On May 16, whilst celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government would introduce new “transgender rights” legislation, Bill C-16. This bill would enlarge the Criminal Code’s hate speech laws to include gender identity and expression, and make it illegal to bar a person from employment on these bases.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who tabled the bill on May 17, did not comment on the possibility of the Liberals whipping the vote. This bill has essentially been introduced in the House of Commons seven times according to NDP MP Randall Garrison, but never by the government, either was defeated or died on the Order Paper when an election was called.
Trudeau said that this is the next step on the path Canada has been moving along for years, part of a continuum that includes by the “equality rights” section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 2004 Civil Marriage Act.
The same day as making the announcement Trudeau accepted the Laurent McCutcheon Award for his “commitment to fighting homophobia and transphobia.”