"Transgender people have the same right to respect and dignity as everyone else in Canada," Canadian Human Rights Commission welcomes new bill

OTTAWA, May 17, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is encouraged by a new government bill introduced today that will make the rights of transgender and gender-diverse people in Canada clear and explicit in federal human rights law.

The legislation proposes the grounds of "gender identity" and "gender expression" be added to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Doing so would clarify that discrimination or harassment related to a person's gender identity or gender expression is against the law.

The CHRC has long advocated for this change. Transgender and gender-diverse individuals across Canada face discrimination, exclusion, and hostility in their daily lives—often impacting their access to everyday services that many Canadians take for granted when they, for example, want to see a family physician, travel, or use a public washroom.

"Nobody should have to live in fear because of who they are," said Chief Commissioner, Marie-Claude Landry. "Transgender rights are human rights. Transgender people have the same right to respect and dignity as everyone else in Canada."

The CHRC believes that immediate action is required for next steps. The CHRC recommends that a special coordinator and advisory group be put in place to coordinate policy and government-wide changes, as well as education and awareness building. In order to ensure these changes are truly inclusive, it is critical that the advisory group be composed primarily of transgender and gender-diverse persons.

Quick Facts

  • Today, May 17, marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
  • Multiple studies have shown that transgender and gender-diverse people face significant employment barriers, discrimination in medical care, and harassment and violence in their daily lives.
  • It has been twenty years since Parliament added a protected ground of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The ground of "sexual orientation" was added to the Act in 1996.

Quotes

"Nobody should have to live in fear because of who they are. Transgender rights are human rights. Transgender people have the same right to respect and dignity as everyone else in Canada."

—Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

"This legislation will make it absolutely clear that discrimination or harassment based on a person's gender identity or gender expression is unacceptable in Canada."

—Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

"We would like to acknowledge the previous work of parliamentarians who have helped move this issue forward in private member bills. It is our hope that, like these past bills, this new one will also receive support across party lines."

—Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

Associated Links

Backgrounder (Justice Canada)

Study: Transgender People in Ontario, Canada: Statistics from the Trans PULSE Project to Inform Human Rights Policy

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SOURCE Canadian Human Rights Commission

For further information: Media Relations, 613-943-9118, www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca

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