C-389 Transgender Protection Bill Passes House of Commons

British Columbia New Democrat MP Bill Siksay, an NDP private member, recently introduced a bill to protect transgender people from discrimination, and that bill has been passed by the House of Commons.

The bill will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act, providing explicit protection for transsexual and transgender Canadians. It will also add gender identity and gender expression to the Criminal Code sections dealing with hate speech and sentencing for crimes where hate was a motivating factor.

The vote was split along party lines with the Conservative government voting against, but MPs from the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and the NDP supporting it.

However, the bill may struggle to pass in the Senate. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not support the transgendered-rights legislation, it will have a hard time getting passed there.