Kalpana Kalpana

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

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Bill citation  Bill C-16 of 2016
Second reading  Oct 18, 2016
First reading  May 17, 2016
Third reading  Nov 18, 2016
An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code
Introduced by  Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice

An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16, 2016) is a bill introduced in the Parliament of Canada on May 17, 2016 by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

If enacted into law, the bill will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination. That would make it illegal to deny services, employment, accommodation and similar benefits to individuals based on their gender identity or expression within a federal regulated industry. An individual who denies benefits based on the gender identity or expression could be civilly liable for monetary damages to the individual denied benefits. This prohibition would only apply to matters falling within federal jurisdiction.

The bill also proposes to amend the Criminal Code by adding "gender identity or expression" to the definition of "identifiable group" in section 318. That amendment would make it a criminal offence to spread hate propaganda based on gender identity or expression, contrary to section 318, and would also make it a criminal offence to advocate genocide based on gender identity or expression, contrary to section 319 of the Code.

The bill also proposes to add "gender identity or expression" to section 718.2 of the Code. This section is part of the sentencing provisions and would make it an aggravating factor to commit a criminal offence motivated by the gender identity or expression of the victim.

These criminal prohibitions would apply within any federal jurisdiction.

It has been criticized for not going far enough to protect people from hate speech based on "gender identity or expression". The bill has also been criticised as anti free speech, and there were protests against the bill at Toronto university where a white noise machine was used to drown out his speech.

The bill must pass the legislative process in the House of Commons, then the Senate, and finally receive Royal Assent before it will become law.

Predecessor bills

The Act is the most recent iteration of several proposed bills introduced to previous parliaments. In 2005, New Democratic Party MP Bill Siksay introduced a bill in the House of Commons to explicitly add gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. He reintroduced the bill in 2006. In May 2009, he introduced it again, with additional provisions to add gender identity and expression to the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code. In February 2011, it passed third reading in the House of Commons with support from all parties, but was not considered in the Senate before Parliament was dissolved for the 41st Canadian federal election. Two bills, C-276 and C-279, on the subject were introduced in the 41st Canadian Parliament by both the Liberals and the NDP, respectively. The NDP's Bill C-279 passed second reading on June 6, 2012. However, that bill again died on the Senate order paper when the 2015 federal election was called.

References

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


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