Friday • 2012.05.11
SIN Registration Refuses Mediation—Trans ID Discrimination Complaint Proceeds to Investigation Stage
As previously reported, in January I filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) against the Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), after months of failed attempts to persuade them to change the gender marker on my SIN record.
After the complaint was accepted, HRSDC was given a time frame of ten days (as per CHRC policy) in which to declare whether they wanted to use mediation to settle the score with me rather than allowing the case to proceed. Full details were in the February 13th article.
Mediation would be less costly to Canadian taxpayers. Furthermore, I believed mediation would be a great opportunity to create a positive dialogue with the policy makers at HRSDC. I believed that dialogue could have facilitated an arrangement that would suit their needs, as well as rectify the discriminatory policy, to the benefit of all trans Canadians.
To that end, I made it clear to the officer in charge of my case that I am amenable to mediation. After HRSDC failed to respond to the complaint within the time allotted, the officer and I discussed our options, and optimistically we decided to extend the deadline and allow more time in the hope that HRSDC would agree to mediation.
When two months passed with no response, I asked the officer to communicate with HRSDC once more. He reiterated to the ministry my commitment to pursue this issue, and my willingness to use mediation to achieve resolution. We allowed HRSDC a further period of one week in which to respond and agree to mediation. Again, we received no response.
On Friday May 4th (coincidentally, my birthday), I directed the officer to proceed with the next step in the complaint process: turning it over to an investigator.
The investigator’s role is to gather evidence to support (or disprove) the events I have claimed, and then to make a report to the Commission with an impartial explanation of what happened. The report also contains the investigator’s recommendation on whether the case should proceed (but the Commission is not obligated to follow the investigator’s recommendation).
I am hopeful that investigation will be a streamlined process, given that none of the facts of the case are in dispute. I have plenty of evidence to offer, with six binders full of documents gathered over several months in my struggle against SIN registration.
Following the presentation of the report to the Commission, there are three possible outcomes. The Commission may:
- dismiss the allegations if there is no evidence to support them. I feel this undesirable result is unlikely, given historical support of trans people by the CHRC, and a recent ruling in Ontario which declared that the surgical prerequisite to changing sex on ID is discriminatory.
- appoint a conciliator to help the parties try to reach a settlement. I am still willing to mediate if it brings an acceptable solution for all trans Canadians.
- send the matter to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing. If they insist on fighting me, I will fight back, and we will win.
Please stay tuned for further updates. In the mean time, I am collecting stories about how getting gender-appropriate ID (or, not being able to get it) has affected individual lives of trans people, in Canada or elsewhere. If you would like to share your story, please contact me.