The province of Ontario is about to make an important change when it comes to personal identification – and one that’s a sign of the times.
As of early 2017, Ontario residents who don’t identify as exclusively male or female will have another option on their health card and driver’s license, according to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
They will be able to mark their gender as “X” instead of the existing options of “M” or “F”.
“Many Ontarians do not identify as female or male,” Lalonde told reporters. Of course, this isn’t surprising news given the growing and impossible-to-ignore gender-neutral movement.
“As society’s understanding of gender evolves, government must adapt. Part of that is being more thoughtful about how and when we collect gender or sex information, and how we use it. We look forward to getting input from the public on these important policy changes this summer,” said Lalonde.
This change comes in the wake of the June 13 implementation for Ontario health cards to no longer display gender information on the face of the card. “The purpose of health cards is to show that the card holder is eligible for public health care. A person’s sex is not relevant,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins.
Although Ontario isn’t the first to make the change – Australia, Nepal and New Zealand were early adopters of the “X” option – it is the first in North America to make the progressive change.
Appropriately timed with Toronto’s Pride Month, the changes reflect the government’s general plan to become more all-inclusive with respect to gender diversity and those in the LGBTQ community.
You don’t have to wait until your renewal date to make the change, either.
Residents who want a new health card without a sex identifier can go to a ServiceOntario centre or call 1-866-532-3161.