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Canada public servants go ‘gender neutral’ in addressing parents

Canada’s public service will stop using the terms “mother” and “father” in official correspondence, and instead use the gender neutral term “parent,” the government said Wednesday.

Government workers who interact with the public are now expected to use a person’s full name or ask how they wish to be addressed before using titles such as Mr, Mrs or Miss.

Mathieu Filion, spokesman for Children, Families and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told AFP the government is moving to make all of its forms and correspondence “gender neutral.”

This is in line with the government’s push for greater gender and social equality, which saw the lyrics of Canada’s national anthem amended from “all thy sons” to “all of us,” and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flubbing a joke in which he suggested at a townhall meeting that Canadians use the term “peoplekind” instead of “mankind.”

The catalyst for the latest change was a complaint by a gay couple in Nova Scotia province.

“They went to Service Canada to apply for a social insurance number for their child and were asked who is the mother and who is the father,” Filion said.

“From now on, we’re just going to ask for the parents’ names,” he said.

Duclos added: “Our society is changing in many ways, and Service Canada is just being considerate about the different ways in which our citizens — men, women and others — would like to be addressed and shown respect by their government.”

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