Service Canada ditches ‘Mr’, ‘Miss’, ‘mother’, ‘father’

Published On March 26, 2018 | By Rucha Devarchetti | Politics

Transgender flag (torbakhopper/Flickr)

Rucha Devarchetti

Service Canada took the first step to eliminating gender issues.

The government agency circulated a directive to its employees to adopt the usage of gender-neutral language with the public. This means that employees will refrain from using titles like Mr., Miss or Mrs.

Moreover, words such as father and mother will also not be used since they indicate a specific gender. However, the directive is unclear about what title these terms would be replaced with.

Anne Creighton, president of LGBTQ+ support group Toronto Pflag, agreed with the initiative.

“We have a long-standing tradition of gendering people as man and woman, but there are people on the gender spectrum that don’t identify as either of these,” she said. “They consider themselves to be gender neutral. A more inclusive way of addressing everyone is by using gender-neutral language.

“I think what the government is probably trying to do is not leave anyone out,” Creighton said.

She hopes other government agencies will follow Service Canada’s footsteps in adopting gender-neutral language.

Service Canada’s new initiative had positive and negative reactions from different political parties.

While the Conservative opposition was quick to ridicule the idea, Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended the agency’s decision. He stated the agency’s policies are a matter of respect.

Egale Canada Human Rights Trust executive director Helen Kennedy offered support to the Service Canada initiative. Her words echoed Creighton’s opinion.

“People who don’t fit into ‘neat boxes’ often have uncomfortable and negative experiences when using government services,” Kennedy said. “It is necessary for government to provide its staff with training that highlights the importance of properly gendering people.”

 

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