The Government of the Northwest Territories introduced two important changes to the Vital Statistics Act (VSA) that promote inclusion and respect. The Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission is pleased to see changes that will have a positive effect on Indigenous and LGBTQ+ residents.
Changes will allow Indigenous people to register a single traditional name based on their culture and allow LGBTQ+ people to amend the gender marker on their NWT birth certificate without surgery. The VSA also includes the option of an alternate gender marker for people born in the NWT who don’t identify as male or female.
The Northwest Territories is the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer a third gender marker option on birth certificates.
The Commission is encouraged by this move towards building an inclusive territory. Everyone in the North deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and we are pleased to see the government taking a leadership role in this capacity. This is an important step in working toward creating fair and equitable identity documents that recognize and respect Indigenous cultures and the right to self-identification.