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Judge rules Alberta law infringes on trans people’s rights

Manitoba proposes removing surgery requirement to change gender designation


A judge says the Alberta government has 30 days to issue a new birth certificate that reflects the gender designation used by a transgender woman who had filed a legal challenge.

The woman, 23, who represented herself in the case, has said she doesn’t want to undergo surgery.

According to a Canadian Press report, Judge Brian Burrows ruled that an Alberta law that requires people to have surgery before they can change the gender designation on their birth certificates violates trans people’s rights and should no longer be enforced.

The ruling follows an announcement by Premier Dave Hancock that the surgery requirement will be taken out of the Vital Statistics Act, but no time frame for its removal has been given.

Meanwhile, Manitoba’s government has also signalled that it will make changes to the Vital Statistics Act, saying it wants to drop the surgery requirement for people who want to change their gender designation on official documents.

In an April 25 statement, Ron Lemieux, the minister of consumer protection, says the move is a “matter of basic fairness.” He says proposed legislation would call for a statutory declaration and a healthcare professional’s support in writing in order to make requested changes to documents.

Canadians who were not born in Manitoba but who have lived in the province for at least one year would be able to apply for a change-of-sex-designation certificate, which can be used to amend identification documents.

In March, the BC government also introduced legislation that includes a proposed amendment to allow people, including minors, to change the gender designation on their birth certificates without having to prove they have undergone surgery. Minors must go through the extra step of getting the consent of their parents or guardians, the amendment states.

In 2012, Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal struck down a rule that required trans people to undergo surgery in order to change the sex category on their birth certificates.