On the opening day of the OFL’s Out@Work Conference, delegates were joined by NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) who announced the second reading passing of Bill 33, Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity or Gender Expression). In her fourth attempt to secure Human Rights Code protections for ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression,’ DiNovo’s bill finally passed third reading on June 13 and is expected to become law before the Toronto Pride week.
Many have attributed the success of the bill to the fact that this time around it was co-sponsored by Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa-Centre) and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott (Whitby-Oshawa). While legislation (Bill C-279) is currently before the Parliament to enact similar changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act, as well as the Criminal Code section on hate crimes, the Ontario legislation will afford vital protections to trans people with respect to public services, housing, employment and access to government facilities.
“Legislative change is an important step, but it is only one of many steps to achieving true social and economic equality for the LGBTQ community,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “With laws that reflect our inclusive values, the responsibility lies with each of us to create positive space and challenge homophobia and transphobia, and other forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, ableism, and classism.”