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New policy to protect the human rights of trans people in Ontario

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April 14, 2014

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For immediate release                                                               

Toronto –The Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched a new policy to help protect the rights of trans individuals and people of diverse genders. The Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity and gender expression looks at how to remove barriers and eliminate discrimination.

Trans people come from all walks of life. They are one of the most disadvantaged groups in society and routinely experience prejudice, discrimination, harassment, hatred and even violence. The new Policy makes clear the protections under Ontario’s Human Rights Code and can help organizations put practices in place to prevent many of these experiences from occurring.

“It has been a long struggle to have these rights clearly protected in the Code. Adding these grounds makes it clear that trans people are entitled to the same legal protections as other groups under the Code. The challenge now is to send a message across Ontario that discriminating against or harassing people because of their gender identity or gender expression is against the law. This Policy provides the tools to do this,” said Barbara Hall, OHRC Chief Commissioner.

The OHRC’s initial Policy, created in 2000, was revised following the Code amendments and after consultation with the trans community, healthcare workers, housing providers, social service organizations, educators, and extensive research.

The Policy addresses current issues around recognizing lived gender identity, changing identity on official documents, transitioning, dress codes and accessing facilities. It provides tools, practical scenarios and information that can be applied to everyday situations that trans people face in housing, at work or when accessing services.

The Policy offers organizations the tools to remove barriers and respect human rights, as well as:

  • clarification of terminology
  • information on key issues affecting the community in employment, education, services and the justice system
  • review of case law and clarity on rights and obligations
  • guidelines on how to meet the needs of trans persons and people of diverse genders, including best practices checklist


For more information:

Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission