"This bill will provide long-needed protection from harassment, discrimination and violence. This bill has the ability to make the lives of many, many people safer. We must do everything we can to support it." - James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Ottawa (19 Feb. 2014) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has joined several other human rights and social justices organizations in supporting Bill C-279: An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity) which is now in first reading in the Senate.
Bill C-279 will include "gender identity" within protected grounds under the Human Rights Act and within an "identifiable group" under the Criminal Code
The Gender Identity Bill, C-279, if passed, would explicitly include the phrase “gender identity” within the protected grounds of the Canadian Human Rights Act, as well as within the definition of an “identifiable group” for the purposes of laying a charge for hate propaganda or determining hate as a motivating factor for sentencing provisions within the Criminal Code.
"We have an obligation to support human rights for all people," said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. "This bill will provide long-needed protection from harassment, discrimination and violence. This bill has the ability to make the lives of many, many people safer. We must do everything we can to support it."
Senators urged to support Bill
The letter below has been sent to all Canadian Senators urging them to support this bill.
The following organizations, representing a broad cross section of civil society groups from across Canada, urge the Senate to pass Bill C-279, the Gender Identity Bill, as drafted and without delay, to ensure that the Canadian Human Rights Act and the
Canadian Criminal Code protect the human rights of all people in Canada.
We recognize the violence and discrimination faced by the trans/transsexual/transgender/ intersex/two-spirit/gender variant (“trans”) community in Canada. In a recent nationwide survey, 74 per cent of transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37 per cent reported experiencing physical violence. Transgender individuals in Ontario face unemployment over three times the national rate and many more are underemployed. As a result of discrimination and bullying, the trans community faces high rates of mental health issues. Rates of depression are as high as two-thirds; 77 per cent of transgender individuals in Ontario report having considered suicide, and 43 per cent have attempted suicide at least once. Given the extreme vulnerability to human rights abuse faced by trans people in Canada, Bill C-279 will help to prevent discrimination and ensure that those who commit hate crimes are held to account. By amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to include gender identity, the Bill will be an important step in ensuring that trans people have access to the justice and equality for which Canada is internationally renowned and for Canada to meet its international human rights obligations.
We support Senator Nolin’s statement that, “if discrimination based on the gender identity of some prevents them from having an opportunity equal to that of other individuals to make for themselves the life that they are able and wish to have, to the extent of being a source of prejudice and causing a strike against the human dignity of those individuals, such discrimination must become prohibited and in so doing guarantee the equality of rights pledged for all by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
And we stand with Senator Mitchell’s statement that, “these are individuals… They are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers and they are Canadians and they are our neighbours...[We can respond] by taking a step to change the lives of these important Canadians who have been discriminated against psychologically and brutalised violently all too often. We can stand up and do the right thing.”
We call on the Senate of Canada to pass Bill C-279 to help fully protect the human rights of all people in Canada.
Amnesty International Canada
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Canadian Women’s Foundation
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Ontario Federation of Labour
Pink Triangle Services
Ten Oaks Project
National Union of Public and General Employees
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE