Gowling WLG and CCGSD expand access to pro bono gender marker and name change initiative

17 June 2022

In partnership with the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), Gowling WLG is proud to announce that its gender marker and name change initiative is expanding to all Canadian provinces in which the firm has an office.

Newly named "True ID," the initiative aims to make the gender marker and name change processes more accessible for transgender and gender-diverse individuals by providing pro bono notary and commissioning services to clients who want to update their birth certificates, passports, driver's licenses, and other formal documents to reflect their true name and gender.

While initially True ID was primarily focused on communities in Ontario, Gowling WLG is now expanding access to the initiative to Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec.

Since the launch of the initiative, several Gowling WLG billing professionals have volunteered their pro bono services to help True ID clients, dedicating themselves to making the gender marker and name change processes more economical and more human. The firm also assisted the CCGSD in the creation of a comprehensive Gender Marker Guide, which includes relevant designation forms by province and territory.

"One of the things people don't really consider when they think about gender marker changes is the cost of the entire process," said Arden, a client of True ID. "Gowling WLG's gender marker program makes these changes more accessible and less bureaucratic, and I'm grateful for that."

Sarah Aaron, an associate in the firm's Calgary office, is currently leading the True ID initiative, and with the full support of the Firm's National Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Council, is steadily scaling the project as clients from various provinces continue to reach out for commissioning and notary services. Looking further into the future, the firm hopes to offer these services to transgender and gender diverse individuals in all provinces and territories across Canada.

"Every individual deserves the right to be formally recognized as their whole and true self," said Sarah. "Our work with True ID, and our pro bono and advocacy work in general, are underpinned by that conviction. That's why Gowling WLG is committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make sure that the communities who need it most have access to these important services."

About the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity

A leader in anti-discrimination work, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) intersectionally promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic and/or sexual orientation in all its forms through services in the areas of education, health and advocacy.

About Gowling WLG's pro bono services

For over a century, Gowling WLG has provided pro bono legal services in communities across Canada to those who need them most. Our pro bono clients include charities, community organizations and individuals who are marginalized or disadvantaged, and without means to obtain legal counsel. Gowling WLG also performs legal services at no charge in support of organizations that advocate for the public good in matters of broad public concern. Learn more about Gowling WLG's pro bono services.