Gender and Sex Data Standard

Gender and sex are sometimes confused when government collects data. This can lead to errors and, in some cases, harmful interactions.

When people can self-identify their gender, we can engage with them in an inclusive, safe and respectful way.

The Gender and Sex Data Standard (PDF,160KB) improves how government collects and uses data to create policies and programs to serve B.C.'s diverse population. It also clarifies the difference between gender and sex by providing definitions that recognize all genders.

There are guidelines to the Gender and Sex Data Standard (PDF,280KB) to help government staff understand and implement the changes.

Quick facts

What is the difference between sex and gender?

Sex is assigned at birth and most often based on physical attributes. Gender is how a person identifies as being a boy/man, girl/woman, a blend of both or neither. Gender involves a personal, internal sense of self.

What does the Gender and Sex Data Standard do?

The Gender and Sex Data Standard defines the difference between gender and sex and defines gender identities beyond boy/man, girl/woman.

It also emphasizes that gender or sex data are to be collected only when necessary.

Why is this important?

We need accurate gender information about B.C.'s population to deliver more equitable programs.

Collecting gender information correctly reduces possible harms of misgendering and recognizes the population’s gender diversity.  

The Gender and Sex Data Standard and Guidelines will be updated regularly based on feedback received, and as national and international standards evolve. 

Contact us

For questions or comments regarding this standard, please contact BC Data Service