Employees should use gender-neutral ‘parent’ instead of father or mother

No more calling people ‘Mr.’or ‘Mrs.’ at Service Canada counters.

Service Canada, an agency tasked with delivering government services and programs to citizens, has issued new guidelines telling staff to use gender-neutral terms instead of Father, Mother, Mr, Mrs or Miss when talking to clients.

According to the directive issued to managers and team leaders, employees of Service Canada should use gender-inclusive language to avoid “portraying a perceived bias toward a particular sex or gender.”

Canadians are already able to identify as gender ‘X’ on their passports.

This latest move by the agency has been heavily criticized.

RT reports: Honorifics such as mister, missus or miss “can be seen/perceived as gender specific by a client,” according to the document seen by French-speaking broadcaster Radio Canada and Huffington Post Canada. Instead, Service Canada’s employees should address citizens by full names or use their preferred way of naming themselves.

“It is important that Service Canada, as an organization, reflects Canada’s diverse population and ensures that the views and interests of Canadians are taken into account when we develop policies, programs, services and initiatives,” it said.

The guidelines noticeably rule out using the words “father” and “mother,” as they are deemed “gender specific.” The word “parent” should be used instead, as a more neutral option.

Service Canada inadvertently confirmed its adoption of the new practice, writing in a tweet that it “has made some adjustments that allow the public to confirm how they wish to be addressed by Service Canada, to adapt to the reality of the 21st century.”

It said: “Madam/Sir will still be used by Service Canada employees if the client’s preference is known.” In all cases, “Canadians will decide how they wish to be addressed.”

Reaction to the move was swift, with opposition politicians ridiculing the agency’s directive. “Their priorities are way out of whack,” Conservative MP Larry Miller told reporters on Wednesday. “[It’s] totally ridiculous. I have a mother and I have a father. Anybody out there, even if you were born through a surrogate, you still have a mother and a father biologically… We all have a mother and a father. That’s all I have to say.”