Changing legal gender assignment in Canada

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Procedures for changing legal gender assignment in Canada vary between provinces and territories.

Except for Quebec, the information below concerns altering the sex recorded on one's birth certificate, and therefore must be done with regard to the province or territory where one was born.


As of April 23, 2014, the information below (pertaining to Alberta) is inaccurate and needs to be updated.

To amend one's gender on legal marriage and birth records in Alberta the Vital Statistics Act SA 2007 (Section 30)[1] requires affidavits from two doctors stating that the applicant's "Anatomical sex has been changed". As a matter of regulation, these affidavits must be signed by the doctors in the presence of a commissioner for oaths or a notary public. In addition, a statutory declaration must be completed by the applicant and signed before a commissioner for oaths or a notary public. The statutory declaration (REG 3108) can be obtained by writing to the Vital Statistics office. The completed statutory declaration and the affidavits must be returned to this office with a $20 amendment fee.

Since April 23, 2014, the information can be changed with a letter from a psychiatrist, a letter from the applicant signed in front of a commissioner for oaths or a notary public, and the $20 amendment fee. These applications are handled on a case-by-case basis until legislation is in place to replace the old Vital Statistics Act.

British Columbia

In British Columbia the requirement for surgery to change the birth certificate gender marker was removed in 2014. [2]


Under Manitoba law, the Vital Statistics Act of Manitoba (C.C.S.M. c. V60) requires people seeking to change their sex on their birth record to provide proof of sexual reassignment surgery.[3] Names may be changed using the normal procedure, and do not require legal gender reassignment.

Amendments to the Change of Sex legislation under the Vital Statistics Act were proposed on April 25, 2014 to remove the requirement for sexual reassignment surgery to change sexual designation on government documents.[4]

To qualify for sexual reassignment surgery, individuals in Manitoba are required to live in the social role of their gender for at least one year. They are also required to obtain letters of recommendation from two mental health professionals.[5]

Manitoba Health covers the cost of sexual reassignment surgery, including orchidectomy (removal of the testicles), penectomy (removal of the penis), vaginoplasty (vaginal construction/reconstruction surgery), mastectomy (removal of breast(s)), hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and oophorectomy (removal of ovaries).[5]

Nova Scotia

As per the Vital Statistics Act:[6]


On 11 April 2012, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled that sexual reassignment surgery is no longer required for a change in sex designation in government documents. In its decision, the Tribunal ordered that the Ontario government "shall cease requiring [Ontario born only] transgender persons to have 'transsexual surgery' in order to obtain a change in sex designation on their registration of birth" and has 180 days to "revise the criteria for changing sex designation on a birth registration".[7][8] This makes Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow Ontario born transgender people to change the gender on their Ontario only birth certificates without sex reassignment surgery.[9]

Pursuant to the Tribunal ruling, an applicant now only requires an Application for Change of Sex Designation on a Birth Registration form, a statutory declaration to the effect, and a letter signed by a medical doctor or psychologist that is licensed to practice in Canada stating that the applicant's gender identity does not conform to their sex designation at birth.[10]


The relevant legislation is the Saskatchewan Vital Statistics Act. It requires a medical certificate of completed SRS from a physician licensed in the jurisdiction where the surgery took place (or, if this cannot be obtained, other documentation as required by the director of vital statistics); a certificate signed by a second licensed physician attesting that the person was examined and found to be of the target sex; and "any other evidence the director may require." With this, the sex on a birth certificate issued in Saskatchewan may be altered. The fee is $20. See Saskatchewan Health—Vital Statistics.

See also

  • Legal aspects of transsexualism
  • Name change
  • List of transgender-related topics


  2. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.. Government of British Columbia. Retrieved on 25 February 2015.
  3. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.. Government of Manitoba. Retrieved on 23 October 2014.
  4. News Release. Government of Manitoba. Retrieved on 23 October 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Template error: argument title is required. 
  7. XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services), 2012 HRTO 726 (CanLII), retrieved on 2012-04-19
  8. "Legal sex change doesn't require surgery, tribunal says", 19 April 2012. Retrieved on 19 April 2012. 
  9. Template error: argument title is required. 
  10. Changing your sex designation on your birth registration and birth certificate. ServiceOntario. Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved on 5 April 2013.


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