10 signatures reached
To: BC Liberal Government, the Premier and the Min. of Justice
Amend the BC Human Rights Code (BCHRC) to include gender identity and gender expression
Pass the Private Member's Bill introduced by the Honourable Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, to amend the BC Human Rights Code (BCHRC) to include “gender identity and gender expression.” This is the fourth time this bill has been tabled, but the Liberal Government has refused to bring it to a vote. We ask for an open vote (many members of the Liberal Caucus support this bill).
Why is this important?
The BCHRC does not offer explicit protection to transgender and gender-diverse persons. The Liberal Government argues transgender persons already enjoy all the protection they need as a result of case law; the Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that gender identity and expression are covered under the category of “sex.”
This interpretation of the word "sex" continues to be challenged by many. Having specific language—gender identity and gender expression—included in the BCHRC will provide clarity to all parties; it will afford increased protection, safety equality to transgender and gender-variant persons in at least three significant and compelling ways:
1) It will help educate the public
2) It will inform the way organizations and companies implement their HR policies by providing an explicit statement of protection
3) It will clarify the code and hopefully mitigate and help resolve contentious situations—including discrimination—before they escalate to expensive, lengthy, and onerous legal actions for all parties.
Additionally, amending BCHRC in this way will bring it into alignment with the Human Rights Codes of 8 other Provinces and Territories, including Alberta and Ontario. The Federal Government has also introduced a similar amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it is expected to pass this year. BC, which once led provinces with progressive laws, including amending the BCHRC to include sexual orientation and legalizing same sex marriage, has fallen behind the times.