Gender Inclusive Facilities

Pride Logo

Gender Inclusive Facilities at Confederation College

History and Rationale

Why Do We Need Gender Inclusive Facilities

How to Be a Supportive Ally

Support at Confederation College

Human Rights Legislation


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Maps – Locations of All Gender Facilities

Gender Inclusive Facilities at Confederation College

  • Safe spaces where anyone, regardless of gender identity or presentation, can use the toilet, wash their hands, change, and check the mirror.
  • Washrooms and change rooms on each campus include signage, indicating the space is inclusive and that Confederation College respects everyone’s right to choose the washroom that is appropriate for them.
  • Available on each College campus.
  • Inclusive signage will also be posted outside binary facilities to decrease fear and anxiety for trans and non-binary people allowing them to feel comfortable in the facility of their choice.

History and Rationale

Confederation College is working to improve access to facilities for gender-diverse people. Confederation College is investing in gender-inclusive facilities because:

  • It is how we live up to our Respectful Work and Learning Environment (Workplace Harassment) Policy: “Confederation College is committed to fostering a climate in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity and in which the human rights of the College Community are respected.”
  • It helps address the safety concerns of trans people
    • Close to half (47%) of students at Canadian postsecondary institutions witness or experience discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (including actual or perceived gender, gender identity or sexual orientation) (Burczycka, Marta. “Students’ experiences of discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation at postsecondary schools in the Canadian provinces, 2019.” Statistics Canada, 15 Sep. 2020, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.)
    • Students who experience discrimination based on gender, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation are less likely to feel safe on campus.
  • It helps address pervasive health issues on campus
    • With many campus buildings not offering gender-inclusive facilities, trans and gender diverse people must choose between being on time for their responsibilities or finding a restroom they feel safe in.
    • Trans and gender diverse people are more likely than cisgender people to “hold it,” risking dehydration, UTIs, long-term kidney failure, and more. (
  • This is a quality of life and justice issue beyond just trans communities
    • Comprehensive restroom access and universal design supports everyone, regardless of gender or physical ability.

Why do we need gender-inclusive facilities?

  • Access to washrooms and change rooms is a basic physical need at the core of human dignity for everyone.
  • For trans and non-binary people, using public washrooms and change rooms can be a source of anxiety and stress. People whose appearance does not conform to what is commonly expected for men or women are frequently subjected to stares, questions, comments, verbal harassment, and physical violence when they try to access washrooms or change rooms.
  • Many trans people have experienced some sort of negative reaction when accessing a public washroom or change room and have avoided using these facilities for fear of harassment.
  • Harassment, fear of harassment, and the physical discomfort of not using the toilet when needed can all disrupt a student or employee’s work.
  • Gender-inclusive facilities do not just benefit trans and non-binary people. They can also make life easier for parents with children of different genders and caregivers of elderly people or people with disabilities whose gender is not the same as their own.

How to Be a Supportive Ally

  • Don’t stare
  • Don’t assume or try to ‘figure out’ someone’s gender
  • Let people be their authentic selves
  • Respect pronouns. If in doubt, ask what pronouns they would like you to use.
  • Respect people’s names. Their name might be different than the one they were given at birth or the one on their ID.
  • Don’t question peoples’ gender presentation
  • If you make a mistake, don’t make it a big deal. Just say sorry and move on.
  • Don’t ask anyone about their sex life, unless it’s relevant to the conversation
  • Try not to use ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘she or he’, try ‘friends’, ‘folks’, ‘everyone’, etc.
  • Try not to make generalized gendered statements (e.g. ‘hey guys’ or ‘those girls’)
  • Don’t make statements about peoples’ bodies that reinforce cisgender biological existentialism (e.g. instead of saying ‘when a woman is pregnant’ try saying ‘when a person is pregnant')
  • Challenge transphobia whenever you see or hear it!

Support at Confederation College

Please note that often when a complaint is made about someone being in the “wrong” bathroom, it’s often the person being reported who needs protection.

