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Amnesty International urges Senate to pass bill protecting human rights of transgender people

    October 09, 2014

    Ottawa, October 9, 2014 – Amnesty International is calling on Canada’s Senate to pass Bill C-279, a piece of legislation which will go a long way to protecting the fundamental human rights of transgender persons in Canada.

    In a brief submitted today to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Amnesty International called for the bill to be passed immediately and as drafted.

    “Around the world, and certainly in Canada, transgender individuals face alarmingly high levels of violence, harassment and prejudice,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “It is a glaring human rights problem that governments everywhere have, for far too long, failed to address. Bill C-279 would provide much-needed and long-needed human rights protection to transgender individuals in Canada who face discrimination and hate crimes, in keeping with the country’s international human rights obligations.  It is imperative that the Senate do the right thing and ensure its speedy passage into law.”

    The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is hearing testimony from witnesses today from 10:30 am- 1:30pm on Parliament Hill, East Block, Room 257. A final decision on the bill could come within a month.

    Bill C-279, a private member’s bill introduced by Randall Garrison on September 21, 2011, would play an important role in protecting transgender persons from discrimination and hate crimes. The purpose of this Bill is to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and as distinguishing characteristics protected under section 318 as well as aggravating factors listed under section 718.2 of the Criminal Code. The Bill is a welcome and extremely important step to bringing Canadian law into conformity with Canada’s international human rights obligations towards transgender persons, existing provincial and territorial legislation, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter).

    Download the brief:

    For further information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332,