Liberal government to introduce Canadian transgender rights bill

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      The Liberal federal government announced that it will introduce a bill that will provide legal and human rights protection for transgender people.

      Justice Minister and Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould is set to fulfill her commitments as outlined in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mandate letter, which requested Wilson-Raybould to introduce legislation "to add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of 'identifiable group' protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code."

      The bill will be introduced on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on May 17.

      Vancouver's Trans Alliance Society chair Morgane Oger issued a statement to support Wilson-Raybould's announcement.

      “We are very satisfied that the Minister of Justice has acted on her mandate letter and introduced the legislation that will have an enormously positive benefit for transgender Canadians,” Oger stated. "This Bill reflects Canadian values of inclusion and diversity." 

      Oger will be on Parliament Hill on May 17 to support the introduction of the bill.

      Previously, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison, the LGBT critic for the NDP, had twice introduced bills to amend the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression provisions, but neither of the bills became law.

      Meanwhile, on May 2, Montreal's Centre Métropolitain de Chirugie, the only clinic in Canada which performs gender confirmation surgery, was set on fire by a man who entered the building at 8:45 p.m. The fire will add delays to the already lengthy wait for surgeries. Montreal police's arson squad is investigating the incident.

      Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island protect both gender identity and gender expression while Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan protect gender identity.

      Here in B.C., Vancouver-West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert reintroduced a bill on April 27 to have transgender people included in the B.C. Human Rights Code. It is the fourth time Chandra-Herbert has tabled the bill. The bill needs the support of six Liberal MLAs in order to pass.

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