Canada will be formally banning discrimination against transgender people, more properly called transphobia, and crimes against trans people will be included in Canada’s hate crimes law.
This will come into effect under new legislation brought forward by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The introduction of the new legislation could not be better timed, as trans people and their rights have very much been in the limelight in the US as of late. Also, the government also timed the introduction of the bill with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Prime Minister Trudeau issued a statement: “Everyone deserves to live free of stigma, persecution and discrimination — no matter who they are or whom they love. Today is about ensuring that all people — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — feel safe and secure and empowered to freely express themselves.”
We also had comments from Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, who said that the Canadian government has acted on recommendations they received from transgender advocates. Wilson-Raybould also stated that they have written the leglisation to cover gender identity, gender expression, and how people choose how to act, dress, and generally display their identity.
Wilson-Raybould issued a statement, saying: “Diversity and inclusion have long been among the values Canadians embrace.”
The government’s proposal includes various changes to both the federal criminal code, as well as the Canadian Human Rights Act. The changes made to the criminal code will have the broadest impact, because criminal law is a solely federal responsibility in the country.
As mentioned previously, one of the things the new legislation will bring to the table is the inclusion of transgender people in Canada’s hate crime laws. It would also ask Judges to consider when sentencing if crimes would were caused or aggravated by transphobia.
Now, it is important to remember that the Canadian government has tried to pass similar laws in the past, but objections from Conservatives in the Senate stalled the bills until they quietly died. However, it is expected for this current bill to have an easier time than it’s predecessors.