Under B.C.'s Human Rights Code (the "Code"), transgender persons have been protected from discrimination within the definition of "sex", as interpreted by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Courts. However, the transgender community and its supporters have pursued explicit protections in the Code that recognize "gender identity" and "gender expression".
Effective July 28, 2016, the Code was amended to include 'gender identity or expression' as protected grounds. With these amendments, our Code will align with human rights legislation across the country, including Canada's proposed Bill to add 'gender identity or expression' to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Honourable Suzanne Anton, Attorney General of BC, had this to say on this historic move:
"I know this addition means a great deal to those who have advocated for its inclusion. These amendments will create greater consistency across Canada and will reflect the fact that transgender persons are protected under the law. As we move forward, may we all strive to improve societal attitudes and conditions so that every British Columbian feels as protected and respected as they are by law."
CLAS supports these recent amendments and, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, we are developing information and resources to educate the public, guide organizations, and increase prevention. These materials will soon be available online. If you require immediate assistance, please contact CLAS' BC Human Rights Clinic directly.