Glossary of Terms

Aboriginal persons

Aboriginal persons are those who identify themselves as Metis, Inuit, First Nations or North American Indian. First Nations or North American Indian include status, treaty or registered Indians, as well as non-status and non-registered Indians.

Racially visible persons

Racially visible persons are people in Canada (other than Aboriginal peoples) who are non-white in colour and non-Caucasian in race, regardless of their place of birth or citizenship.

Examples of racially visible groups

  • Black
  • Latin American
  • East Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean)
  • South Asian ( e.g., Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi)
  • Southeast Asian (e.g., Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese)
  • West Asian and Arab (e.g., Iranian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Armenian, Palestinian, Syrian, Moroccan)
  • People of mixed origin (e.g., with one parent in one of the racially visible groups listed above)

Persons with a disability

Persons with a disability are persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, sensory, mental, psychiatric or learning impairment and who:

  • consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment
  • believe an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment
  • persons whose functional limitations due to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace by the use of technical aids, changes to equipment or other working arrangements

Examples of groups of persons with a disability

  • Coordination/dexterity (e.g. cerebral palsy)
  • Blind/visual impairment
  • Speech Impairment
  • Non-visible physical impairment (e.g. hemophilia)
  • Developmental/mental impairment (e.g. Down’s Syndrome)
  • Mobility impairment (e.g. need to use a wheelchair)
  • Learning disability (e.g. dyslexia)
  • Deaf/hearing impairment
  • Psychiatric impairment (e.g. severe depression)

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation refers to how one identifies oneself in relation to one’s sexual, affectional and/or romantic interests (i.e., to members of similar gender, different gender, or both/all genders). Some people experience their sexual orientation as an unchanging, lifelong part of their nature, and others experience it in a more fluid way that changes over time or across situations. Whether sexually active or not, everyone has a sexual orientation.

Gender Identity

Gender identity refers to one’s internal and/or psychological sense of themselves as a female, a male, both or neither. A person’s self-concept of their gender may be the same as or different from their sex at birth (male, female or intersex). A person may also define their gender identity as being more fluid than either male or female. In other words, their gender identity may encompass parts of masculinity, femininity and/or other non-traditional gender expressions.

Transgender refers to a person who identifies with a gender other than the one ascribed to the biological sex at birth; or a person who views their gender as being more fluid or non-binary than the strictly male or female genders allow. It is also used as an umbrella term for those who identify themselves as transsexual, transgender, gender variant, or a similar term. Gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation. Trans persons may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, two-spirit or heterosexual.