Military – National

Please note that while this policy is in-part based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is still a policy and not law.

As of March 19, 2019, the CAF has issued new directives pertaining to transgender personnel. As of this time, information contained in those directives is limited.

According to a CBC article, the new directives state that every member has a right to determine their own gender identity; that they have a reasonable right to accommodation; that a collaborative approach is to be used to develop an accommodation plan; that respect for transgender personnel’s private and medical life is to be respected; and that leadership is to ensure members are free from harassment and discrimination.

  • As these documents are not publicly available, the previous commentary on CAF policies will remain below:

In February 2012, the Canadian Forces issued Military Personnel Instruction 01/11, ‘‘Management of CF Transsexual Members” (CANFORGEN 031/12). This policy was implemented to guide military leaders as to the treatment of trans-identified military members who have been diagnosed with gender identity disorder. Under this policy, the military accommodates the needs of transgender members, unless there are exceptional circumstances “such as significant extra costs or potential threats to the health and safety of other military personnel or the public.”

Unit commanders are required to ““provide a work environment free from discrimination and prejudice” while respecting the member’s right to privacy. At the same time, it says commanders will need to strike a balance between the needs of the transgender member and others in the unit.” Put in other words, the instruction requires that commanders and transgender military members must “find a balanced solution [to privacy issues] that is satisfactory to all; throughout this process, transgender personnel must be consulted and they “are expected to be active participants in the development of workplace accommodation plans.”

In July 2016, the Canadian Armed Forces announced that it would be revisiting the policy, due to concerns around discrimination and inappropriate behaviours, such as difficulty having medals reassigned in the individual’s new name or CF doctor’s being “too rigid”. Expected revisions to the policy would include more guidance for Commanding Officers pertaining to technical aspects of military service, but also to non-technical elements, such as bathrooms and showering.

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