06/30/2016 02:25 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 02:59 EDT

Ontario Driver's Licences To Offer Gender-Neutral Designation

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Driver's hand on steering wheel of a car

TORONTO — Ontario is introducing gender-neutral driver's licences and health cards.

Beginning in early 2017, drivers will be able to select X, instead of an M for male or F for female for their licences.

And this month, the province started issuing health cards that no longer display information about a person's sex on the front of the card.

People who want a new health card without the sex identifier before their regular renewal date can obtain one immediately through ServiceOntario at no cost.

'Fair, ethical and equitable treatment'

The Liberal government says it is making these changes "to ensure the fair, ethical and equitable treatment of people with trans and non-binary gender identity.''

Ontario will also launch public consultations this summer to develop policies on how the government collects, uses and displays sex and gender information on government forms and products.

"Many Ontarians do not identify as female or male,'' said Government and Consumer Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde.

"As society's understanding of gender evolves, government must adapt. Part of that is being more thoughtful about how and when we collect gender or sex information, and how we use it.''

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