Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Moves to Protect Gender Identity, Expression in Human Rights Law

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Moves to Protect Gender Identity, Expression in Human Rights Law

Article excerpt

Alberta adds gender protection to human rights law

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EDMONTON - Alberta has put forward legislation to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

The changes are part of a bill introduced Thursday that, if passed, will become part of the Alberta Human Rights Act.

"No Albertan should be denied basic services for being true to themselves," Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley told reporters.

"This change will increase access to justice and make it clear that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression is against the law."

Once the bill passes, Alberta will join Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, which have similar bans in place.

Gender identity refers to a how a person views him or herself. Gender expression is the way people express their gender, such as through dress, demeanour and behaviour.

Ganley said consultation on the bill reinforced concerns that transgender Albertans face discrimination and threats to their well-being.

"(They) continue to be a highly marginalized group within society," said Ganley. "I heard several stories of discrimination: difficulties finding a job, difficulties maintaining employment, or even being accepted into a workplace.

"We heard stories of safety concerns in shelters and difficulty obtaining proper medical assistance."

Aria Ehren, a transgender rights activist from Calgary, characterized it as a milestone day for the province. …

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