PVNC Student and Staff Census Glossary of Terms

This page provides information and resources to help respondents of a PVNC Catholic staff or student census to understand census questions so that all respondents may feel confident responding to the survey. Recognizing that we will not be able to cover all staff’ or student questions and/or concerns pertaining to identity and diversity, the terms and information are not exhaustive. 

Terms and Definition


Adjustments made to policies, programs, practices, facilities, or resources to allow for equitable access in the workplace. Accommodations are made in the hopes of achieving accessibility by eliminating existing barriers. 


Someone who does not identify with any gender or does not see themselves as aligning with all or any masculine or feminine characteristics. Other terms include gender neutrois, gender neutral, or genderless.


Family descent.


Someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction to others and has little to no interest in sexual activity or sexual relationships. Asexuality exists on a spectrum and can fluctuate. It is sometimes shortened to Ace.

Asylum Claimant 

Asylum claimants are individuals who request refugee protection upon or after arrival in Canada.


Feeling secure, supported, accepted, and included at work.


An individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. Some bisexual individuals may also identify as pansexual.


An individual whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.


A person who identifies with the gender that was assigned to them at birth.


A person who identifies with the gender that was assigned to them at birth.


Associated with race.

Common Law

In Ontario, Canada, two people are considered common law partners if they have been continuously living together in a conjugal relationship for at least three years. If they have a child together by birth or adoption, then they only need to have been living together for one year.

Conventional Refugee 

A “Convention Refugee” from another country, where you could return and live permanently without any fear of potential persecution.


Religion or faith.


The word “deaf” describes a person with profound or complete hearing loss. “Deaf” and “hard of hearing” are the terms recommended by the World Federation of the Deaf and The National Association of the Deaf. Uppercase when referring to the “Deaf” community and lowercase when referring to the condition. 


A medical and sociological term referring to people who have become deaf later in life. Deafened persons cannot hear what you say, but usually respond verbally in a conversation. They sometimes use interpreters.


Deafblindness is a distinct disability. Deafblindness is a combined loss of hearing and vision to such an extent that neither the hearing nor vision can be used as a means of accessing information to participate and be included in the community.


The term “disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions. A disability may have been present at birth, caused by accident, or developed over time. There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, drug and alcohol dependencies, environmental sensitivities, and other conditions (Ontario Human Rights Code). Having a disability is the perception of the individual and is not necessarily linked to official documentation. 

Diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE)

Individuals who are perceived to have a sexual orientation or gender identity or expression that does not conform to socially accepted SOGIE norms. Such individuals include, but are not limited to, lesbians, gay men, and bisexual, trans, intersex and queer individuals.

Employment Barriers 

The formal or informal policies or practices that result in the restriction or exclusion of staff, particularly marginalized members, on factors not related to the job requirement. Can be physical, economic, financial, informational, and/or organizational policies/practices.

Ethnic and Cultural Origin 

Ethnic groups that have a common identity, heritage, ancestry, or historical past, often with identifiable cultural, linguistic, and/or religious characteristics. 


Someone whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to people of the same sex or gender. More commonly used to describe male attraction to other males, but men, women, and non-binary people may also use the term.

Gender Expression 

How a person expresses or presents themselves in ways that may be associated with gender, including how a person is perceived in relation to gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, mannerisms, gait and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of communicating gender. How a person expresses their gender may change.

Gender Fluid 

An individual who is flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single gender. They may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same time.

Gender Identity 

Gender identity has been defined as a person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being male or female or something other, or in between. A person’s gender identity may or may not correspond with their biological sex (HRC, 2008). Gender identity categories outside the binary female/male have been in use by Māori and other Pacific nations both in contemporary times and historically. 

Hard of Hearing

Hearing losses ranging from mild to profound. These persons experience difficulty hearing, and may wear a hearing aid to amplify sound. A hearing aid does not cure the loss, but assists in better communication. 

A heterosexual is usually considered a person who is romantically attracted to or sexually oriented toward people of the opposite sex.

Indigenous Spirituality 

While Indigenous spiritual beliefs and practices can vary significantly among different First Nation, Métis and Inuit groups and individuals, and across different regions, some common elements are shared across many communities. For example, many Indigenous people describe Indigenous Spirituality as a “way of life” and “way of knowing” (or worldview) that was centered on a relationship with the Creator, the land and “all our relations.” This often includes all other beings and forms of life, including what are commonly perceived as inanimate objects, which were generally seen to be imbued with a spirit or soul. Many Indigenous people describe Indigenous Spirituality as being inseparable from their traditional Indigenous culture and identity. (Ontario Human Rights Commission)


(As sourced from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami):

Inuit are an Indigenous people living primarily in Inuit Nunangat. The term “Inuit Nunangat” is a Canadian Inuit term that includes land, water, and ice. Inuit consider the land, water, and ice, of their homeland to be integral to their culture and way of life. 

The majority of Inuit live in 51 communities spread across Inuit Nunangat. They have lived in their homeland since time immemorial. Inuit communities are among the most culturally resilient in North America. Roughly 60 percent of Inuit report an ability to conduct a conversation in Inuktut (the Inuit language). 

There are four Inuit regions in Canada: Inuvialuit (NWT and Yukon), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador), and Nunavut. There are many urban Inuit across Canada, including significant populations in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and St. John’s (sourced from Tungasuvvingat Inuit).


A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina).


