Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is thrilled to see the passing of Bill C-16 with no amendments. This historic bill will see the addition of gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The enactment also amends the Criminal Code, extending protection against hate propaganda in offences motivated by bias, prejudice or hate that is based on gender identity or gender expression.
Despite attempts from a handful of politicians and other stakeholders to amend or block Bill C-16, the tireless work of activists, politicians, and advocates has culminated in its passing Thursday afternoon by an overwhelming majority.
With the passing of this bill comes the opportunity and obligation of the Canadian government to clearly lay out the duties of federally-regulated industries, federal departments, agencies and crown corporations, as well as the multiple actors within the criminal justice system, to safeguard the rights of trans and gender non-conforming people. Far more than just a symbolic nod, the law will mean tangible protections for a community that faces disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence. Trans people in Canada can now turn to the law and see their rights spelled out clearly.
Action Canada recognizes the tireless work of trans activists and their allies that has brought this bill to pass. This is a moment years in the making. Now is the time to stand together and hold Canada accountable to ensure this legal recognition is translated into tangible and substantive equality for trans communities, including comprehensive health care, housing, employment and access to redress when faced with discrimination or violence.