B.C. updates gendered language in ministry regulations

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The province has updated about 600 instances of gendered language across 15 ministries’ regulations in an effort to reflect the diversity of people served by the B.C. government.

“Language matters. It allows people to feel recognized and affirmed,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. “By upholding inclusive language, our government is taking steps to protect British Columbians’ human rights. We believe outdated language that prevents people from being seen for who they are should be removed to help tackle gender bias.”

Gendered words have been changed to inclusive language that acknowledges gender equity and diversity. The province said terms like “he” or “she,” “brother” and “wife” have been updated with more neutral language to consider all gender identities.

“These important updates signal that all folks across gender diversity are valued in our social fabric here in B.C.,” said Elijah Zimmerman, executive director of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. “Being intentional with inclusive language is a form of welcoming and belonging, and a positive step toward uplifting gender-diverse experiences.”

The gendered language changes have been made through the annual regulatory process, Better Regulations for British Columbians, which has been in place since 2016. It groups together minor regulatory changes into a single amendment package and serves as an efficient way for government to clarify, correct or repeal outdated information in regulations, according to the province.

The changes are the start of a process to remove a remaining estimated 3,400 instances of gendered language in regulations and legislation, the province said in a news release.

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