Trans rights legislation in Canada

With the passage of Bill C-16, history was made in June 2017 with both gender identity and gender expression now federally protected grounds in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. This is a significant step forward for the protection and legal recognition of trans and gender diverse communities in Canada.

Here is a video from Egale Canada explaining the Bill:

It was a long time coming however, as exactly 11 years earlier NDP MP Bill Siksay introduced a similar private members’ bill—which did not pass—and tried unsuccessfully again on two other occasions to resurrect the bill.

The House of Commons passed a subsequent bill (Bill C-279) introduced by NDP MP Randall Garrison in 2015—who had agreed however to withdraw the words “gender expression” from the bill in order to ensure its passage. However, after much debate and public hearings in the Senate, the bill died when Parliament was dissolved prior to the 2015 election

In reality, it was Canadian provinces that led the way for the trans rights legislation in Canada—with most legislation being passed between 2012 and 2017. Today, all provinces and territories in Canada include gender identity in their human rights codes. However three jurisdictions (MB; SK, NT) do not specifically cover gender expression.

Here is a chart to summarize the human rights protections for each jurisdiction in Canada:

Territory/Province of Canada Sexual orientation Gender identity Gender expression
Canada (federal) Yes (Since 1996) Yes (Since 2017) Yes (Since 2017)
Northwest Territories Yes (Since 2002) Yes (Since 2002) No
Nunavut Yes (Since 1999) Yes (Since 2017) Yes (Since 2017)
Yukon Yes (Since 1987) Yes (Since 2017) Yes (Since 2017)
British Columbia Yes (Since 1992) Yes (Since 2016) Yes (Since 2016)
Newfoundland and Labrador Yes (Since 1995) Yes (Since 2013) Yes (Since 2013)
Alberta Yes (Since 2009) Yes (Since 2015) Yes (Since 2015)
Quebec Yes (Since 1977) Yes (Since 2016) Yes (Since 2016)
Prince Edward Island Yes (Since 1998) Yes (Since 2013) Yes (Since 2013)
Manitoba Yes (Since 1987) Yes (Since 2012) Yes/No (not explicitly included but implicitly included since at least 2016)
New Brunswick Yes (Since 1992) Yes (Since 2017) Yes (Since 2017)
Nova Scotia Yes (Since 1991) Yes (Since 2012) Yes (Since 2012)
Saskatchewan Yes (Since 1993) Yes (Since 2014) No
Ontario Yes (Since 1986) Yes (Since 2012) Yes (Since 2012)



Salerno, Rob (April 28, 2017). “New Brunswick trans-rights bills pass final reading”Daily Xtra. Retrieved September 11, 2017.

Salerno, Rob (June 14, 2017). “Yukon passes trans-rights bill”Daily Xtra. Retrieved September 11, 2017.

“Bill No. 5 – Act to Amend the Human Rights Act and the Vital Statistics Act (2017)” (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Yukon. Retrieved September 11, 2017.

Part I – The context: sexual orientation, human rights protections, case law and legislation

An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code

Nunavut passes trans-rights law

Rights of LGBTI persons

Transgender changes to B.C. Human Rights Code pass unanimously


An Act to strengthen the fight against transphobia and improve the situation of transgender minors in particular

P.E.I. transgender community applauds ID changes

Overview of LGBT Human Rights in Canada

Manitoba Human Rights Commission

An Act to Amend Chapter 214 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Human Rights Act, to Protect the Rights of Transgendered Persons

Saskatchewan amends human rights code

Gender identity and gender expression

Bill 33, Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity or Gender Expression), 2012


Scroll to Top