As a response to heated debates taking place next door in the U.S, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that legislation ensuring “full protection” of transgender Canadians would be tabled on Tuesday morning this week.
Trudeau who recently received an award for fighting homophobia and transphobia said the demand for true equality is necessary and that “We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions, and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principals and our reality.”
The legislation is guaranteed to pass with the strong Liberal hold in the House of Commons after long delays and pushbacks from Conservatives.
What the Legislation Will Do
Gender identity will be prohibited as grounds for discrimination under Canada’s Human Rights Act as well as to the list of hate speech under the Criminal Code. The code will also be updated with terms such as “gender identity” and “gender expression.”
It will be illegal to stop somebody from getting a job based on their choice of gender identity and self- expression, as well. This discrimination will be held accountable based on this law.
Canada was also one of the first countries to recognize same-sex marriage with the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. Similarly, Canada’s Human Rights Act will reflect the Canada’s values on sexual orientation and gender inclusion.
“We live in a time when discrimination in any form is completely unacceptable,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said after introducing the bill.
“Diversity and inclusion have long been among the values that Canadians embrace, and Canadians expect their government to reflect these values”, she continued.
The law was introduced on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
The hope is to send the message to increase feelings of safety and security for those that fall on the spectrum of gender identity in order for them to live free of hate crimes and hateful propaganda.
The Trans Pulse Project back in 2010 showed that 20% of 500 transgender people who responded to this survey in Ontario have been physically or sexually assaulted – and as a result of the stigma, were afraid to get help from the police.
The survey also found that 13% reported being fired, and 18% were refused a job because of being a transgender person.
Canada’s new legislation seeks to create inclusion for transgender people and their fight against discrimination has been a long one. Bill C-16 is a huge step forward in protecting transgender Canadians and holding perpetrators of hate speech or hate-based criminal actions accountable.