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Census 2021

The issue: Changes to the 2021 Census

Those who fill in the 2021 Canadian Census, and by law, we must do so, will notice some troubling changes.  The changes to the 2021 Census are, according to the Government website, to be in keeping with Bill C 16. 


”In 2017, Bill C16 was passed in Parliament, adding gender expression and identity as protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code”.  The Government website goes on to explain, that when “funds were allocated to create the Centre for Gender Diversity and inclusion Statistics, “this was direction to Stats Canada to begin to gather statistics regarding gender identity.


However, in the Stats Can Technical Report that gives background to the 2021 changes, Stats Canada was, from 2016 on, engaged in a proactive strategy to serve gender identity activists to fill “publicly identified” gaps. An online consultation was conducted to gather input from Canadians on the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub


Also, invitations were sent out to specific LGBTQ groups soliciting suggestions for changes to the next Census.


In 2018, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat released a Summary Report, Modernizing the Government of Canada’s Sex and Gender Information Practices.  There are some troubling descriptions and expectations as to how the Canadian Government will define and treat the categories of sex and gender that lead to conflating the two categories and/or privileging gender.  Self-identification of gender leads to the erasure on Government documents of the category of biological sex


Why do the changes to the 2021 Census matter? 


The resulting changes in the next Census provide for an identification of female or male sex and an additional question on gender identity. A Citizen can identify with a gender different than the ’Sex Assigned at Birth”. 


Adding “gender identity” to the Census has not been publicly examined or debated in Canada.  We could find no specific concerns raised by the Canadian academic community such as those raised by UK academics (the UK and Scottish 2021 Censuses will add a third option for gender identity).


In an open letter published in the Sunday Times in December the UK academics said, “As social statisticians, quantitative social scientists and epidemiologists, we are concerned about the proposed online guidance to accompany the sex question which advises respondents that they may respond in terms of their self-identified gender. The guidelines “will effectively transform the sex question into one about gender identity.”


The fear was that these changes would “undermine data reliability on a key demographic variable and affect the ability to measure sex-based discrimination and inequality. “The signators to the letter emphasized that “Sex and gender identity are distinct and should not be conflated.”


The fears of the UK academics hold true for the upcoming Canadian Census.  Feminists must become aware of the intentions of the Government to fulfill the goals of the gender identity activists to privilege gender over biological sex.  Women, as a category, are being eliminated from political platforms, policy development, government action, and the justice system. The Census 2021 questions on gender identity deepen this dilemma.

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