New Rights for Trans Persons

In the News

New measures in 2016 and 2017 have given trans persons more legal protection. “Gender identity or expression” is now recognized in many laws.

Good to know

“Trans” is an umbrella term that includes all gender identities that are not cisnormative, that is, that do not match the gender assigned at birth. “Trans” can refer to trans women and trans men, and to transsexual, transgender, transvestite, two-spirit, genderqueer and non-binary persons, among others.

Legal Changes at the Several Levels

In June 10, 2016, “gender identity or expression” was added to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms under the section on discrimination. This means people can’t be discriminated against based on gender identity or expression. This new protection exists alongside the protection against discrimination based on race, religion, political beliefs,etc.

This change means trans persons are protected from discrimination in areas like these:

  • work
  • housing
  • transportation
  • public spaces, such as public washrooms, businesses, hotels, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and parks.

In June of 2017, gender identity and gender expression were added to the Canadian Human Rights Act. This protects trans persons from discrimination in areas under the responsibility of the federal government in Ottawa. These areas include the following:

  • federal ministries and organizations
  • banks
  • post offices
  • customs
  • federal prisons
  • the Canadian military

Hate Crime Protections

People different from others based on gender identity and gender expression are now  “identifiable groups” under the Criminal Code. This means it is a crime to publicly encourage hate or communicate hateful statements aimed at these groups, or to advocate genocide of these groups.

Finally, judges must now consider prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression as what is called an “aggravating” factor when they decide on punishments. This means people who commit hate crimes against trans persons will get harsher punishments. This change is meant to prevent people from committing violent acts against trans persons.