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The 2021 Census will include an option for Canadians to identify for neither male nor female. In a statement, Cabinet said that it "supports the use of innovative approaches to surveying small populations."
“Statistics Canada developed new standards and questions on sex and gender having extensively consulted academic experts and members of the LGBTQ2 community through focus groups and one on one interviews to define concepts that were well understood by those in the community,” the statement reads.
According to Blacklock's Reporter, Cabinet approved wording of the new Cenesus question last month.
In a statement, Cabinet said that StatsCan “relies on the views and suggestions of diverse groups of women, men, and non-binary people in Canada to guide what information matters to them. Statistics Canada strives to engage stakeholders early and often.”
In 2018, the Department of Public Works gave an explanation for what "non-binary" entails: “Sex is binary and refers to one’s biology at birth, whereas gender is not binary and can often be about how one identifies oneself physically or psychologically... The current mandated online survey questions ask about gender, while the 2016 Census question asked about sex.”
This definition was concocted by academics and statisticians.
The advisory panel warned that the "other" option on a census could lead to public ridicule, and in turn, unnecessary attention. “This question may lead to some complaints, jokes or refusals, and interviewers will need to be prepared for this... For example, a suggestion was to allow an interviewer to soften the question by preceding it with something like, ‘Just to confirm – ’. This type of softening preserves the required question wording and response options.”