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B.C. government amends over 740 instances of gender-based language in regulations

Changes better establish provincial rights for non-binary people, said ministry
Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

The B.C. government has updated 741 instances of gendered language in the regulations of 16 ministries.

Ninety per cent of the amendments addressed gender-binary language, including “he,” “she,” “himself” and “herself.” Such terms exclude transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The remaining 10 per cent amended gender-specific terms like “aunt,” “father” or “son” with terms like “parents’ sibling” or “child.”

The annual Better Regulations for British Columbians process, which oversaw the change, removes barriers to service and rights provided by the province, said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.

“It’s a way for government to make life a bit easier for the thousands of British Columbians who face unnecessary barriers due to outdated language and to help address gender bias.”

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An additional 33 regulations saw non-gender-based updates such as the replacement of “substance abuse” with “substance use.”

“The language we use shows how we think about people,” said Adrienne Smith, litigation director for the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre’s All-Genders Legal Clinic.

“This suite of changes shows trans people in British Columbia that this government is counting us in. Like explicit recognition for gender identity or expression in human rights legislation, these changes help two-spirit, trans and non-binary people recognize themselves in the law.”

The reference changes are the most ever removed in one year through the annual Better Regulations process, which has now updated a total of 1,300 instances of gendered language.

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Black Press Media Staff

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