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Saskatchewan is Catching Up!
As of May 27, 2016, with the resolution of a human rights complaint brought forward by a transgender woman, all transgender adults in Saskatchewan who want the gender designation on their birth certificate changed will no longer have to have surgery in order to receive new identification.
Under The Vital Statistics Act, 2009 transgender people are required to have “gender reassignment surgery” before a change in the birth certificate can be made. Through an agreed upon consent order issued in February, the Registrar of Vital Statistics now has the authority to change the sex designation for transgender adults.
The Court of Queen’s Bench consent order was issued in response to a human rights complaint filed by Mrs. Laura Budd with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. The Commission applied to the Court for a hearing on her behalf, and argued that the existing legislation is contrary to section 12 of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. Section 12 of the Code states that no person or group can be denied accommodation, services, or facilities based on a prohibited ground – in this case, the ground of sex. As part of the resolution, a one-time donation of $20,000 was paid to Moose Jaw Pride for the purpose of providing public education about the rights of transgender people.
“Mrs. Budd’s commitment to this process will greatly benefit all transgender people in our province,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “We know that transgender people face discrimination in housing, employment, and they also face travel restrictions – in part because of the mismatch between their gender identity and their government issued identification.”
The Court of Queen’s Bench consent order allows the Registrar of Vital Statistics to make the change on birth certificates for transgender adults who already have made a request, and for those who make a request in the future. The Government of Saskatchewan has agreed to introduce legislation to amend the existing laws to comply with the order.