If Bill C-279 becomes law, it would become illegal to discriminate against transgender Canadians.
Ottawa (27 March 2013) – Members of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons passed 3rd reading of Bill C-279, the private member’s bill designed to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. If it becomes law, it would become illegal to discriminate against transgender Canadians.
The bill passed by a vote of 149-137 with members of the Opposition parties, those who were present, voting unanimously in support of the bill. The final count also included the support of 18 Conservative Party MPs. Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted against the bill.
Sponsored by NDP MP Randall Garrison, Bill C-279 also looks to amend the Criminal Code of Canada. Hate speech that advocates genocide against groups distinguished by gender would be outlawed. The bill’s proposed amendments would also permit the use of evidence in a case where hate based crimes are committed on the basis of gender. This evidence would be taken into account during sentencing.
"Our efforts represent a huge step forward but there is still much work to be done to ensure equal access for Trans Canadians to simple services like health care, housing and jobs. Transgender and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence,” Garrison said in a statement after the vote.
“We must continue to act on this important issue and, now that the bill has passed through the House of Commons, we urge the Senate to move quickly to guarantee the same rights and protections for transsexual, transgender and gender-variant Canadians that all of us enjoy.”
Bill C-279 will now proceed to the Senate to follow a similar process of readings and debates.
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