Canadians Hold Mixed Views on Gender Identity in the Classroom

At least three-in-five Canadians endorse both same-sex marriage and the federal government’s ban on “conversion therapy”.

Vancouver, BC [August 4, 2023] – Almost half of Canadians believe there is no need for teachers to advise parents in the event a child aged 16 and under chooses a new name or pronoun, a new Research Co. poll has found.

New Brunswick’s Policy 713 seeks to prohibit teachers from using the preferred names and pronouns of students aged 16 and under without the consent of their parents.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 49% of Canadians think it should be mandatory for teachers to address students aged 16 and under using their preferred pronouns or names without having to inform their parents.

“Almost three-in-five Canadians aged 18-to-34 (59%) believe that a name or pronoun change in the classroom should be permitted without parental disclosure,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportions are lower among Canadians aged 35-to-54 (45%) and aged 55 and over (44%).”

More than half of Canadians (54%) believe a specific situation does merit a conversation between a teacher and a child’s parents: a student aged 16 and under expressing a desire to change his or her gender.

Canadians aged 55 and over (60%) and Albertans (61%) are more likely to believe that a conversation about affirmation or reassignment between a teacher and a student aged 16 and under should be revealed to his or her parents.

In January 2022, legislation that came into effect that makes it illegal to promote, advertise, or profit from providing “conversion therapy”, or to subject a person, consenting or not, to “conversion therapy” in Canada.

Proponents of “conversion therapy” believe that individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2+) can be “converted” into heterosexuals through psychological or spiritual intervention.

More than half of Canadians (52%, -5 since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in April 2022) think “conversion therapy” is impossible and three-in-five (60%, -2) agree with the government’s decision to outlaw the practice in the country.

The ban on “conversion therapy” is supported by 70% of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party in the 2021 federal election, 73% of those who backed the New Democratic Party (NDP) and 56% of those who cast ballots for Conservative Party candidates.

Just under two thirds of Canadians (64%, -2) think same-sex couples should continue to be allowed to legally marry in the country.

Fewer Canadians would prefer to bring back the concept of civil unions for same-sex couples (14%, +2), and one-in-ten (10%, =) would not allow for any kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples.

Support for same-sex marriage is highest in Atlantic Canada (71%), followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba (68%), Ontario (65%), Quebec (64%), Alberta (61%) and British Columbia (59%).

On one question, Canadians are more divided now than in 2022. Just over a third (34%, +6) believe people choose to identify as LGBTQ2+, while 36% (-6) think people are born as LGBTQ2+ and 30% (-1) are undecided.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from July 20 to July 22, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]