August 22, 2014
Hon. David Orazietti
Minister of Government and Consumer Services
Mowat Block 6th Flr
900 Bay St
Toronto ON M7A1L2
Please find attached the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) submission in response to Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ consultation regarding change of sex designation on a birth registration of a minor.
The OHRC welcomes the Ministry’s consultation, as there are a number of important human rights principles involved including the right to self-identify gender. These are reflected in the international Yogyakarta Principles, the OHRC’s new Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity, and in recent case law.
We are concerned that the government’s current practice - not allowing change of sex designation on birth registrations and certificates for anyone under 18 – is discriminatory based on gender identity and gender expression. When official documents don’t match lived gender identity, it can have an adverse effect on the lives of trans people while they are young and into adulthood, creating barriers and even safety risks when trying to access employment, housing and services like education.
Other areas of law do have provisions for dealing with minors, allowing legal guardians to give consent for example. Some jurisdictions have already amended their laws to permit change of sex designation on birth registrations and certificates for minors.
The OHRC’s submission makes a number of recommendations to help promote and protect the human rights of trans people in Ontario. We are available to discuss the submission further.
Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)