by Morinville News Staff

The Government has tabled the Vital Statistics and Life Events Modernization Act to reflect what it calls the modern reality of Alberta and to support the dignity of all Albertans.

The government sees the Act as legislation that responds to modern service delivery expectations and what it calls an “inclusive, compassionate approach” to major life events, including births, marriages, legal changes of name, and deaths.

Proposed changes would include clarifying that parents may choose any last name for their child, enabling a future online birth registration system that would save parents time and taxpayers nearly $460,000 over four years, and respecting the dignity of represented adults by removing the requirement for a doctor’s letter to marry the person of one’s choice.

Additional changes include preparing for athird marker on vital records for those who do not identify as male or female, something the government said will make Alberta the first jurisdiction in Canada to amend its Vital Statistics Act. The Act also removes the requirement of sex-reassignment surgery for a change of sex on birth records.

“This legislation touches personal moments in every Albertan’s life,” said Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta in a release Tuesday. “Modernizing the Vital Statistics Act is essential to delivering efficient public services and to building an inclusive and welcoming province that respects the rights of all Albertans.”

Dr. Kristopher Wells, Faculty Director, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, is pleased with the changes.

“These legislative changes continue to advance Alberta into a modern and progressive future, which values the diverse identities and fundamental human rights of all Albertans,” he said. “With these important changes, Alberta continues to be a national leader in supporting sexual and gender minorities and their families.”

Full details on the Act can be found at http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/3188.cfm.

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