On November 20, Trans Day of Remembrance, we commemorate the transgender people we have lost and honour those who continue to endure violence, hatred and discrimination in our communities and in our workplaces.
After years of hard work and advocacy by trans Canadians and their allies, we are hopeful that trans rights will finally be enshrined in Canadian human rights law.
On May 17, the Minister of Justice tabled Bill C-16, which would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of “identifiable groups” protected by the hate speech provisions in the Criminal Code.
This comes after years of similar legislation being introduced as private members’ bills by NDP Members of Parliament, which were then stalled or sabotaged by the Conservative-dominated Senate. But this time, the bill has the support of a majority government. Nevertheless, PSAC is engaging in an active campaign to support the bill, and we will work in coalition to ensure that the Senate will also support it.
Committed to trans rights
In September, PSAC held a consultation with some of our trans members, and we will be developing materials to educate our members on Bill C-16. We will also continue to promote safer workplaces for all of our members.
PSAC continues to push groundbreaking human rights protections at the bargaining table for our trans members. A collective agreement negotiated with Treasury Board for the Technical Services group, signed in October of 2013, includes recognition of gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination.
At our most recent national convention, union members voted overwhelmingly to continue fighting for protections for gender identity/expression and for gender neutral washrooms in all workplaces.
Trans people are our colleagues, our neighbours, our friends and beloved members of our families. They deserve respect, equality and protection from discrimination and violence.