Victory! Trans human rights to finally be protected under federal laws

PSAC celebrates the news that the Senate has finally adopted Bill C-16, which will enshrine trans rights into Canadian law. Bill C-16 finally passed the Senate on June 15, after passing the House of Commons in October 2016.

“This represents a huge step forward in defense of trans peoples’ right to work in an environment where they are respected and protected against prejudice and hate,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President.

Bill C-16 adds gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. It also adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of distinguishing characteristics of “identifiable groups” protected by the hate speech provisions in the Criminal Code.

Years in the making

Trans Canadians and allies have spent decades campaigning for federal human rights protection. Bill C-16 was the latest bill in this fight. A virtually identical private Member’s bill, C-279, almost became law in the previous Parliament.

Bill C-16 will strengthen existing human rights protection

This new law will make it explicitly unlawful for federally-regulated employers and service providers to discriminate against or harass a person, on the basis of their gender identity or gender expression. Ten of the 13 provincial and territorial jurisdictions already have similar legislation in place.

This law will strengthen existing human rights protections for trans people. The bill will also undoubtedly give Canada’s trans people better protection from hate crimes and help ensure their dignity and equality in the community.


June 15, 2017