Ensure Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians have Equal Rights Under the Law.
Under current laws, Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians are not protected from discrimination. End this injustice now.
Sexual Orientation is protected under both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the British Columbia Human Rights Code, but there is no such language protecting Gender Identity and Expression. Similarly, violence based on Sexual Orientation is classified as a hate crime but violence based on Gender Identity is not.
Proposed legislation to correct this inequality–Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity)–was passed by the House of Commons in 2013, before being blocked for two years by unelected Senators.
These unelected Senators ultimately amended the bill to include language which undermines its very spirit. The amended Bill C-279 would make it a felony for Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians to use public restroom facilities that reflect their true gender identity and physical appearance rather than the gender they were assigned at birth, undermining the original intent of the bill and making it a weapon against Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians.
Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians experience a great deal of discrimination in their day-to-day lives, impacting employment opportunities and housing, with significant barriers to accessing healthcare.
This is an important moment for LGBTQ+ rights in Canada, and it is essential that all Canadians stand together to guarantee a just society for all. Canada needs equal protection for Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians now, at all levels of government.
We the undersigned Canadians note the following:
- There is no explicit reference to Gender Identity under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the British Columbia Human Rights Code,
- Violence based on Gender Identity and Expression is not classified as a hate crime under the Criminal Code of Canada,
- This inequality allows for legal discrimination against Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians,
- Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians already face a much higher level of discrimination that affects their employment, housing and health,
- Protections for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Canadians already exist at most levels of government in Canada, and extending those protections to Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians would simply ensure equal rights for all Canadians
Therefore, we support the passage of federal legislation ensuring Gender Identity and Expression are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code of Canada, in line with current federal protections for Sexual Orientation.
Additionally, we support the passage of provincial legislation ensuring Gender Identity and Expression are protected under the BC Human Rights Code, in line with current provincial protections for Sexual Orientation.