important step in advancing human rights, diversity and inclusion in the province.

Alberta offering gender-inclusive ID documents 98933

Premier Notley announced important changes to driver’s licences and identity documents that support transgender and gender-diverse Albertans and help build a more inclusive and welcoming province.

Albertans are now able to choose Female, Male or “X” on their driver’s licences, ID cards and vital statistics records, such as birth certificates and death certificates.

“It matters how we treat one another. By introducing an “X” marker on official documents, we are responding to concerns of the community and advancing equality for all Albertans, regardless of gender identity or expression. This is another step forward in making sure Alberta is a province that respects, protects and advances human rights.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

This is an important step in supporting transgender people and those who are transitioning or who do not identify with a specific gender. The “X” marker also offers privacy to those who don’t wish to disclose their gender.

The government has also made the application process easier for Albertans who are looking to change the marker on their identification. Applicants aged 12 and older no longer need a supporting letter from a medical professional to make changes. Parent or guardian consent is still needed for applicants aged 12 to 17, while those 18 and over can self-declare their marker.

Being limited to a “M” or “F” has meant that my citizenship hinges on something that misgenders me. The card I carry and use to tell people who I am disagrees with me, making it a burden I carry every day. With the “X” marker that burden is finally lifted, because I can now show people an ID that I agree with.

Quinn L. Nelson, student from Calgary

“For many who identify outside the traditional male-female binary, they can’t even fill out a form, use the washroom or show ID without having their gender identity dismissed and invalidated because society and systems don’t recognize them. The “X” marker sends a strong message that the government is committed to changing that narrative to one that says, ‘You are welcome. You are valid. And you deserve the same service and access as all Albertans.’”

Amelia Marie Newbert, co-founder, Skipping Stone Foundation

Alberta was the first Canadian jurisdiction to introduce legislation that enabled the “X” marker, and joins four others in adopting an “X” marker on identity documents.

The “X” marker on provincial documents aligns with other jurisdictions and federal processes so Albertans can easily access services such as health care in another province, or apply for a passport.

“These changes are an important step forward in making our province more inclusive and accessible for trans, intersex and gender-diverse Albertans. I congratulate our government on continuing to build a modern and progressive province which actively supports diversity and human rights.”

Kris Wells, director, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, University of Alberta

“The AARA supports important initiatives such as the third marker as an important step towards ensuring that all Albertans are treated with dignity and respect, and that our diversity is celebrated.”

Craig Couillard, president, Association of Alberta Registry Agents

For more than 90 years, AMA has built a relationship of trust with our members, and today we are proud to serve a diverse membership of nearly one million with respect and inclusivity.”

Michelle Chimko, chief operating officer, Alberta Motor Association

This is the latest in a series of government policy changes that defend the rights of transgender people. In November 2015, the government added gender identity and gender expression to the Alberta Human Rights Act, making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression in Alberta.

Quick facts

  • Alberta is the third province/territory in Canada to offer the third marker option on both birth certificates and driver’s licences/ID cards.
  • Four other Canadian jurisdictions have adopted the third marker on identity documents:
    • The federal government introduced an “X” sticker to passports and immigration documents in August 2017 as an interim measure until systems can be updated to accommodate a permanent change.
    • Ontario added an “X” option to driver’s licences and ID cards in March 2017 and an “X” option to birth certificates in May 2018.
    • Newfoundland and Labrador added an “X” option on birth certificates in September 2017.
    • The Northwest Territories added an “X” option to birth certificates in July 2017, and added an “X” option to driver’s licences and ID cards in December 2017.
  • In 2015, the Alberta Human Rights Act was amended to add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Background

The Vital Statistics and Life Events Modernization Act received royal assent in December 2016. The act includes a provision to allow a non-binary identifier on vital statistics records. Alberta was the first jurisdiction in Canada to enable this in legislation.

To ensure consistency across jurisdictions and the validity of documents when Albertans access federal programs, regulatory work on the changes to provincial documents began after the federal government made changes to travel documents in August 2017.

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Media inquiries

Government of Alberta