TESA supports government introduction of federal trans equality bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- May 15, 2016 -- ALBERTA, CANADA
The Trans Equality Society of Alberta (TESA) strongly supports the Government of Canada's anticipated tabling of legislation to enumerate explicit protection for transgender Canadians.
The bill is expected to be introduced Tuesday, May 17, 2016 by the Honourable Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould.
The honourable minister was specifically tasked with “Introduc(ing) government 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” by Canada's prime minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau.
TESA's mission is to be a witness and a voice for matters concerning trans Albertans. TESA considers these changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to be within its mandate to serve the needs of trans Albertans.
“We would like to applaud the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Justice for making equal rights for all Canadians a priority,” says TESA president Jan Buterman. “All Canadians are promised fundamental freedoms and equality rights through our federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include 'gender identity' are important steps towards trans Canadians having the opportunity to have the promise of equality fulfilled.”
At the present, trans and gender diverse Canadians still face substantial challenges accessing federal services in areas including but not limited to accessing federal identification such as passports and immigration documents, equality in regulation and law regarding airports and transportation, as well as exclusion or erasure from national statistics collection and analysis.
Buterman says, “TESA has long held that trans Canadians have equal rights, as our Charter frequently states that 'Everyone has ...' the rights within it. However, trans Canadians are often unable to enjoy equal rights even when dealing with some agencies or ministries within our own federal government. Clarifying our statutes to list explicitly that trans people are indeed included and protected will act as clear direction for all such agencies and ministries, and will undoubtedly substantially and substantively improve the lot of trans people throughout Canada.”
TESA is not alone in this opinion. As early as 2000, the Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel recommended “that gender identity be added to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the [Canadian Human Rights] Act.” Subsequent statements made by officials from the Canadian Human Rights Commission have continued to assert the importance of such clarification.
“Trans and gender diverse Canadians are everywhere. With this bill and its eventual passage into law the equality rights of all Canadians will be one step closer to being realised. Including trans people is part of including all people” says Buterman. “All means all.”
The government bill to be introduced on May 17 is anticipated to be identical or substantially similar to a private member's bill previously introduced by Member of Parliament Randall Garrison. The government bill would take precedence over a private member's bill.
Bill C-204 is the most recent of three private member's bills introduced in Canada's Parliament over the years, with Bill C-279 dying in Senate on June 30, 2015 and Bill C-389 dying on March 25, 2011 after an election call.
“TESA is hopeful that the present government's decision to mandate and champion support for clarifying trans rights will enjoy substantial support throughout Parliament and more easily gain the support of the Senate,” says Buterman. “However, the importance of voicing support for this legislation with your Member of Parliament and provincial or territorial Senators continue to be paramount.”
TESA president Jan Buterman, board member Angela Reid, and member Marni Panas will be present on Parliament Hill this upcoming Tuesday to participate in the observance of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia as well as bear witness to the introduction of this historic bill.
More information about TESA can be found at http://www.tesaonline.org
Please also see:
TESA -- Human Rights Across Canada
TESA -- Campaign: Adding gender identity & gender expression to Canadian laws
TESA -- Including the term Gender Identity in Canadian Statutes: Bill C-279
A report to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (LCJC) on September 3, 2014.
TESA -- Adding the term Gender Identity to Canadian Statutes: Bill C-279
A report to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights (RIDR) on June 10, 2013.
TESA -- Adding the terms "Gender Identity" and "Gender Expression" to Canadian Laws
A report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST), October 10, 2012.
PMO -- Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Mandate Letter
CHRC -- People First: The Canadian Human Rights Commission's 2015 Annual Report to Parliament
Lucas Silveira: Struggling for acceptance
http://www.chrcreport.ca/sites/chrc-annual-report/files/chrc-annual-report-2015.pdf (pp. 60-64)
CHRC -- Repair the erosion of human rights in Canada
News release on October 20, 2015.
CHRC -- Advice to Parliament: Gender identity
2013 Canadian Human Rights Commission Annual Report
CHRC -- Chief commissioner speaks on the inclusion of Gender Identity as a ground of discrimination: testimony of David Langtry, Canadian Human Rights Commission to Senate standing committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding Bill C-279 on June 3, 2013.
CHRC -- Protect rights of transgender people: testimony of Ian Fine, Canadian Human Rights Commission to Senate standing committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding Bill C-279 on November 22, 2012.
CHRARP -- Attorney General of Canada: Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel ["La Forest Report"], 2000.
CAN -- Charter of Rights and Freedoms
CAN -- Canadian Human Rights Act
CAN -- Criminal Code
IDAHO -- International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
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