Gender and sexual diversity statistical metadata standards

Opened: February 2, 2021
Closed: March 12, 2021
Results posted: August 16, 2023

Consultation objectives

In recent years, there has been an increase in public awareness and sensitivity in Canada towards the 2SLGBTQI+ population. However, existing statistical data and information on this population have remained limited.

To address these information gaps, Statistics Canada has developed statistical metadata standards to better respond to the data needs on gender and sexual diversity in Canada. Throughout this process, Statistics Canada has engaged with stakeholders and partners, including civil society organizations, as well as researchers in the field of gender and sexual diversity and gender studies.

Among engagement activities, Statistics Canada launched a public consultation in 2021 on the proposed updated gender and new sexual orientation and LGBTQ2+Footnote 1 standards, inviting members of the Canadian public and international partners to review them and provide feedback to ensure their relevance.

Consultation methodology

This consultative engagement initiative is now closed.

The public consultation on gender and sexual diversity statistical metadata standards was conducted electronically. It was publicized through public announcements that described the proposed updates to the standard for gender of person, which was first released in April, 2018. The announcements also proposed new standards for sexual orientation of person and LGBTQ2+ status of person and listed the types of inputs sought.

Announcements were disseminated through the Statistics Canada's website and social media. Moreover, stakeholders and partners, civil society organizations and researchers were invited by email to participate and to share the consultation invitation with others within their network.  

In addition to the public consultation, virtual meetings were organized in both official languages with partners and researchers to gather their feedback.

How participants got involved

Overall, Statistics Canada received 205 responses by email in both official languages from a range of individuals and organizations, including academics and research groups, civil society organizations, government departments and agencies at the federal, provincial and territorial level in Canada and overseas, academics and researchers, and the general public.

The consultation also included several follow up discussions in both official languages with academics and subject-matter experts.


Statistics Canada has completed the review process for the updated gender standard and the new sexual orientation standard. The updated gender standard was released on October 1, 2021. All comments received during this consultation and other engagements activities were taken into account, and many are reflected in the updated standard.

The new sexual orientation standard was released on August 16, 2023. The public consultation was one of four phases that informed the development of the sexual orientation standard. In addition to the public consultation, Statistics Canada undertook a targeted expert consultation, focus groups, and a testing phase which consisted of one-on-one interviews.

Statistics Canada thanks members of the Canadian public and international partners for their involvement in this consultative engagement initiative.

The report is available in HTML and PDF formats: 2021 Public onsultation on Gender and Sexual Diversity Statistical Metadata Standards - What We Heard Report