Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will offer transgender people greater legal protections, at a time when his American counterparts spar over policies around whether students can use public bathrooms based on their identified sex.
“We must continue to demand true equality,” Trudeau said Monday in Montreal. “Tomorrow, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we will be tabling a bill in the House of Commons to ensure the full protection of transgender people.”
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration instructed public schools this month to allow transgender students the use of bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, a move condemned by some state officials and other Republicans in Congress.
North American policy makers have grappled with social issues such as same-sex marriage over the last decade. Canada’s Parliament rejected a motion in 2006 to revisit a law passed the year before allowing those unions to take place.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is scheduled to give a briefing Tuesday in Ottawa on a new bill on transgender rights. The minister’s mandate includes introducing legislation that would bolster protection for transgender people under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code.
While most government bills become law in Canadian majority governments, whether this passes is less clear. A similar bill was passed in 2013 by elected lawmakers and stalled in the Senate, a chamber of appointed members who rarely stop bills. Trudeau, whose Liberals weren’t in power at the time, didn’t attend votes for that bill, known as C-279, and therefore voted neither for it nor against it. The country’s Conservative Party senators used a majority to stall that law, and still hold a majority in the Senate.