Human rights law embracing ‘gender identity’

Rights already protected but changes provide greater clarity, protection
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/14/2013

A few years ago, at a previous job, Sandy decided to make the transition from a man to a woman, without undergoing surgery. So he informed his 50 or so co-workers ahead of time.

“Because I work in a somewhat arts community, everybody was extremely receptive. I didn’t have any negative feedback at all, which was amazing.”

But not all transgender people are treated so favourably, which is why more provinces, including the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia — and possibly Canada as a whole — have changed or are changing human rights legislation to embrace the status. While sexual orientation is covered, transgender is an umbrella term that can include anyone from transsexuals and transvestites to cross-dressers. So more regions are addressing the discrepancy, most commonly through the terminology “gender identity” or “gender expression.”