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Gender on Health Cards and Driver's Licences

Archived Backgrounder

Gender on Health Cards and Driver's Licences

Ontario is changing the way it displays sex and gender information on health cards and driver's licences.

Health cards:

From June 13 onward, sex designation is no longer displayed on the Ontario health card. Upon their next renewal, cardholders will receive a card that does not indicate sex.

An Ontario health card that does not show sex designation is valid. The face of these cards has changed, but the way they work is the same. As always, health care providers are reminded to validate a patient's health card number at the time of service.

To get a health card without a sex indicator before your regular renewal date, call 1-866-532-3161 (TTY 1-800-387-5559) or visit any ServiceOntario centre. To find a location near you, visit ServiceOntario.ca/FindServices.

There is no fee to get a new health card.

Driver's licences:

In early 2017, driver's licence holders will be given the option to display an 'X' on their card as their gender identifier if they do not exclusively identify as male or female.

An Ontario driver's licence with an 'M', 'F' or 'X' in the sex field will be valid and may be used as identification. There will be no other changes to the information on the driver's licence card, and standard procedures for verifying the validity of Ontario driver's licences will continue to apply.

The Ministry of Transportation is considering ways to reduce the risks and impacts that the holder of a gender-neutral licence may face. This includes working with law enforcement agencies and licence-issuing authorities across North America to raise awareness about the changes to the Ontario driver's licence.

In addition, the Ministry of Transportation needs to make updates to its computer systems to allow it to begin issuing licences with an 'M', 'F' or 'X'.

Some other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Nepal, use an 'X' instead of an 'M' or 'F' on government records when gender is not specified. It is also a standard accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which promotes consistency among travel documents.

When they are available, there will not be a fee to get a driver's licence with an 'X'. 

To sign up to receive an email alert when you can apply for a driver's licence with the 'X' gender identifier, go to Ontario.ca/MyID.

Other government forms and products:

This summer, Ontario will launch public and stakeholder consultations on how ministries collect, use and display sex and gender information on public-facing forms and products. 

The government will use this feedback to help develop a policy that applies to all ministries. The new policy will be announced in the fall, and may be revised periodically in the future to reflect the evolving understanding of gender.

If you would like to submit your input prior to the formal consultation, please visit Ontario.ca/MyID.

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