June 15, 2017
Sherbourne Health Centre, including Rainbow Health Ontario, is ecstatic that Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and expression, passed third reading in Canada’s Senate today.
This long-overdue piece of legislation, now ratified by both Parliament and the Senate, is a critical step forward for the rights of trans and gender-diverse people in Canada, and will create necessary, explicit human rights protections at the federal level. The bill will become law once royal assent is given.
On May 11, 2017, Rainbow Health Ontario Director Devon MacFarlane spoke as an expert witness at the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, underlining the urgency of this bill and emphasizing the widespread discrimination experienced by trans and gender-diverse people in Canada—as we had previously described in our letter to the Senate about C-16.
“We’re thankful to have been invited to speak about the connections between human rights and health as part of this process,” says MacFarlane. “We are also thankful to our Senators and MPs—who today have clearly expressed Canada’s commitment to human rights by passing C-16—and to the many activists whose work on this and similar, previous legislation has brought our country to this point. Today, Canada became a safer and more inclusive place for trans and gender-diverse people.”
Rainbow Health Ontario is available to consult with all levels of government on how gender-affirming policies and environments can be designed and implemented.
About Rainbow Health Ontario
Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) is a province-wide program of Sherbourne Health Centre that works to promote the health of Ontario’s LGBTQ communities and improve their access to services. RHO creates resources, provides information and consultation services, delivers education and training, and supports research to develop evidence-based practice and informed public policy.
About Sherbourne Health Centre
Sherbourne Health Centre is an urban health agency in downtown Toronto that provides holistic primary care and chronic disease management, mental health services, health promotion and education, and outreach and social supports. Sherbourne’s doors are open to everyone; with a focus on the LGBTQ community, homeless and under-housed people, and newcomers to Canada, as members of these populations have complex needs that are often not met by traditional health care.
Colleen Westendorf, Communications Coordinator
Rainbow Health Ontario
Tel: 416-324-4100 ext. 5332