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CCLA welcomes Bill C-16, which expands Canada’s equality law to explicitly protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. It also ensures that offences against trans people on this basis are treated as hate crimes.

By amending the Canadian Human Rights Act, Bill C-16 clarifies that discrimination against trans people will not be tolerated, as it violates their right to equality. Similarly, amendments to the Criminal Code ensure that hate crimes against trans people will be tracked by police and dealt with appropriately.

Unfairly referred to as the “bathroom bill” in previous Parliaments, the bill seeks to protect trans people in a great many aspects of their everyday lives: in employment, housing, stores, restaurants, even just walking down the street. It is a long overdue response to the countless incidents of discrimination experienced by trans individuals across Canada, particularly youth. 

In recent years, CCLA has supported similar bills, such as Bill C-279, in written submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and in our testimony to the Senate Committee on Human Rights in June 2013 and the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in October 2014. We also wrote a letter to the Senate in April 2015, urging senators to pass Bill C-279 without a proposed amendment that would have undermined the bill’s very purpose.

In the coming weeks, we look forward to witnessing these protections finally pass into law. There’s simply no reason for any further delay. 

About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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