What, you may well ask, is Service Canada? According to Wikipedia, it's
part of a Government of Canada-wide service transformation initiative aimed at responding to Canadians' expressed desire for better, more responsive, less cluttered service from Canadian governments. The initiative seeks to do this by improving the design and delivery of government programs and services to Canadians.Up to now, that delivery included addressing Canadians by such titles as Mr., Mrs. or Ms. But that, I'm sure you will be not at all relieved to know, has now changed:
Service Canada employees who interact with the public are being asked to stay away from terms like Mr., Mrs., father and mother, and to use gender-neutral terms in their place, CBC News has learned.Me? I'd like to be called Xena, Warrior Princess.
According to documents obtained by Radio Canada, the French-language arm of CBC, front-line staff must now "use gender-neutral language or gender-inclusive language."
"This avoids portraying a perceived bias toward a particular sex or gender," says a copy of speaking notes prepared for managers and team leaders.
"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," says the directive.
The new guidelines also rule out using terms such as mother and father because they are "gender specific" and instead says the neutral term of "parent" should be used instead.
The same goes for honorifics such as Mr., Mrs., and Ms. and in both languages. Instead, employees are being directed to address customers by their full names or ask them what they want to be called...
Is that okay with you, Service Canada?