Equal Rights for All - Statement in Support of Bill C-279: An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity)


Dear Senators,


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% of transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37% 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% of transgender individuals in Ontario report having considered suicide, and 43% 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.


519 Church Street Community Centre
Action Canada for Population and Development
Action positive VIH/sida
Affirm United
AIDS Committee of Newfoundland & Labrador
AIDS Committee of Simcoe County
AIDS Community Care Montreal
Amnesty International Canada
Amnistie internationale Canada francophone
British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union
Canadian AIDS Society
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Canadian Association of Social Workers
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Canadian Federation for Sexual Health
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Treatment Action Council
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Canadian Women's Foundation
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation
Capital Pride
Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre
Central Alberta AIDS Network Society
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health
CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network
Communities Addressing Suicide Together
Congregation Shir Libeynu
Council of Canadians with Disabilities
CUPE Pink Triangle Committee

Disability Alliance BC
Dragonstone Counselling
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa
First United Church, Ottawa
Gender Mosaic
Global Network of People Living with HIV North America
Greenpeace Canada
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario
HIV/AIDS Regional Services

Huronia Pride

Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
Institute for International Women's Rights - Manitoba
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
Jer's Vision/Day of Pink
Kids Help Phone
Kulanu Toronto
Ligue des droits et libertés
Méta d'Âme
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Metropolitan United Church, Toronto
Mouvement d'Aide et d'INformation Sida - Bas St-Laurent
National Union of Public and General Employees
Northern Territories Federation of Labour
Nova Scotia Trans Justice
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Ontario Federation of Labour
Ontario HIV Treatment Network
Ontario Humanist Society
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
Out On The Shelf
Oxfam Canada
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Toronto PFLAG
Parksville/Qualicum KAIROS
PFLAG Canada
Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health
Pictou County Rainbow Community
Pink Triangle Services
Pivot Legal Society
Positive Living BC
Pride Toronto
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Queer Imaging and Riting Kollective for Elders
Queer West
Saskatchewan HIV HCV Nursing Education Organization
Saskatchewan Public Health Association
Sexual Health Centre Lunenburg County
Shaarei-Beth El Congregation
South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre
St. Joseph's Church LGBT and Straight Alliance
Stella, l'amie de Maimie
Ten Oaks Project
Toronto District Council, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Trans Lobby Group
Trans Pride Canada
TransFamily Kingston
Transgender Archives, University of Victoria
United Church of Canada
University of Guelph
University Research Chair in Forensic Nursing, University of Ottawa
Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society
Women of Halton Action Movement

West Coast LEAF 
YWCA Canada