About the Proposed Legislation

Transgender and other gender-diverse people routinely experience discrimination, harassment and even violence because their gender identity or expression is different from those typically associated with their sex assigned at birth.

To help combat this, the Government of Canada has proposed legislation that would help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse persons can live according to their gender identity, be free from discrimination, and be protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.

By updating both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, gender identity and gender expression would be considered a distinguishing feature of a person, and one’s right to live free of discrimination, harassment and violence based on that feature would be recognized and protected by the Canadian legal system.  

Updates to the Canadian Human Rights Act

The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of:

  • Race;
  • National or ethnic origin;
  • Colour;
  • Religion;
  • Age;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Marital status;
  • Family status;
  • Disability; and
  • Conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.

The proposed legislation would add gender identity and gender expression to this list, making it very clear that transgender and other gender diverse persons have protection in the law.

Updates to the Criminal Code

If the legislation is passed, the Criminal Code will be updated in two ways:

1. Hate propaganda against an “identifiable group” is illegal in Canada. Identifiable groups are defined as sections of the public distinguished by:

  • Colour;
  • Race;
  • Religion
  • National or ethnic origin;
  • Age
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation; and
  • Mental or physical disability

The proposed legislation would add gender identity and expression to the list.

This means that it would be illegal to produce propaganda that promotes violence or hatred against persons based on their gender identity or gender expression.      

2. When sentencing someone for having committed an offence, Canadian judges must consider aggravating circumstances, including if the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on:

  • Colour;
  • Race;
  • Religion
  • National or ethnic origin;
  • Age
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Mental or physical disability; or
  • Any other similar factor

The proposed legislation would add gender identity and expression to the list.

This means that sentences for certain offences could be more severe, if they were motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on the victim’s gender identity or gender expression.

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