An individual who identifies as a woman and whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is primarily to other individuals who identify as women.


This category includes persons whose opposite- or same-sex spouse is living, unless the couple is separated or a divorce has been obtained. Also included are persons in civil unions.

Marital Status 

The status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage, including both same-sex and opposite sex relationships.

Metis (National Definition)

(As sourced from the Métis Nation of Ontario): 

1.1 – “Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of Historic Métis Nation ancestry, and is accepted by the Métis Nation. 


A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine identities that are outside the gender binary.


A person that is not involved or affiliated with any religion or religious activity.


A gender identity not limited to one gender. A person with this identity may feel their identity encompasses all possible genders at once.


Individuals who may feel physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to individuals regardless of their gender or sex.

Protected Temporary Resident 

Individuals who are admitted to the country on a temporary resident permit, and who have been deemed to be in urgent need of protection.

Permanent Resident/ Landed Immigrant 

A permanent resident, citizen, or national of another country, other than the one you left, where you could live without fear of persecution.

Place of origin

Country or region.

Racial Identity

Race is a social construct. This means that society forms ideas of race based on geographic, historical, political, economic, social and cultural factors, as well as physical traits, even though none of these can be used to justify racial superiority or racial prejudice. Recognizing that race is a social construct, the Commission describes people as “racialized person” or “racialized community” instead of the more outdated and inaccurate terms “racial minority,” “visible minority,” “person of colour” or “non-White” (Ontario Human Rights Commission). 

Religion and Spiritual Belief

Religion, creed, spirituality and/or belief(s) refer to an individual’s self-identification or affiliation with any religious denomination, group, or other religiously-defined community or system of belief and/or spiritual faith practices. 

Sex or Biological Sex 

The medical term based on physical characteristics and anatomy used to designate people as male, female, or intersex. Biological sex is distinct from gender identity. 

Sexual Orientation 

One’s sexual orientation can be derived from their sexual attraction, sexual behaviour, and/or sexual identity (ONS, 2010). 

Temporary Resident (on Work Permit)

A foreign national has temporary resident status when they have been found to meet the requirements of the legislation to enter and/or remain in Canada as a visitor, student, worker or temporary resident permit holder.

Transgender or Trans

An umbrella concept that refers to any individual whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. This concept includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have made bodily changes using surgical, medical or other means, or 

  •  Who plan to make bodily changes to align their sex characteristics with their gender identity; 
  • Individuals whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth but who have no wish to change their physiology; 
  • People who identify as having multiple genders or as not having a gender; 
  • Individuals whose gender identity changes from time to time; or 
  • People with any other gender identity that is not in line with socially accepted norms of expected behaviours based on gender. 

Gender identity is different from sexual orientation, and a trans individual may be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual.


Someone who was assigned female at birth and identifies as male. They may be at any point along their transition or may not be transitioning at all. Some people prefer to be referred to as a trans man, whereas some may prefer to be referred to as a man. 


Someone who was assigned male at birth and identifies as female. They may be at any point along their transition or may not be transitioning at all. Some people prefer to be referred to as a trans woman, whereas some may prefer to be referred to as a woman.


Two-Spirit was a term introduced by Elder Myra Laramee in 1990 at the third annual Native American and Canadian Aboriginal LGBT people gathering in Winnipeg. It is “an English umbrella term to reflect and restore Indigenous traditions forcefully suppressed by colonization, honouring the fluid and diverse nature of gender and attraction and its connection to community and spirituality. It is used by some Indigenous People rather than, or in addition to, identifying as LGBTQIA”. 

The teachings, roles, and responsibilities for a Two-Spirit person differs from community to community. Not all queer Indigenous people use this term, but Two-Spirit is an identity specific to being Indigenous and can only be claimed by Indigenous people. For more information, see https://www.outsaskatoon.ca/two_spirit1

Voluntary Self-identification

Opportunities provided to students and parents/guardians to safely and securely specify First Nation, Métis or Inuit ancestry.


An umbrella term used by some who identify as neither heterosexual nor cisgender. It is becoming more widely used within the community because of its inclusiveness and is sometimes used for convenience in place of acronyms, but should not entirely replace the acronyms. Transgender people may or may not use the term queer as the communities have diverse histories.


Someone who is in the process of exploring their gender identity or sexual orientation, but who does not identify with a specific label.


Two Spirit Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally. 


Additional Resources 

Indigenous People

Legislations and Policies 



Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. (2022). Glossary of Terms Reference Tool. ccdi-glossary-of-terms-eng.pdf

Government of Canada.  (2021). Internationally Recognized Sexual Orientation or 

Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Definitions.Internationally recognized sexual orientation or gender identity or expression (SOGIE) definitions (REV-OVS-13-3-1) – Canada.ca

National Benefit Authority. (2018). Speech Disorder.Speech Disorders | The National Benefit Authority | Canada (thenba.ca)

National Center on Disability and Journalism. (2021). Disability Language Style Guide. Disability Language Style Guide | National Center on Disability and Journalism (ncdj.org)

Statistic Canada.(2021) Census Profile, 2016 Census. Census Profile, 2016 Census – Ontario [Province] and Canada [Country] (statcan.gc.ca)

Trans Care BC. provisional Health and Services authority. (2022). Two-Spirit. Two-Spirit (phsa.ca)

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division. (2015). Gender identity – Developing a statistical standard .Microsoft Word – SNZ_Gender identity background paper.docx