Manitoba must offer non-binary sex designations on its birth certificates according to a human rights ruling. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Manitoba must offer non-binary sex designations on its birth certificates according to a human rights ruling. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Human rights ruling says Manitoba must offer gender-neutral birth certificates

WINNIPEG — 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.

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.”

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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2019.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artists of all genres are encouraged to apply for a variety of awards and scholarships available through the Red Deer Arts Council. This mixed-media work, Shadow Man by Paul Boultbee, has shown at the Kiwanis Gallery, operated by the council. (Contributed image).
Red Deer-area artists can apply for various awards, scholarships by March 1

The Red Deer Arts Council seeks to encourage artistic development

People lineup at a hotel for the homeless before the 8 p.m. COVID-19 curfew on Jan. 11, 2021, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

The body of 25-year-old Kyler Corriveau was discovered near Red Deer on Sunday. He was missing since Dec. 15. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contrinuted photo).
RCMP are investigating the death of missing Red Deer man as a homicide

The body of Kyler Corriveau was discovered on Sunday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 over Tuesday afternoon. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

Community Futures Central Alberta, in partnership with the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN), is behind the SMARTstart initiative for budding entrepreneurs.
New program aimed at helping entrepreneurs succeed

Program offers mentorship, business advice and networking opportunities

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) scores the game-winning goal past Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) during overtime in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Canadian women's soccer team member Rhian Wilkinson is seen during a training session in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Premier League-Darren Goldstein **MANDATORY CREDIT**
CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

United States forward Brianna Decker (14) and Canada forward Marie-Philip Poulin battle for the puck during first period of 2018 Four Nations Cup gold medal game in Saskatoon on November 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
Together at last, Canadian women’s hockey team reunites after pandemic separation

Together at last, Canadian women’s hockey team reunites after pandemic separation

Soldiers parade from Parliament Hill as they take part in the National Day of Honour in Ottawa on Friday, May 9, 2014. Canada’s veterans ombudsman is calling on the federal government reverse to restrictions on the provision of mental-health services for the families of retired military personnel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ombudsman slams new restrictions on mental-health support for veterans’ families

Ombudsman slams new restrictions on mental-health support for veterans’ families

FILE - John Mulaney arrives at night one of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. A file obtained by The Associated Press shows the U.S. Secret Service investigated John Mulaney, but found no wrongdoing in a joke the comedian made on “Saturday Night Live” in February 2020. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, file photo, Tom Hanks arrives at the People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebs join inaugural

Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like… Continue reading

A Honduran migrant poses for a photo at a road block manned by Guatemalan soldiers and police, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Some migrants threw rocks while authorities launched tear gas and pushed the migrants with their riot shields back down the highway. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)
Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

Most Read