Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton introduced legislation today to make B.C.’s Human Rights Code more explicit in the protections it affords transgender persons in British Columbia.
Bill 27, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2016, was passed to include “gender identity or expression” among the protected grounds covered by the code. Prior to the change, transgender individuals were protected under the code’s protected grounds of “sex”, as interpreted by B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal and the courts.
By adding the grounds for protection explicitly, the amendments bring greater clarity and consistency across Canada as B.C. aligns its code with human-rights legislation across the country, including Canada’s proposed bill to add “gender identity or expression” to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice -
“This is a significant day for human rights in our province. For those citizens often more vulnerable to discrimination, and to all those around them, these changes help make clear that all British Columbians are protected under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, no matter their gender identity or expression.
“I want to acknowledge the efforts of those who advocated for these amendments. We have heard you and we stand with you in saying that all British Columbians deserve not only to be protected from discrimination by law, but to know that they are protected, without a doubt.”
Morgane Oger, chair, Trans Alliance Society -
“The Trans Alliance Society has been advocating for equal protection of minorities in provincial and federal human rights law since our founding in 2001. We welcome and applaud the Government of British Columbia's extension of the B.C. Human Rights Code by adding “gender identity or expression” to the enumerated list of prohibitions against discrimination.
“This important change to the code will help educate future generations to prevent anti-trans sentiment, will inform and guide organizations shaping inclusion policies, and will help prevent accidental human rights violations caused by the lack of awareness that this change addresses.”
Diana Juricevic, tribunal chair, B.C. Human Rights Tribunal -
“The tribunal recognizes that “gender identity or expression” captures some of the most marginalized individuals and groups in British Columbia. The tribunal welcomes this amendment to the Human Rights Code. It clearly communicates that discrimination on the basis of “gender identity or expression” is prohibited and that the tribunal’s remedial process is available.”
For more on B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal, visit: http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/
For photos marking the introduction of Bill 27, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/28260106890/