New policy shields transgender rights

OHRC gender identity policy provides guidelines, best practices
By Liz Bernier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/20/2014

They’re among the most marginalized groups in society, routinely facing harassment, discrimination and even violence. But individuals who identify as “trans” or have diverse gender identities are explicitly protected under Ontario’s human rights legislation, according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), which released a new policy on gender identity.

In 2012, all three parties in the Ontario legislature co-sponsored Toby’s Act, a bill that explicitly added “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the protected grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

“Before, we had read it into the ground of sex — but it wasn’t mentioned itself, and so many trans people didn’t know they were protected by the code, and many others who had responsibility vis-à-vis gender identity issues weren’t aware of their responsibility,” said Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the OHRC in Toronto.