  • If you encounter concerning behaviour on campus or vandalism of signage, please contact:
    • Security 922 (623-0465 from a cellphone)
      • Emergency pull strings
    • Pride Centre (807)-475-6110 ex 2145 or [email protected]
    • Students Student Services (807) 475-6618 or toll-free 1 833 330 1550
    • Employees: Human Resources Dept. J[email protected] 
    • Or in the region connect with your Campus Manager
    • In an emergency, please call 911.

Human Rights Legislation

The Ontario Human Rights Code clarifies the right of all people to use a washroom or change room that corresponds to their gender identity. Gender-designated washrooms and change rooms lack privacy and accessibility for many users, including those who have personal health requirements or mobility challenges, those who are transgender or transitioning and those who require assistance from someone of a different gender – including children and the elderly. Gender-inclusive washrooms and change rooms promote:

  • Inclusivity for people with disabilities
    • Gender-inclusive facilities accommodate people who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, and those who have caregivers of a different gender.
  • Inclusivity for families
    • Parents or caregivers can use the same facility as other family members.
  • Inclusivity for transgender and non-binary people
    • Gender-inclusive facilities provide a safer and more welcoming space for trans and non-binary people, can reduce feeling unsafe and instances of harassment and abuse.
  • Increased privacy and safety
    • Increased privacy in facilities promotes comfort, as well as discretion around an individual’s health needs (e.g. a diabetic needing to inject insulin).

The provision of gender-inclusive washrooms and change rooms in public and private spaces is an opportunity to embrace the evolution of our community’s needs, to champion inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Toilet, baby, map and sink icons


Gender Identity: A person’s innate sense of their own gender.

Gender Expression: How a person expresses and presents their unique relationship to femininity and masculinity through attire, hair, speech, mannerisms, etc.

Cisgender/cis (person): A person whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth.

Transgender/trans (person): A person whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth.

Non-binary (person): A person who does not identify as either woman or man. Other words people may use are gender variant, gender fluid and gender creative.

TNB people: A shorthand term for “transgender and non-binary people”.

Two-Spirit (person): An umbrella term sometimes used to refer to an Indigenous person who simultaneously manifests both a masculine and feminine spirit, and assumes particular gender roles in traditional ceremonies and practices.

Gender Policing: Where someone imposes or enforces normative gender expressions – i.e. the narrow definitions of what a man or woman should do or look like – on an individual whom they perceive as not adequately performing, through appearance or behaviour, the sex that was assigned to them at birth.


Are gender-inclusive facilities only for trans and non-binary people?

No. Gender-inclusive facilities are open to and benefit all College community members. These individuals include, but are not limited to: a parent with a child of a different gender; people with disabilities; people who are temporarily injured; anyone who requires a personal care assistant of a gender different than their own; and anyone who feels more comfortable in a private restroom.

What facilities should non-binary people use?

Non-binary individuals should use the facilities in which they feel safest and most comfortable. This may include gender-inclusive facilities or men’s and women’s facilities.

What do I do if I have a reasonable basis to believe that someone is not using the facility most consistent with their gender identity/expression?

Do not ask anyone to describe their gender, provide ID, or leave a facility because you think their gender does not correspond to the way the facility is labelled. Confederation College supports individuals using facilities in which they feel safe and most comfortable.

If you are not comfortable sharing a multi-stall restroom or change room with gender-diverse individuals, please utilize a gender-inclusive facility – a single-occupancy locking restroom and/or change room.

Gender policing is inappropriate and contrary to Confederation College’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment. It is up to each individual to decide which facility to use based on their lived identity. It is not up to anyone else to decide who can use or who should use any particular facility.

What do I do if I have a reasonable basis to believe that someone is using a facility for an improper or unlawful activity? 

As with any improper or unlawful activity anywhere on campus, you may choose to report the incident. Remember that discomfort with another’s gender presentation does not constitute improper or unlawful activity on their part.


Aviation Centre for Excellence (Ace)

Dorian Building

McIntyre Building (& TEC Hub)

Shuniah Building

Sibley Hall