FREDERICTON (GNB) – Legislation was introduced today that will have the Office of the Rentalsman become the Residential Tenancies Tribunal, and the Office of the Ombudsman become Ombud New Brunswick.

“This is a symbolic change, but an important one, as it lets the women of New Brunswick know all offices and opportunities are equally open to them,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers.

Studies have indicated that using job titles that are not gender-specific promotes greater participation of female candidates and reduces gender stereotyping and discrimination.

The term “rentalsman” has long been used in reference to the chief official overseeing residential tenancies, but has become less common in recent years. For instance, Saskatchewan adopted a gender-neutral name for this office in 2006.

The Swedish word “ombudsman” is technically gender-neutral but is commonly perceived as a male term. It has started to be phased out in jurisdictions such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and British Columbia.

New Brunswick’s ombudsman was consulted in choosing the name ombud.

“Language use evolves constantly to reflect changes in society,” said Ombud Charles Murray. “Using a gender-neutral term reflects the reality of our work and the people who do it. Everyone benefits when we avoid gender stereotypes in the workplace.”

The provincial government is committed to equality for women and men, and will be reviewing all job titles to ensure any other gendered titles are identified and updated.

The government has also strived to have more women appointed to agencies, boards and commissions, ensuring there are more women in positions of influence.

Two people have been appointed to head the civil service since October 2014, and both have been women.