Inclusive writing – Guidelines and resources
Consult in-depth articles on the principles and techniques of inclusive writing in English, and access other resources on the topic.
On this page
- Guidelines for inclusive writing
- Resources for inclusive and respectful language
- Quick reference sheet on inclusive writing
- Additional information
Guidelines for inclusive writing
The Guidelines for Inclusive Writing are designed to help the federal public service and any other organization produce writing that is free of discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability or any other identity factor.
To learn how this content was developed, read the page History of the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing.
Not everyone will agree with all the options presented in the Guidelines. The Guidelines were developed to provide a variety of possible solutions to issues you might encounter in drafting an inclusive text. They are not designed to be applied mechanically in every context.
For definitions of some of the terms used in the Guidelines, see the page Inclusive writing: Glossary. For information on the principles and techniques of inclusive writing in French, consult the French guidelines for inclusive writing (in French only).
Principles of inclusive writing
This part of the Guidelines will help you understand the purpose of inclusive writing and will outline principles for writing respectful and non-discriminatory text.
Background and principles
The article Inclusive writing: Background and principles provides a definition of inclusive writing and lists five major principles to help you write more inclusively. It includes the following sections:
Gender-inclusive writing techniques
It’s important to be aware of unnecessary references to gender in your writing and to strive to be gender-inclusive: that is, inclusive of men, women, and individuals of other genders. This section provides a variety of techniques and solutions for producing gender-inclusive texts.
Replacing or omitting a gendered pronoun
These articles provide a range of useful techniques to help you avoid the use of the gendered singular pronouns “he” and “she” and their different forms:
Making correspondence gender-inclusive
The article Gender-inclusive writing: Letters and emails explains how you can ensure that the parts of a letter or email are gender-inclusive. It includes the following sections:
Tailoring your message
The article Inclusive writing: Tailoring your message discusses how to tailor your message to make it inclusive, that is, how to adapt a text to meet the needs of a target audience or to take other factors into account. It includes the following sections:
Representation of non-binary gender in written communications
Members of gender-diverse communities have put forward various techniques for writing English texts that correspond to their realities. The articles below present some of these techniques (including the use of gender-neutral pronouns) and examine issues related to translating gender-inclusive texts from French.
Guidelines for writing to or about non-binary individuals
The article Gender-inclusive writing: Guidelines for writing to or about non-binary individuals presents techniques that you can use in various contexts to make your writing inclusive of non-binary individuals. It includes the following sections:
- Introduction: Writing to or about non-binary individuals
- General recommendations
- Pronouns and neopronouns
- Courtesy titles and nouns
Guidelines for translating from French
The article Gender-inclusive writing: Guidelines for translating from French examines issues related to the translation of gender-inclusive texts from French, including the translation of the gender-neutral French pronoun iel. It includes the following sections:
Resources for inclusive and respectful language
An important aspect of inclusivity is the use of respectful language. The resources below will help you to find the most appropriate wording for the texts you draft.
The article Gender-inclusive writing: Gender-inclusive nouns suggests gender-inclusive alternatives for gendered nouns and expressions of various types. It also examines the issue of pronoun use with gender-inclusive nouns. It includes the following sections:
Inclusionary: A collection of gender-inclusive solutions
The Inclusionary provides you with a wide variety of gender-inclusive alternatives to gendered words and expressions. The Interdepartmental Working Group on Inclusive Writing developed this tool to be used in conjunction with the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing, in order to maximize the practical options available to users.
Guide on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Terminology
Designed to promote an understanding of concepts related to equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion, this bilingual guide contains definitions and usage notes for key terms in these fields. It was developed by the Interdepartmental Terminology Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in response to the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.
These glossaries developed by Translation Bureau terminologists provide the English and French equivalents for key terms relating to accessibility and to sexual and gender diversity.
Quick reference sheet on inclusive writing
This quick reference sheet on inclusive writing summarizes the main inclusive writing principles and techniques and provides a list of resources on this topic. A printable PDF version will soon be available.
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© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada
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