NEWS
05/17/2016 15:26 EDT | Updated 05/18/2017 01:12 EDT

Nova Scotia releases workplace inclusion guidelines for transgender employees

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia civil servants can wear clothing that reflects their gender identity and use the washroom of their choice under guidelines released Tuesday.

The guidelines for trans and gender variant employees, announced by the province on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, also address the use of an employee's identified name and pronoun.

Maddi MacDonald, the co-chair of Nova Scotia's LGBTI Network, said releasing written guidelines will help make provincial workplaces more inclusive for trans people.

"It solidifies the commitment, so in all areas of the public service all trans and gender variant employees will now be supported," MacDonald said.

MacDonald said while Nova Scotia has a fairly inclusive culture in general terms, there is still work that needs to be done.

"In some areas there are still lots of systemic challenges in terms of accessing washrooms for example."

The public service commission conducted a census over the winter that indicated about one per cent of Nova Scotia government employees identify as trans or gender variant.

Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard said it is a step forward to have the province's policy on support and inclusion in written form.

"I think they (rules) could have been up for misinterpretation so having them in a clear document that is for everyone to use is nothing but positive," she said.

In December 2012 the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act was amended to include gender identity and gender expression as protected characteristics.