For Immediate Release
June 15, 2017
Ottawa, ON – Today, the Senate voted to pass Bill C-16: An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. As a result, gender identity and expression will be included in hate crime sections of the Criminal Code and as a prohibited ground for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
CIJA Chair David J. Cape issued the following statement:
“We applaud the passage of this historic bill to protect one of Canada’s most vulnerable communities. We especially commend MP Randall Garrison, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Senator Grant Mitchell for their leadership in this cross-party initiative.
“Transgender people are an indivisible part of our communities and our country. Like any at-risk minority, transgender Canadians deserve the full protection of the law, especially since hate crimes against transgender people tend to be physically aggressive.”
Tom Chervinsky, Chair of CIJA’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, issued the following statement:
“As Canada’s largest per-capita target of hate-motivated crime, Jewish Canadians know firsthand how important it is for minorities to be protected from hate. Speaking as a member of the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities, I am proud that CIJA served on the Executive Committee of Trans Equality Canada and was a vocal leader in this cause.
“We thank the Government of Canada for undertaking this crucial initiative to counter hate and discrimination in Canadian society. Bill C-16 will rightfully ensure that transgender Canadians are protected the same way that other vulnerable groups are.”
- CIJA serves on the Executive Committee of Trans Equality Canada.
CIJA is proud to partner with the LGBTQ+ community in advocating for Bill C-16, building on our work to advance previous legislative initiatives to include gender identity and expression in the Criminal Code and Canadian Human Rights Act.
Past experience demonstrates that explicit reference in the Criminal Code increases the likelihood that police or crown attorneys will correctly identify a criminal act as hate or bias-motivated.
Since Bill C-16 was introduced in May 2016, British Columbia and Quebec have passed legislation amending their respective human rights codes to explicitly protect gender identity and/or gender expression, joining Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.
Transgender individuals face high rates of violence in Canada and around the world. In Ontario, the Trans Pulse Project found that 20% of transgender people had been physically or sexually assaulted as a result of their gender identity or expression, and a further 34% had been verbally threatened or harassed.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.
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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)