Celebrating the removal of gendered language from our laws — & the hard work of our public service!

Mar 28, 2023 | 42-4, Bills, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Sessions, Video | 0 comments

Yesterday, my colleagues and I debated Bill 14, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, which removes outdated, gendered language from more than 200 pieces of legislation.

For far too long, our province’s laws have been written, debated, and passed without the diversity of British Columbians in mind. This Bill makes necessary updates to our legislation, bringing us into the 21st century by ensuring our language is inclusive and gender affirming.

With a staggering 1200 clauses, this Bill would’ve been a massive undertaking for those overseeing its creation. I want to thank the members of the public service who dedicated themselves to this project. Your work has allowed us to take an important step forward in celebrating and respecting gender diversity!


A. Olsen:
I just want to rise today and speak in favour of Bill 14, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act. This bill will amend over 200 different pieces of legislation, removing outdated, gendered and binary language. In effect, it ensures that our laws are inclusive and affirming of gender diversity. This is a good thing.

For several years, we’ve seen amendment acts update gendered language one by one as bills are brought forward, updating the acts, making sure that they’re reflecting the language that we’re using in our society today. This bill before us is a proactive step to systematically update the province’s laws, updating hundreds of pieces of legislation all at once.

For a very long time, the laws that were written and passed in this building were not written with the diversity of the public in mind. Instead, they were written with an eye of a patriarchal, heteronormative, colonial society in which we live in. We still face challenges on this front, and so it’s essential that we move through our roles as individuals, and as elected officials, we uphold the importance of human rights and elevate the voices of marginalized groups.

This legislation also comes at a time when we’re seeing increased legal attacks on the rights and safety of trans and LGBTQ2S+ communities in our neighbors to the south. I’m proud that in our jurisdiction, we are celebrating and respecting gender diversity and inclusivity and updating our laws to reflect that.

Finally, this bill also provides for updates such as allowing documents to be delivered by email and repeals obsolete provisions, ensuring the ongoing clarity and modernization of B.C.’s legal landscape. I want to just take a moment to raise my hands to the members of the public service.

This bill has 1,200 clauses in it, and I know that it’s taken some effort for us to review each and every one of these clauses. It’s a lot of work, just as it must have been a lot of work for the public service to begin this process and to ensure that this — I think, probably, what will be a first go at this — was inclusive. Having 200 statutes across multiple ministries included in this is an indication of the level of work that was required, and so I just want to take a moment to raise my hands to the public service who did that work.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to this important bill. I look forward to continuing to support legislation in this spirit as we go forward.


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