May 17, 2017
Honourable Members of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
Cc: Honourable Members of the Senate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and expression)
We applaud the government’s introduction of Bill C-16 on May 17, 2016, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHoTB), adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and amending the Criminal Code to protect gender identity and expression from hate crimes. We are very pleased to witness its expedited adoption by the House of Commons on November 18, 2016 and its progress to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. We are now urging you to follow the will of Parliament, elected by the Canadian people, and adopt C-16 without amendment and without further delay.
Last November 20, International Trans Day of Remembrance, we once again commemorated the lives of trans persons who have been brutally murdered as a result of transphobia, an event recognised in cities across the globe since 1999 in San Francisco. While legal protections cannot bring back our dead, swift adoption of C-16 would give hope to generations of trans and non-binary persons, both young and old, for a better life, one worth living. As trans people, we have fought with determination for years to gain mainstream acceptance and government support in protecting us from harassment and discrimination, with four private member's bills being considered in Parliament since 2005. The last two bills (C-389, and C-279) passed 3rd Reading in the House of Commons, but both bills were not adopted in Senate. We thus urge members of the Senate to adopt C-16 without amendment, in the spirit of IDAHoTB as soon as possible.
We will be eternally grateful for your attention to this pressing matter of achieving respect, dignity, and social inclusion across Canada.
The Toronto Trans Coalition Project is a new partnership of trans and gender non-binary support and advocacy groups in Toronto. We aim to improve the everyday lives of trans and gender non-binary people in Toronto and across Ontario and Canada. We will accomplish this goal by having trans and gender non-binary people create, implement and make decisions in all aspects of this project which focuses on improving access for trans and gender non-binary people to the Social Determinants of Health.
Toronto Trans Coalition Project
Susan Gapka, Chair Dolly Fraser, Treasurer
Stephanie Woolley, Vice-Chair Dorothy Snowdon, Member at Large
Davina Hader, Secretary Martine Stonehouse, Member at Large