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How to be gender-inclusive in correspondence

March 13, 2019

Since 2017, Canadians can indicate a gender other than male or female when applying for a passport. Likewise, many provinces offer a gender-neutral choice for identification documents such as driver’s licenses and health cards.

Being inclusive of gender can also be a factor in correspondence. Traditional salutations such as "Mr." or "Ms." and "Dear Sir or Madam" are not inclusive of all gender identities. To be inclusive, the Translation Bureau of Canada recommends avoiding references to gender in correspondence whenever possible. The writer is encouraged to omit the courtesy title when the receiver’s gender is unknown, or when the correspondence addresses a diverse group of people. For example, use "Dear P.T. Smith" instead of "Dear Mr. Smith".

For more information, visit the Translation Bureau's website or contact our Advocacy team to learn more about AUMA’s Welcoming and Inclusive Communities initiative.