The transgender pride, pride and Canada 150 pride flags fly on Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Pride flags fly on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, June 14, 2017.  Chris Wattie—Reuters

Canada's Senate Just Passed a Landmark Transgender Rights Bill

Jun 15, 2017

Canada's parliament passed a landmark measure Thursday to protect transgender and non-binary citizens from discrimination, drawing praise from rights advocates and the country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Bill C-16 was adopted with a 67 to 11 vote, reports Canadian broadcaster CTV News, amending the country's Human Rights Act to add "gender identity and gender expression" to the list of federally prohibited grounds for discrimination.

The Criminal Code will also change, requiring judges to consider hate or bias based on gender expression as aggravating factors during sentencing hearings.

Members of the transgender community watched the vote in parliament alongside Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, according to CTV.

"In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity, and all Canadians should feel safe to be themselves," the minister said in a statement after the bill's passing.

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"Great news," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet late Thursday. "Bill C-16 has passed the Senate – making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression."

The bill still needs to receive royal assent before officially becoming Canadian law.

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