Nfld. & Labrador

Reassignment surgery not necessary to change gender markers on N.L. ID

Sex reassignment surgery is no longer required prior to changing the gender marker on birth and marriage certificates in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Legislature unanimously passes law helping transgender people change IDs

The Newfoundland and Labrador government no longer requires people to undergo sex reassignment surgery in order to change their gender designation. (CBC)

Sex reassignment surgery is no longer required prior to changing the gender marker on birth and marriage certificates in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The House of Assembly put aside usual convention Wednesday in order to make sure that changes to the Vital Statistics Act and the Change of Name Act passed third reading on Pink Shirt Day, which celebrates respect, tolerance and an anti-bullying message. 

"With the day of pink it shows that all members in this House of Assembly …are all concerned about this bill," said Eddie Joyce, the minister responsible for Service NL.

"This is a proud bill for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, that people can have pride Mr. Speaker, people now have dignity," he said in the house.

Normally Wednesday is set aside for private members' resolutions but with unanimous consent, MHAs agreed to pass the bill.

It received royal assent later Wednesday afternoon, which means the changes are now law.

The change comes after an order by the province's Human Rights Commission, which responded to requests by transgender advocates.

Joyce described the changes as "a positive development" that respects the rights of transgender individuals. 

"We appreciate the important role played by LGBTQ advocates who sought this change," he said. 

Two transgender women, who filed complaints with the commission, said the way the government handled gender markers on certificates was discrimination.

In July, the provincial government said it was planning to change the Vital Statistics Act during the next sitting of the House of Assembly.

Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia have also taken steps to facilitate a change of sex designation on certificates without people having to undergo surgery.