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Canada has finally passed a trans-rights bill

Bill C-16 would protect gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Code

The trans and rainbow flag were raised at the Pride Toronto flag raising at City Hall on May 31, 2017. Credit: Nick Lachance/Daily Xtra

After a years-long fight, trans rights are finally set to be enshrined in Canadian law.

Bill C-16, which would protect gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Code and include it in hate crime provisions, has passed both houses of Parliament and will soon be signed into law. 

Despite opposition from some Conservative senators, the bill was passed on June 15, 2017, by the Senate 67-11.

During the Harper government, a trans-rights bill passed the House of Commons only to die in the Senate.

Once Bill C-16 becomes law, trans people will have protections in all jurisdictions in Canada. On June 13, 2017, Yukon became the last territorial or provincial government to pass a trans-rights bill. 

The debate on Bill C-16 in the Senate was often fierce and divisive and has become a flashpoint amongst some Conservatives who claim the new protections would impinge free speech.

Despite numerous attempts, the bill was passed in the Senate without any amendments. It is expected to receive royal assent later this month.

Editor’s note, June 15, 2017: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Bill C-16 was introduced in the House of Commons by NDP MP Randall Garrison. It was actually introduced by Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould.

This story is filed under News & Ideas, Trans Rights, Canada, Rights & Liberties