Gender Identity and Expression in Canadian Human Rights Legislation

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North West Territories
The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender identity which is defined as including transgendered persons and those who identify with or live as a gender that is different from their biological sex. It covers employment, tenancy, public services, memberships in trade unions, and publications. (2004)

The Ontario Human Rights Code was amended to include protection on the basis of gender identity and expression in 2012 by Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity or Gender Expression). Toby’s Act amended the Human Rights Code to specify that every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of gender identity or gender expression with respect to services, goods and facilities; accommodation; contracting; employment; membership in a trade union, trade or occupational association or self- governing profession.
It also amended the Code to specify that every person has a right to be free from harassment because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression with respect to accommodation and employment.

Nova Scotia
This 2012 Transgendered Persons Protection Act amended the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act to protect the rights of transgendered people. It amended the Human Rights Act to explicitly include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment.

In Manitoba, The Human Rights Code (“The Code”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in areas such as employment, housing and the provision of services. (2012) 

NDP MP (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) Randall Garrison’s Private Member’s Bill C-279 (An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity)) was adopted by the House of Commons and sent to the Senate in 2013.

This bill amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination. It also amends the Criminal Code to include gender identity as a distinguishing characteristic protected under section 318 and as an aggravating circumstance to be taken into consideration under section 718.2 at the time of sentencing. In June 2013, the Senate passed the Bill at first and second reading, but adjourned before third reading. Unfortunately the bill was not adopted, since Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament last September. 

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