In Support of Kelowna's LGBT2Q+ Community

Answers and Tips

When is your partner your spouse?

If you and your partner are unmarried, you can still become spouses under B.C.’s Family Law Act if you live together in a marriage-like relationship for a continuous period of two years or more. Elements of a marriage-like relationship can include:

  • living under the same roof;
  • having a sexual relationship;
  • sharing meals and household chores;
  •  attending special events together;
  • financial planning and support; and
  •  care of any children.

The Family Law Act provides the same spousal rights to heterosexual couples and Queer couples.

When you and your partner become spouses, you are both entitled to the same property rights, spousal support rights, and child support rights as married spouses.

For further information on your spousal support entitlement, see the BC Government’s page on How is spousal support decided?

Tips for changing your gender on government documentation

To change your gender marker on your birth certificate, the required documents differ based on your age. Gender affirmation surgery is not a prerequisite for this process, and you have the option to choose F (female), M (male), or X (non-binary) as your gender marker. You are required to return your original birth certificate along with your application. It takes approximately four-to-six weeks for the birth certificate to be printed and mailed to you.


Birth Certificate

For Adults and Minors (12 years and older):

  • Fill out the application form
  • Submit your application to Vital Statistics


For Minors (12 years and under):

  • Fill out the application form
  • Proof of parentage and/or a copy of Legal Guardianship
  • Provide consent from all parents/guardians
  • An original copy of the “Declaration of Physician or Psychologist” form
  • Submit your application to Vital Statistics


BC Services Card & BC Driver’s Licence

For Adults and Minors (12 years and older):

  • Submit a copy of your updated birth certificate to Health Insurance BC
  • Wait to receive a Confirmation Letter from Health Insurance BC
  • Go to a driver licensing office with your updated birth certificate and the confirmation letter
  • A new BC Services Card and BC Driver’s License will be mailed to you within 10 business days


For Minors (12 years and under):

  • Submit a copy of your updated birth certificate to Health Insurance BC
  • A new BC Services Card will be mailed to you within 10 business days

How to recognize and deal with gender harassment

Gender harassment is a form of discrimination and includes any unwelcome comment or conduct of a non-sexual nature aimed at another person’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression that may affect the work environment or lead to adverse job-related consequences for the victim. Gender harassment may be verbal, non-verbal, physical, deliberate, or unintended.

Here are some examples of behaviours that may be determined to be bullying and harassment. This can include:

  • Spreading false accusations about a person;
  • Criticism, humiliation, invasion of privacy, slanderous comments, undermining, destructive rumours, gossip, or making unreasonable demands;
  • Rude, belittling, or sarcastic comments;
  • Abusive, belittling, or intimidating phone calls, emails, notes, etc.;
  • Baiting or unreasonable teasing. For example, singing derogatory songs and inserting the person’s name or using cruel nicknames;
  • Deliberate and unreasonable isolation or exclusion from work discussions, communication, or other work-related activities;
  • Withholding necessary information or deliberately withholding workflow so that a person cannot carry out their duties; and
  • Removing areas of responsibility without cause.

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination in your workplace, you can file a human rights complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. You have one year from the date of the discrimination to file a complaint. See File a Complaint, BCHRT for more information.

If you believe you have been terminated from your employment for a discriminatory reason, you may have a claim against your employer for wrongful termination. Arrange a consultation about your rights with Claire E. MacLeod or Leah N. Sorge, our experienced employment lawyers, or call Pushor Mitchell LLP at 250-762-2108, for more information.

BC’s Intimate Images Protection Act

The Intimate Images Protection Act is a civil process that utilises B.C.’s small claims court, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), to provide victims a quick way to remove images, videos, and deepfakes posted online without their permission.

This act allows the CRT to issue protection orders against individuals or companies to require an intimate image be deleted, de-indexed, and removed from a website or social media platform.

The CRT can also award damages of up to $5,000, and order penalties if the individual or companies do not comply with the protection order.

For further information or to file a claim, see CRT’s Intimate Images page.

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