Alberta introduces Gender-inclusive “X” option for ID documents


Credit: Government of Alberta

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. 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.

“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.

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.

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. Alberta is the third province/territory in Canada to offer the third marker option on both birth certificates and driver’s licences/ID cards.

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.

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.

  • 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.

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