Change to requirement of sex reassignment surgery for Canadian citizenship

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently signalled that it will be remove the requirement for proof of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to change one’s sex designation on a citizenship certificate.

This move is strongly welcomed by advocates in the transgender and legal community which have been calling for the removal of this discriminatory requirement.

Prior to this change, CIC’s official policy stated that a change in gender for the purposes of citizenship documents was only available to persons who have undergone sex reassignment surgery.[1] 

Under the former policy, in order to establish that there has been a change of gender for the purposes of a grant of citizenship under the Citizenship Act, CIC required: (1) a statement from the surgeon confirming the surgical procedure and (2) a statement from another person to the effect that they knew the client prior to the surgery and that the client is one and the same person.[2]

CIC’s former policy did not comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms nor Ontario jurisprudence that states that requiring SRS contravenes the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The case of XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services) before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found the requiring sex-reassignment surgery before being able to change a sex designation on an identity document was discriminatory.[3]

An individual who applies to amend their sex designation on their citizenship certificate or other immigration document should not be required to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. Our firm’s transgender clients welcome this positive policy change.

For recent media coverage on CIC’s policy change, please see:


[1]Citizenship Policy (CP3)- “Establishing Applicant’s Identity”,

[2] Ibid, Section 6.5

[3]XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services), 2012 HRTO 726. See also: